Life Update: New Career and Apartment

A lot has happened since my last post. Let’s just jump right into it.

Around Christmas last year, I discovered a new interest, which in the interim has grown into a new career path. Seemingly out of the blue, I started playing around with HTML and CSS, mostly through free online tutorials. I was in a bit of a career crisis at the time and wanted to test the waters of the tech world. I had first discovered HTML when I was around 10, and although I hadn’t touched it since, I have fond memories of that time of discovery and creativity. So after a few weeks of free tutorials, I decided to take the plunge and commit to paid online courses. The program I chose was Skillcrush’s Break Into Tech Blueprint.

Photo by Clément H on Unsplash

Fast-forward 7 months to now, and I’m about halfway through the program. I’m at a stage where I ought to start taking on simple paid projects, having studied not just HTML and CSS, but also JavaScript and visual design. I designed and built my very own website, but I have yet to apply for any paid gigs. Recently, I transitioned to a part-time role at my current job in order to make more time for my courses and freelancing. I’m still doing the same work as before, but in 3 days rather than 5. It may sound like a lot, but I think I’ve struck a fair and happy balance. I feel more fulfilled than before, although I’m earning less money.

Photo by Josh Wilburne on Unsplash

The other huge and exciting change in my life is that I moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend of 5 years. We found a spacious 1.5 bedroom in a chic, friendly Brooklyn neighborhood and are quite smitten with the place. As an added bonus, the previous tenant left us various furniture and appliances. We didn’t have much when we moved in–no couch, TV, coffee table, or even a bed. My boyfriend and I may have some stylistic differences, but it’s been pretty rewarding to build up our new home together.

Unsurprisingly, the move and career transition have taken up the majority of my time and energy in the past few months. But I still find some time to explore other interests–last year it was makeup and fashion, this year it’s health and wellness. Going forward, I think that may be the new focus of this blog. I have never felt more motivated to eat healthy and stay active as I have this year, so I may as well ride that wave while it lasts, right?

Finding Beauty in Simplicity

Ever since the start of the new year, I have felt a strong desire to simplify my life–by life, I mainly mean my environment, but it extends to other facets as well.  I have always been, regrettably, somewhat of a materialist. I like buying and owning things, especially nice things. Since I started my first real job out of college about a year and a half ago, I have managed to accumulate an incredible amount of clothes, shoes, make-up, skincare, and other miscellaneous items for the apartment. Some of these things I continue to value, but to be honest with myself, I could have done without half of them.

The act of buying things with my own, hard-earned money was almost exhilarating in the beginning. I was, for the first time, financially independent. School hadn’t prepared me for that, so I learned how to handle money my own way. More than that, I truly believed that I needed all these things; my professional job justified the $50 blouses from Zara, when in reality my supervisors don’t really care what I wear so long as I don’t look like a hooligan. My biggest indulgence was my personal trainer–I think I purchased 30 sessions before coming to terms with the fact that I had bit off more debt than I could chew.

In the past month or so, I have made a conscious effort to cut down on spending and de-clutter my life. I have scrutinized my closet with a critical eye and dropped off several bags of unused or outdated items at Goodwill. I organized all my make-up and skincare and threw out old products that weren’t quite empty, but I knew I’d never finish. I tackled the 2 most cluttered surfaces of the apartment, the dining table and coffee table, and dumped all the non-discardable items into one decorative basket, which I then tucked away in a corner, keeping the clutter out of sight and out of mind. Last weekend, I cleaned the apartment more thoroughly than it has ever been cleaned and made a vow to dedicate more time to cleaning every weekend. And so on.

Maybe I’m weird, but the act of de-cluttering and simplifying my life has felt almost euphoric. It certainly beats the temporary highs of making a purchase and opening a new package. It’s an ongoing process, and I’m continuing to find items to get rid of or downsize. When I consider a new purchase, I pause to think about where the item will be stored, or what it’s going to replace. The latter is a good rule to live by; rather than simply accruing new things, I’m aiming to replace the things I have for something better, whether it’s more visually appealing, higher quality, or more practical. In all, it’s been a solid start to 2018 in this household.