Things are changing, and change is generally good. I get my keys to my new apartment on Thursday, and Jake and I start to move in over the next month. In this process, things will get boxed, stuffed, driven, moved around, maybe lost and maybe found. Then we’ll make a new home in a new place that has two more rooms (a dining room and a second bedroom) for Miss Leia to run around in. I’ll have a room that serves as my office, and I’ll continue to run my own business out of another apartment.

07-30-13 Leia Excited to Move by Britta Swiderski-31

Since graduating, I’ve been going through a phase where I don’t know who I am, what I like, who I want to be or what I want to do. A quarter-life crisis fueled by a signed piece of paper with my University’s seal on it. Now that I don’t have a degree to struggle towards, what is my next goal? What is my next Everest?

The thing is that I have no idea. And things keep changing.

Maybe I want to be a photographer. Maybe I want to be a teacher. Maybe I want to be a math tutor. Maybe I want to be a starving artist. Maybe I want to raise a family. Maybe I’ll adpot kids someday in an attempt to try to decrease world suck. Maybe I’ll become a chef. Maybe I’ll write a book. Maybe I’ll sell all my worldly possessions and go to a isolated island in the middle of the Pacific to make a new life. (Just kidding about the last one… maybe?)

I just don’t know right now, but I know that things keep changing because they can’t stay the way they are right now. I have bills to pay and a soul to fulfill. Writing on my blog and papercrafting makes me so happy some times, but I don’t know if I want it to be my job. I find myself wishing I could go back to the days when papercrafting wasn’t my job; when I didn’t feel the need to post every other day, and when I didn’t have a responsibility to anyone but myself.

But things are changing, and I’m working to accept that. I’m so imperfect and so hard on myself – two things that are hard together. I’ve made mistakes. I’ll make more. All I can hope is that I learn from each one and surround myself with people who love me in spite of my imperfections, because I already love them in spite of theirs.

I’m meeting with a career counselor today. I’m going camping this weekend with Jake’s (my other) family. I pet LeiaPants and tell her how pretty she is. I write my thoughts and feelings down and try to make sense of everything.

Right now is just… changing.

Thanks for listening. I’ve been dealing with changes and move-y stuff, so I’m cutting out my time for a crazy awesome CHA blog post to write about my feelings. Ha! I want to share what I have planned, though, so everything will be back to normal tomorrow.

How do you deal with big life changes? How did you decide what you wanted to pursue after college? Maybe your story would help give me some direction – or at least commiseration. ;)


P.S. I’m also changing around a few things on my website. So if you run into any funky errors in the next couple of days, have no fear – I probably am in the process of fixing it. Thanks for your patience!

P.P.S. The vlog from Vegas Day Two is live here. I walk the show floor and take some pictures. Word on the street is that it’s all very exciting.


Filed under Life and Health

16 Responses to Changing.

  1. conil

    You’ll get it together. Anyone as bright as you are cannot continue in a vortex…hang in there…you will have an epiphany.

  2. Chrissy

    I am feeling the same way! I teach math at a high school and always seem to be this way in the summer when I don’t know what to do next. I hope that when you do find something, even if it’s only temporary, you’ll feel at least a bit better. And as much as we enjoy reading your blog and watching your videos, I hope you never feel like you neeeeeed to do them. You’re amazing and so inspirational!

  3. Wow- I think I could write a book on discovering my purpose in life (and I don’t think I have even fully discovered it yet). The journey to discovering a purpose for life is very difficult for some. I’ve jealously looked at many college friends who always seemed to have it figured out. However, I’ve learned so much about myself, about life in general really, through this time. I remember crying so much when I graduated from college (about 4 years ago) and started my first professional job, because I knew it wasn’t really what I wanted. However, in a tough economy, I was so “lucky” to have a job and that was the thing that seemed to matter the most. Since then, I have continued to hone in on my deepest desires from my teens and college years, and have given myself permission to make them a reality. While professionally, I am nowhere near where I thought I would be by this point in my life, I know that I am working towards something. And it just took me some time to figure out the general idea of that something. Unfortunately, change is a big part of that. Things have to be removed from our lives to make room for new and better opportunities and adventures.
    In short, hang in there. I know from my experience the gray, gloominess that you feel by not “having a life purpose”, will pass. Continue to surround yourself with people who love you and care about your well being. It will get better.
    (I didn’t intend for this to be so lengthy, but I am open about what I have experienced during this time and I’m available to talk more about it if you want.)

