Start Where You Are

Valido Trail // Laguna Beach, California 

Valido Trail // Laguna Beach, California 

It’s been a while since I’ve written on this platform, or at all for that matter. It’s been a while since I’ve shared my thoughts on current events, my favorite travel destinations or my stream-of-consciousness musings on the synchronicity of life. What once was a flurry of travel-related articles and how-to pieces and reflective posts morphed quickly into a vast, blank slate disguised as a clean white Word Document with a blinking cursor.

The emptiness of this slate began to intimidate me, cause me undue stress and make me feel guilty until, finally, it swallowed me whole. Inaction and overthinking paralyzed me until I felt completely uninspired and wracked with self-doubt. Here’s why: I was searching for a new job.

I began searching in earlier this year for a job opportunity that could offer me more consistency and stability, as well as a collaborative work environment. I began searching for the type of job I have avoided for a while, the type of job I have often demonized in my mind for its lack of creative liberty and soul.

I was applying and interviewing and interviewing and applying for numerous weeks. Somewhere along the way, I silenced myself. I stayed quiet on a platform that has become one of my favorite ways to interact and share because I felt I had nothing of value to say. I was overwhelmed and uncertain about my future, so I feared my writing would be saturated with negativity, confusion and meaningless words.

And it wasn’t just with writing—I found myself even avoiding phone calls with friends because I thought I had nothing newsworthy or positive to contribute to the conversation. Of course, this is entirely untrue, since any thought of unworthiness is a false one stemming from ego, not reality, but I thought it all the same. We cannot believe everything we think.

I have learned only recently that during these times of unwelcome change in my life, I tend to seek refuge within myself and my overactive thoughts, not peeking out until it feels safe enough to be expressive.

So I remained undercover, where I could observe my life from a peaceful distance and not have to answer for it or question it in any substantive way by recording it in ink.

But now, I feel ready to communicate. I feel empowered by what I have witnessed occurring in my own life these past couple months. I feel uplifted by the potential for growth and adventure I see right in front of me. Most of all, I feel bored with my self-pity and inspired to squash it through action.

Much of this is due to the fact that I have recently started a job as an Associate Copywriter with Houzz, the largest home design and remodeling platform in the world.

I am thrilled to be flexing my writing muscles for eight hours every day in a relatively new writing style, one that is teaching me to be clever, succinct and straightforward. It’s also teaching me to drop the Oxford comma, a habit that, as a former English major, I never imagined I would part with.

More than that, however, I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of a joyful company culture where co-workers are motivated, well-rounded, friendly and upbeat. The office has an amazing vibe that is simultaneously relaxing and energizing. I feel peaceful and content when I’m there.  

Perhaps best of all is that this job is located in Orange County, my hometown and a part of the world I often unfairly judge for its lack of culture, diversity and stimulation. Why is this a bonus? Because this job opened up to me in the most organic, authentic way possible. Because a beautiful opportunity evolved right in front of me exactly as it was meant to. Because of that, this job will now be one of my greatest teachers, instructing me every day on how to remain present, how to love what is and how to accept that where I am is where I am supposed to be.

This job searching experience was a valuable lesson for me in how to be persistent, optimistic and patient. I read the below quote by Arthur Ashe a while back and it gave me enormous comfort while I was waiting to hear back.

Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
— Arthur Ashe

There is nothing more beautiful to me at this point in my life than the knowledge that all we ever have to do is begin. We don’t need to be successful or brilliant or lucky to start a new venture. Whenever we feel stuck in life, unsure of where to begin and daunted by the impossibly long and merciless road ahead, all we ever have to do—all we ever can do—is just start from where we are, use what we have and do what we can.

It’s that simple. I’m looking forward to applying this philosophy at every doubt and turn that crops up in my life from here on. I won’t always remember these words right away, but when I do, there will be no greater comfort than the wisdom that implies I am capable of achieving whatever I want as long as I take a step forward using the tools at my disposal.

Thank you so much for all the support and love you’ve extended to me by reading this blog. Encouragement is the sturdy, eager hand that lifts me up when I feel low. I'm excited to continue sharing with whomever wants to listen.

In the meantime, cheers to the new, unexpected journeys that always lead us exactly where we need to be.