Now that you’ve learned about how this little space is here and why I started blogging, allow me to fill in the blanks with what went down in between. How I got to where I am today, if you will. Both job related and personal because for me, those two went hand in hand in creating the person I am today.
Uff, it’s about to get REAL personal up in here…
breathe in, breathe out
My First Job
My first job was WAY back in the day, when social media didn’t exist and all I had to survive at the front desk was AIM (AOL messenger)…which I always got in trouble for using. I was in the health care industry and ended up getting promoted twice within that company over time, which for someone my age at the time was HUGE. I basically grew up in that company. It was my first real job with real grown up responsibilities. While I was grateful for the opportunities I was given, I was never in love with the job. I was a hard worker (as usual) but I definitely wasn’t living my best life. That and I was in an unhappy marriage to boot. Yep, I got married at a very young age. Life, as a whole, was just not going well.
But you know when you’re SO focused on just making everything work out that you totally miss the most important thing of all? You know – happiness? Yeah, that was me. I was 26 and completely unhappy with all aspects of my life YET I thought I had to accept it because this was the life I had chosen. If I wasn’t happy, I better figure out how to be happy because this was it. I was going to retire at this workplace and everything else would just have to fall into place. Crazy, right? I look back at those days like WHY? No one should have to settle for ANYTHING. But alas, I just kept telling myself things would get better.
The Turning Point
It was my 27th birthday and I was miserable. I barely hung out with my friends because I had pushed everyone away. My job and my marriage were in shambles and, I was still just trying to make it all work. I refused to admit something was wrong, even though, deep down inside I knew things were BAD. I felt like if I were to express just the tiniest bit of doubt about anything that was going on in my life at that moment, I would immediately be received with “I told you so” or worst yet, I’d be deemed a failure.
My two biggest fears were abandonment and failure and, they were both coming to life simultaneously.
Two months later, I found myself back at my parents’ house feeling like my life was over. I spent 75 days crying. All I would watch was the Food Network because it was the only thing on TV that didn’t make me cry. Irony, huh? lol hello food blog. Everything was just crashing before my eyes and I didn’t know how to rise from it. I had lost my identity and individuality and, I just felt…lost. I did lose 25 lbs though. Heyyy, bright side! Not funny but I just had to throw something in here to lighten the mood.
In all seriousness, it was the hardest, most impacting turning point of my life.
Up until that point, I felt like I was living under everyone else’s shadow. I was raised in a strict household (duh, Cuban parents), church girl, do-gooder always trying to do what was right. Yet, in the process, I was living by everyone’s rules, just coasting along without real purpose. And I was TIRED OF IT. I had lived 27 years of someone else’s life and I was over it. That’s when I quit my job and promised myself to never let anything get to that point again.
My Life Started At 27
After waking up one day saying, “there’s gotta be more to life”… turns out there was! Here I was 27, looking hotter than I ever had (seriously, 27 is a sexy age), got my friends back, started traveling, and slowly rediscovering ME after coming out of what I like to call – a mental coma. I seriously felt like I had died and was reborn as a brand new person.
Did you ever see that part in Runaway Bride when Julia Roberts makes eggs in different ways to figure out how she liked her eggs because Richard Gere was all like ‘you don’t even know what kind of eggs you like’… Well, THAT WAS ME. I had to do that for EVERYTHING. Figure out what I liked, didn’t like, felt, didn’t feel, without anyone influencing my thoughts or decisions.
The person you meet today is NOT the same person I was years ago. I’m a BETTER version of the old me and it’s AWESOME!
Aside from all that, I was able to get a new job during the worst financial crisis the United States had ever seen. Blessed? Yeah I was! My friends told me I was crazy for quitting my job when there were so many people losing theirs and they feared I wouldn’t get another job soon. Perhaps, they were right but that didn’t stop me. I was determined to get a new job. And I did. Within a month of leaving the previous one. The job wasn’t glamorous and it was in the same industry. This job was going to be integral into recreating my life.
Moving into an apartment by myself for the first time ever. Eek. Furnishing it. Painting. Rebuilding finances.
Picture a white sheet of paper and someone gives you a pen and tells you to rewrite your story.
Not everyone gets a chance to do that.
And you know what? Even though what I had been through up until then was HARD, I got a second chance at creating a brand new life and for that I will forever be grateful.
Going Back To School
Cool, so new job CHECK, new apartment CHECK. I was living life and things were good! Now it was time to finish school…
Yeah I was one of those kids that didn’t go to college after high school. My life was like one big Pulp Fiction movie, where nothing was in chronological order.
Actually, I’m lying. I went to art school for Multimedia (the first digital media degree that existed back in the day) for a while after high school but then decided to just work full-time until I figured out the whole school thing. Art school was no joke – it was a full-time job in and of itself. Up until that point, I had made it far in my career purely because of my hustling spirit. So when I went back to school, I was undecided for a while until I decided to get a Business degree… and LOTS of school debt. Hooray. *sarcasm*
Soon after I graduated, something called “social media for business” was becoming a thing in our world. Ever heard of it? ;)
I had only been on Facebook and Twitter for about 2-3 years but I loved the whole concept and wanted to make a living out of it. I was ready for a change so I began to research how to change careers to make this happen.
On Twitter, I found a local boutique public relations group asking for social media help for their clients. I reached out and after interviewing, I began working with them after my 9-5. It was a lot of long hours but I was so passionate about it, it didn’t matter.
Then the company I was working for, full-time, held a MASSIVE layoff which I was part of. I saw it as an opportunity to take these newfound social media skills full-time! That’s when I quit health care and officially changed careers working at an ad agency managing social media strategy for big time clients.
The next few years were a whirlwind of ups, downs, lessons, and blessings (and that’s just touching the surface) but they were a HUGE milestone for my career. It eventually lead me to pursue this next chapter of my career – A Sassy Spoon! <3
Lessons and Blessings
If there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s to always live YOUR best life no matter what. Life’s too short to be unhappy. I spent the last few years making up for lost time and I’ve never been happier. I went through a lot – from mental health issues to therapy, mixed in with a lot of high highs and low lows, but hey, I came out even stronger than I was before.
If you’re going through something similar, whether it’s a relationship or a job situation, know that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. There IS more to life than whatever you’re going through and it’s never too late to start a new life. Just make it happen. No one will be determined for you and no one is in control of your happiness except you. Don’t ever EVER settle.
Also, another valuable tip… never burn your bridges. Why? Because that same local public relations group that once gave me a chance at changing careers years ago, is the very place that I now get to work with again while still having the freedom and flexibility to continue to grow this food blog.
My story is not done but it’s definitely been an incredible journey.
A journey that I know will only get better.