Let me just start off by admitting I found it a little bit difficult to write this post. It’s a little bit more personal than the usual tone of my blog, but I wanted to share the history of this dress with you because there is a reason I chose to wear this dress on this New Year’s Eve, of all days.
I bought this dress ages ago, right around my 24th birthday. It was sort of a “treat yo’self” present to myself. Unfortunately, what should be a happy remnant of my past, was actually a rather sad one. That’s because around this time I was leaving London a few days after my birthday. I was leaving a place I really loved living in and I knew I would miss it and the friends I had made there. To make matters worse, I was feeling more uncertain than ever before about what direction I wanted my life to go. Around that age, I honestly thought that by twenty-four my life’s course would start to become a lot more sure and steady. I thought so many things would definitely have happened by then, things like, I’d have the job that I always wanted, that I’d be completely financially independent, or that I’d own my own flat or apartment. The opposite couldn’t have been more true. I had all of these expectations of how my life should have turned out, but in hindsight having so many specific ideas of how my future should look is in the end just a recipe for disappointment.
What really happened when I turned twenty-four was I had just left a dead-end job that was doing nothing for me but leave me with sleepless nights, I had to leave London because essentially my working visa wasn’t valid anymore, and even scarier, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after I had left. Having my own boutique wasn’t in my radar at the time. I’d always had thoughts of doing something in fashion because it’s where my heart had always been, but owning my own boutique? That seemed more like a fantasy.
Flash forward to seven years later and I’m standing around thinking, what am I going to wear for New Year’s Eve? Then I come across this dress in the back of my closet. The last time I wore this dress was at my 24th birthday party. That evening I got all dolled up and I really wanted everything to turn out “great!” I say it like that because I guess the last thing I really felt like doing was to celebrate, but at the same time I just wanted to forget for a moment what was going on in my life—a fun and messy party seemed like the best way to do that. Of course, truth of the matter is you can’t just run away from your feelings and you certainly can’t run away from you. As a result what started out as a fun evening of dancing and champagne ended with me crying my eyes out, having a total meltdown, and essentially being upset at myself for having failed to achieve what I thought I should have had by then. I was so hard on myself when I was younger, I still am if truth be told, but if getting older has taught me anything it’s that I can’t be in control of all the events that happen in my life and that’s okay because at the end of the day I do have control over the choices that I make. I’ve learned to choose to not let obstacles get me down. Instead I choose to learn from them and use them to pick myself up again.
So anyway after all those years, I come face to face with this dress and the memory of that evening and all the sadness I had felt during that time. For years I chose not to wear this dress because it rather illogically reminded me too much of that feeling, like somehow the sad feeling of disappointment and failure would rub off on me again. Incredibly silly, I know, to have those feelings have that kind of power over me, but not anymore am I letting that happen.
It dawned on me, this is the dress I had to wear to ring in the new year. What better time than now to make a new and better, more positive memory with this dress. After all, I’m no longer the uncertain twenty-four year old I once was. This month I’m turning thirty-two and I can honestly say I feel good about the choices I’ve made in my life, even taking that dead-end job so many years ago because maybe if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have found myself here, starting my own business and finally doing something I love doing and something I didn’t even think I could do. My life now couldn’t be more different than what it was like in my early twenties. I can look back now at my past experiences, even the sad ones, and know that my life’s course is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Steve Jobs once said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” So, how am I going to start 2016? Courageously.