The Trouble With Being Goal Oriented + Future Focused

I started this blog when I was 16 (it turned 6 last month), just 3 years after I decided I wanted to go into a career in fashion. When I was 19 I created a fashion styling business, and now I am balancing both while attending one of the top fashion design schools in the country. I would definitely describe myself as ambitious, a planner, forward thinking… but lately I’ve begun to question whether that’s the right way to live. Because my mind is constantly in the future, I am never focused for long on what’s happening in the present nor do I go back and reflect on the achievements of my past.

Once I’ve completed a goal, I check it off the list, and am already onto preparing for the next steps of another. I get so caught up in what’s next, what’s next, that I really don’t give myself the space to appreciate what I’ve worked so hard to do. In this perpetual cycle, I can never be truly satisfied. I can never be truly happy. While there’s nothing wrong with being focused and having your eyes on the prize, the fact of the matter is there isn’t one prize at the end that I can grab and say, Yes! I’ve got it. I am done. It will never be enough.

That’s why it’s so important to remain in the moment. As cliche as it sounds life really is about the journey. I don’t want to miss the small moments that make up those bigger memories that will always stay with me. It’s like those psychology games where you’re supposed to see how many of a certain thing you can count in a video, but at the end they ask you if you saw the gorilla dance across the screen. I don’t want to miss the gorilla. The joy is in those small, spontaneous moments that I can’t plan for. Often times I deem anything that isn’t productive as invaluable and a distraction. But where does this idea of life-is-all-about-attaining-this-one-big-dream-and-any-and-all-energy-has-to-go-towards-that come from? I always picture the TV shows where the woman is in a powerful position at work. She’s clearly doing well for herself, and everyone seems envious of her style, car, home, and office with an impeccable view, but in reality she’s lonely and isolated. I don’t want that to be me.

Last week I decided to meet up with a friend after work and get ice-cream. I ignored that desire in me to go home and get started on prepping for a photoshoot I needed to style. It wasn’t long before I forgot all about that shoot, because he had me dying of laughter. I literally had tears streaming from my face and people were staring. Even as I think about that moment now I smile. I haven’t had a laugh like that in a long time. I needed that, and I wouldn’t have gotten it if I hadn’t said yes and just lived a little.

Just as important as the present is the past. Reflecting on what you’ve achieved is a reminder of how far you’ve come which can fuel you to see what strides you can make in the future. One thing I really want to do is list out my accomplishments. At the beginning of each new year, we list out what we want to achieve, but how often do we go back and see if anything matches up? 2017 has really treated me right so far, and I’ve been able to cross things off my list that I didn’t think to put on there to begin with. I’ve been featured in Cincinnati Magazine, had my styling work on Who What Wear, and found out I am on a billboard in New York. I’ve also started a new job that I love and never considered, added some new friends into my life, and travelled to Africa for the first time.  

This post is really a letter to myself, with hopes that whoever is reading this can benefit from what I am sharing as well. Haha! I know I can’t be the only one though. My parting thoughts are to hold yourself to high expectations, and break down walls, but at the same time pay attention to the good that’s happening in your life right-now-at-this-very-moment-in-time. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. Reflect on how much you’ve developed. And keep on striving.

Photographed by: Keith Klenowski
Clothing from: Shop Libby, in Cincinnati, OH
Headwrap from: The Wrap Life