A Work In Progress

Howdy, folks! This is the post in which I make a more proper introduction... so again, my name is Aline. Nice to meet you!

I am originally from Brazil, have been living in the United States for the past 12 years, and have been a member of the "never a dull moment" service and hospitality industry for quite sometime: although my first official gig as a waitress was back in 2008, I have held a job in a hotel/restaurant setting as early as 2002, when I was still living in the Northeastern part of Brazil... but we are going to skip the details of that part of my life for now.

Why I am here...

As of today's post, I am 32 years old, I wait tables at a lovely restaurant, I run an awesome small pet-sitting business on the side, I challenge myself by training for a long-distance bike ride for charity that will happen next year, and I am also currently studying under an amazing mentor to implement yet another business for myself. Those are things that I do. I also speak 3 languages, I hold a bachelors of fine arts from a very prestigious art school, and I am a certified project manager. And those are skills I acquired over time.

That's a pretty summarized, practical, version of who I am. Yet, none of it fully defines me... and that’s the reason why I am here: to share with you my journey as an unabashed...

...Work-in-progress!

As of recent, I have noticed that I have been making the *rather exhausting* point to live a life that I am proud of. Now, that sounds like an honorable way to live, if only I 'learn to chill' and live one day at a time. However, in my rather anxious mind, it doesn't always never works like that.

I don’t know about you, but in my case, I will give myself this continuous "hard time" over the 'I SHOULD' thoughts based on all the skills I acquired over time, when in fact I am still working on figuring out what fully speaks to my heart. These school-taught skills are going to serve me one way or another, I am sure (and some of them quite obviously have been - hence me writing in my second language, English), but I will be lying if I say that I have a 'perfect', 'cookie-cutter' picture of what my life will shape up to be. 

So, the kindest thing I am allowing myself to do these days is to not to have the slightest idea of what the future holds, while still having goals and working toward them. I am a 30-something-work-in-progress, and as much as I would love to have had it all figured out by now - and at age 12 I was more sure of what my life would be like than today - my actual, living color life, will most likely always be different than the one I fantasize in my mind. Does that mean it’s bad? Not necessarily.

Within life’s unpredictability, I still work toward my goals and aspirations... but I practice the mindset that each day I will do the footwork, give my best at it, but that it also does me no good to be so attached to the results I anxiously play in my mind. The Universe will do what it must do, regardless of me. So in success or failure, I make a point to learn, and with each lesson, continue my path without giving up. Which brings me to...

“As Many Times as It Takes”

Now, picture this: Imagine me, after a beautifully productive day (in which I did whatever I wanted, between pet-sitting, exercising, reading, etc), followed by a jolly night at work (a cool place, that I chose to be in), harvesting a mind that is quite happy and content... now, I will find a way to talk myself out of that contentment because somehow I will be reminded that "I should be using that degree I paid so much for", or I will also fall into the traps of my inherent 'fear of judgement' over my choice not to pursue something I wasn't passionate about.

I once heard someone say "what a luxury!" in a rather snarky tone, over my choice to do life like I do. At the time, I allowed that comment to hurt me, but today, it wouldn’t make a difference to how I feel. I do question my choices from time to time, but I am also reminded that I am allowing myself to discover what my passion actually is (while waiting tables in the mean time) and there's nothing wrong with that.

With all that said, I noticed that I still buy into the negative connotations behind being a waitress, specially when you have a higher education... it’s almost like being done with college makes it unjustifiable to wait tables. I can't exactly point out how or where that negative connotation was ingrained into my brain anyway. But when I let my mind go there, I neglect to admit that I actually live a pretty great life, and that I chose to be where I need to be right now. 

Moreover, I am continuously looking for ways to grow (both personally and professionally), and one thing I could truly do without, is the negative self-talk that tells me I SHOULD work on something I don't love because I hold a degree in it - and I don’t believe in that at all actually. I could also do without the thought that says  "SHAME on me for not getting that posh career right away!” I admit that it’s all in my head, and most times, folks perceive and treat me with a lot more kindness and without the harsh judgement I lay upon myself. 

It’s interesting how niceness can come quite easily when I want to bestow it upon others, but it’s quite reticent when I turn it upon myself. Do you find yourself on that boat too? Who said that being an "overachiever" was a mostly positive trait? I say that ambition that is not balanced with a true sense of purpose can become a headache! During and out of college, I was in such a hurry to prove myself to the world that I forgot to get to know me or my true wants... 

Well, better now than never!

A lovely lady I know, told me yesterday "Aline, I think you are exactly where you need to be for now. Life teaches you that way" and that fully spoke to my heart. 

That affirmation was a kind idea that myself or anyone in the same situation as me can buy into. That same lovely lady also said "you don't know what you don't know, until you know" and after laughing a processing that statement (I mean, I’m fluent in English, but sometimes I still go “Huhhhh?”) I fully assimilated and agreed with it.

So, I will lay the following questions out to you as I laid them to myself: how many times do you think you have to try new things before you know it isn't for you? As many times as it takes. And should you continuously condemn yourself for not "getting it" right away? Uh, no. Also, how many times will you have to keep searching and experimenting until you find what is that you truly want? As many times as it takes. And do you ever give up each time you tumble? Vehemently, no!