This year has not been my best. I had high hopes for what would be to come and what I would accomplish. If your new here, let me back up a little to the Summer of 2015. I had just left my comfy corporate job here in the city after deciding that I wanted to explore other options. At the time, I didn't know what those other options were. For the first time in my life, I left a job with no plan as to where I would be next. The month before I left, I started my blog Reinventing Rae NYC. Initially the blog was a way to connect with friends and family since I had just moved to New York six months prior. I knew nothing about blogging at the time, but I had a passion for writing. I had no clear vision of where the blog would eventually go, I just knew I wanted to write about life here in the city and real things happening in my day to day life.
In late 2015, I started to play around with the idea of starting my own business. Although I wasn't sure what exactly it would entail, I was excited for the possibilities. Fast forward over the next year, after talking to a friend, ideas started to come together for a product based business. Products that would include drinkware (coffee mugs, wine glasses, tumblers, etc., with a plan of eventually adding party accessories and stationary. I have a passion for putting together gifts for friends and loved ones as well as planning any type of event or social gathering. This was my brain telling me to put all of my passions to good use and make it profitable. In August of 2016, I started to put plans together and collaborate with a friend who had the talent I needed to make my ideas a reality.
But early on in 2016, my personal life was falling apart. (Well, at least that's how it felt anyways) I was struggling with myself in this new found free time on my hands and the lack of structure in my everyday life. Although it would be my busiest year yet, having friends and family visit me in the city almost every month. Not even kidding. This kept me distracted in a lot of ways although I welcomed it most of the time. Which also allowed me to be less accountable for myself, claiming that I was "too busy" to do anything else. And on top of everything, my parents decided to divorce after 26 years of marriage. And even though it wasn't a complete shock, the aftermath hit me hard. I am not one to adapt to change very well, especially when it involves those closest to me. And this would prove to bring a lot of change that I was in no way prepared for.
Over the course of the year, I quickly lost focus of my business planning and started to loose sight of what my goals actually were. I was struggling to be happy and stay in a positive place when I felt like so many things were falling apart. This continued into 2017, even though I set out to finally conquer my fears and get serious about starting my business. This year has been full of ups and downs. I would take several steps forward and then I would take even more steps back. I even sought out a business mentor and completed my business plan. And with the push of friends and family, I made the bold move of ordering physical products in hopes to launch and start selling in the Fall of this year. But when those products finally arrived, they were less than desirable. There were more mugs with imprint errors, than there were ones that I could actually sell. It was a huge disappointment. Luckily, I was able to return the product (all 446 mugs) and received a full refund. Everyone was busy reassuring me that things like this happen and I could easily begin again. But I felt like something was missing all along and that maybe this was a sign. Even with all the progress I was able to make throughout this year, I was still holding myself back from moving forward with everything.
For the past 6+ months I have admittedly been depressed. Which is something I have battled with before. However, it is never easy to openly talk about. And I think that several factors have contributed to my depression this time around. As time has gone on, it has proven to be difficult to stay motivated and be productive while at home full time. Structure is something I never realized I relied on so much until I had to create it for myself. And with lack of a consistent schedule, my sleep habits were a mess. I have gone through periods of staying up all hours of the night with little to no sleep to days where I barely function before noon. I've questioned what I really want my career to look like and IF I have the ability to make it happen. I've allowed fear and insecurities to take over even when I had all the resources. And my family and I continue to try and adjust to a new "normal".
It wasn't until a few weeks ago, that I finally opened up to a few close friends with all my recent struggles and everything I had been going through. It was hard to put into words at first, but I felt relieved to talk about it openly. And it was in those conversations when I started to realize that it's okay to lose yourself at times. Nobody is perfect. We are all human. We all have shitty things that happen to us in life. And we all certainly go through difficult times. We can't expect ourselves to always keep going when we feel like breaking down. And sometimes you just need to listen to your gut and take a step back.
I somehow started to build up walls in order to protect myself, but in reality those same walls have made me closed off from the people and things I love most. And I know now that often times you have to break down to get back up. And most importantly, give yourself the chance to cope with things. I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason. And maybe you have to go through the real tough shit in order to come out better than you were before.