  4. Patricia Stoneking

    Stay calm & carry on! After retiring from my job of 45 years, had some of your same feelings! Who am I? What do I do with the rest of my life! Don’t panic! Stay calm & carry on! I took up stamping after retiring 4 years ago & thank you for helping me learn about this craft. Have learned much from watching you problem solve through a project. Now, moving…. Good luck, handling all that stress, & hope Miss L. has a smooth adjustment, too! Hoping for all the best for you! Pat

  5. I love change. Embrace change. Always have. I can’t give you any amazing directions on how to figure out what you want to do, but I can share my mantra with you. Are you ready?

    You regret the things in life you didn’t do. You won’t ever regret something you did do. Even if it was awful, wrong, and sucked. You learned from it, and it helped make you who you are.

    So, don’t be afraid to embrace new things. Take a chance.

    You’ve got this.

  6. Britta,
    I’m not really one for answering to blog posts much, but I just wanted to tell you that you’ll get there! I’m 29 now, and when I started university, I thought I had made the final big decision there was to make. I know, naive, right? I was really surprised how many (huge) decisions there were left to make and most of all, that I still didn’t know which were (or are) the right decisions to make. I started the first job I could find and quit after six months. It was horrible :). But at least I knew much better what I did and did not want in a job. And no harm done, right?
    Just go with the flow, take a decision, and if you don’t like it, you change it. It really can be that easy ;) (sometimes ;)) Good luck!

  7. Linda Baker

    You are very talented and I am sure you will do great at whatever you decide to do. Good luck with the counselor. You are young and have time to try different things. Talk to people in careers you are interested in and get their advice. Hugs.

  8. carol

    When you figure it out, let me know. I am approaching 50 and can tell you that life is a constant change and we continue to evolve over the years. I lost my job in 2011 and went to cosmetology school because it was always something I wanted to try. I did not discover the joy in it that I thought I would, so I only cut for family and close friends for the time being. I love being creative, but that is not an every day occurrence either, it comes in spurts. We all struggle with doubt and coulda, shoulda, woulda. Wish I had more wisdom, hang in there.

  9. Barb Ghigliotty

    Hi Britta,
    I wish I had the magical words to make all of this uncertainty go away…forever! But, alas I do not…but, since I’m technically old enough to be your mom, I will say this: “This too shall pass”…sounds cliche’, but it’s very true! You’re going through this right now, because you need to! I promise…No, I swear on all things holy, that you will figure it all out!

    If I had to do it again, I would get a teaching certificate. If you know that you want a family someday, then you will be working while they’re in school and have summers off with them. It’s just a thought, and I can tell you that watching your video tutorials…you are REALLY GREAT at it!!!

    So, that’s my 2 cents…I’m not sure if it helps you, but I do know that you’ll be OK! Scouts Honor!!!

    Hugs to you,

  10. After I graduated in ’96 with my bachelors for my dream job I went straight into my field of study, architecture. It wss awesome and perfect. When I git married a year later and then started my family everything changed. I eventually gave up my career (the hardest decision ever) and became a full time mom with piddly jobs to keep the cash flowing. I eventually found my new niche in scrapbooking and a whole new world opened up for me. My oldest is now 14, the youngest 2 are 11, I’m a substitute teacher, an avid blogger, on 5 design teams, and life is good. . My point is, sometimes things don’t go the way we think we can make it go. Things just happen like they’re supposed to. Yes, I’ll always miss the lifetime career I thought I was going to have, but other things have happened that I am just as happy about. I’m loving so many other things now! Britta, do what you think you should now. No decision is right or wrong. It will all happen the way it’s supposed to. Don’t stress about it. Life is good!

