When I pulled out my summer clothes a few weeks ago, I found myself lingering over a black and white striped halter dress. I realized it was ten years old. I had splurged on it and worn it for my 25th birthday, which was by far one of my least awesome birthdays but at least I had an awesome dress. I can still wear that dress, and do, but it's interesting to me how far that dress has travelled with me and how I both am and am not the same person who wore it a decade ago.
Ten years ago I was kind of lost. I was living in Montreal and struggling financially. I was lucky to have a job and it was a decent first "real" job. It paid about as much as you would expect a first job to pay, which is to say not enough to make student loan payments, pay rent, and eat. But they liked me and liked my work. They weren't the most ideal employers. It was a small company and they had a habit of forgetting we needed to be paid every two weeks (yes! every two weeks! always!) because they were not paid every two weeks. We went through cycles where we were insanely busy and worked long, long hours. It was good and not good, as many jobs are, but there wasn't much a future in what I was doing. If I was lucky, I could ride it out for two or three more years at the most, but that didn't seem like a very good option.
It wasn't just the job that was making me feel unsettled. I was increasingly feeling like I didn't have much of future where I was. Full stop. I didn't have many job prospects. I was friendly with my coworkers but they weren't really people I would hang around with often outside of work. Many of my friends had left the city when they finished university. My boyfriend and I and recently split. I had a nice roommate (a rarity!) but she was still a student and I was not. I didn't want to live a student lifestyle anymore. I felt stuck. Stagnant.
The money stress was piling up on me. I was attempting to make payments on four different student loans, all of which I was thankful for but it was frustrating and emotionally draining to negotiate payments and payment relief programs with four different entities. I really needed to make more money. Not a lot but enough to pay for the loans and rent and food.
I was quietly starting to explore options. In the fall of 2004 I took a couple of evening classes. I started my first blog. When the time for voluntary layoffs came around at my job, early in 2005, I informed them I wanted one. I used that course, my zomg all the overtime hours bonus, and moved myself to a new city and a new career. I thought. I worked. I made a new beginning.
Ten years ago I was at the beginning of the next. The next what? The next everything. The next city. The next job. The next life. The next.