  11. Those are a lot of changes and I know you will pull through all of them. How exciting to have a new place and bigger too is awesome. More room to create and sure you will be fine. You have a great head on your shoulder and have accomplished so much for being so young. You will be fine just remember to BREATHE.. HUGs

  12. Tina

    Britta, all I can tell you based on my own experiences: Go and listen to your heart! Maybe it will not be the easiest way to live, but you´ll regret it if you don´t. At least, I do. I listened to all those good advices and got very sick at the end. Now, at the time I know what I did wrong, I am not able to change it.
    So, maybe it will take you longer to decide, maybe yo´ll change your mind after some time and maybe you have to learn some hard lessons, but always do what your heart tells you to – there is a way to do it, I promise!
    There is nothing more important in the world than being healthy and happy!

    Take care of you and trust in your dreams! :)

    Hugs, Tina

  13. Mateja

    I think this will happen to me in september when I have my last exams. I really don’t know what to do in your situation, but I will try to go with the flow and figure out things on the go. I want so many things in my life that if something doesn’t work out I will try something else. At least I hope so :)

    Good luck and keep calm ;)

  14. Hi Britta,

    I am sending you a hug and encouraging words from someone in her 50’s and the survivor of a rare and chronic illness. Knowing all you been through with your illness it is no surprise to me that you are struggling now. And I find it interesting that while commenting on all of the changes in your life you didn’t mention that you have had health issues also that have been a defining factor.

    Changing from being a student to looking for a career and changing homes are huge undertakings for healthy people, let alone someone who is struggling to deal with a chronic illness. On top of it all you do a lot of traveling. That’s really hard with a chronic illness. It’s ok to take the time to slow down and decide where you want to go next.

    My life has taken directions that I never forsaw when I was your age. My grandmother who was my best friend died the week before I graduated from college. A month later I was married. Then I struggled with infertility and miscarriages for 10 years. We finally adopted a child with fetal alcohol syndrome and then 3 years later I carried one child to term. Both boys are in college now.

    After College we went to seminary. Then I was a pastor’s wife and a teacher of special education students with behavior problems. I saw myself growing to be old and retiring in a cottage on a lake. I thought I had my life planned.

    I then had a heart attack at the age of 40 and discovered I had a rare disease. I lost my teaching career and ended up on disability. 3 years later I was divorced from an abusive husband.

    I then started an employment agency for abused women. It’s still going strong although I am no longer part of it. Now I volunteer for a an online retail store that raises money for Behcet’s and Celiac disease. And I have to tell you Britta, I have discovered that volunteering is where I have found my self worth and knowing I make a difference. That along with my faith in God.

    None of us know where we are headed in life. We may tell ourselves we have our direction, but a layoff, an accident or an illness can change everything in a heartbeat. It’s being open to change and be willing to take a risk, and step out in faith that makes a world of difference.

    My life is nothing like I envisioned, but thank goodness it’s not-it would have been BORING! Instead I get to get up in the morning to experience new challenges and to enjoy the little things such as the butterfly floating in the wind, the beauty of a tiny violet or the smell of fresh rain.

    Try spending time enjoying the little things of life and the wonderment that they exist. The big picture will come together when you recognize the smaller things are part of the bigger picture.

    I am sending you a ton of hugs and you are in my prayers. I am here anytime you need to talk, we can also talk on the phone if that help. Hang in there. Now go enjoy a little thing:)

    Elizabeth Campau

  15. Brita:
    Don’t be too stressed if you bumble around for several years before you find meaningful employment. I think most people do that. I did not settle on my current career until I was thirty. And it was serendipitous, so be open to new things, don’t be afraid to take chances.

    I don’t think I would want papercrafting to be my job, either. Right now when I make a card, it is a relaxing hobby, and a special treat for someone. If I had to make three dozen copies of that same card to sell, that would be a J-O-B, with all the attendant stressors, time stressors, money stressors. There are people who make it work, though, like Jennifer McGuire.

    Living a creative life is really hard. There may come a time when you need the security of a steady paycheck, and there’s no shame in that. But you obviously have a lot of ambition and creativity, so I think you’ll be alright.

  16. Oh Britta–you sound NORMAL. I was there after college and several other times along the way. Just do the next thing and see where it leads you. You’ll be just fine.

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