Instead of making resolutions that I’ll forget by February, every year I pick a word that I want to focus on. In high school it was always “courage” or “perseverance” and last year I made the mistake of choosing “peace,” which turned out exactly like one would expect when taunting the universe.
Originally I leaned back on old habits and wrote “perseverance” for 2020, but before the month is over I want to change my word of the year to “gratitude.”
Since this is my first year as an official college grad, I want to try to get into the animation industry and actually use my degree. Even though I love my job and where I’m at, 5 years from now I will be mad at myself if I don’t at least try to become an animator. It’s a super tough industry, so I highly doubt I’ll get in, but if I do my best and put it out there it’ll be up to the recruiters to decide if it wants me or not.
Deciding to leave my job has taken me a long time to accept. I know God led me to work at my current job, and I don’t want to go my own way if I’m actually supposed to stay. I’ve prayed about it a lot, but I’m getting the same response as all the times I prayed about marriage: God hasn’t given me a straight answer and leaves the choice up to me…great.
I’m afraid I’ll do the wrong thing.
I’m afraid no one will want to hire me.
I’m afraid I won’t be good enough.
But if focus on what I’m grateful for instead of what I fear my thoughts would be more like: I’m grateful for all the experiences I gained from this job and I’m grateful that my passions are kind of useful. I love storytelling, and that comes through in my love for animation, marketing, graphic design, music, writing, and videography.
Hopefully the recruiters see it too!
As I wrestle with my career choices I also have to wrestle with my stuff. I’m talking books, papers, and Kasey’s throne of toys. Stuff that’s in my life that will either move with me or needs to be moved out via recycling, trash, or selling.
My main inspiration for minimizing my things is 1) I’m tired of the cat knocking everything onto the floor, and 2) the landlord wants to sell the townhouse I’m renting in May. Even though my roomie/Aunt wants to find a place for us to rent together, I have no idea if I’ll have a stable stream of income after May or if I’ll have to move out of state.
There are so many unknowns I feel like Hei Hei from Moana when he realizes he’s in the middle of the ocean.
Okay okay. Think gratefully.
I got to know my Aunt and my cousin a lot better, and love them more deeply now. I learned a lot about Gen Z, how to face conflicts head on, and communicating—although I’m far from done learning.
I have 0 clues on what will happen in my future, and that’s propelled my anxiety to the moon. But I’m gonna fight it with the power of friendship—I mean—gratitude!
(I had to sneak in a My Little Pony meme somewhere!)
I’m grateful my boyfriend has been amazingly supportive through all this, saying “we’ll figure it out.”
I’m grateful Kasey has finally been kicked from her kitty-litter munching habit (I gorilla-taped a baby gate to the door frame so she can’t get into the room with the litter box), and that she’s pretty healthy for an ornery, 13-year old Golden Retriever.
3 things I’m grateful for or proud of about myself:
- Graduating with a BFA and NOT taking a break to celebrate. Instead, I realized that my animation skills are not up to industry standard for entry level positions, so immediately jumped into another online program that only focuses on animation.
- Have yet to spend any real money on a mobile game. I’ve been tempted before—Delicious World and Robot Unicorn Attack 2—I’m looking at you guys!—but before I ever complete the purchase I remember that within a couple years I probably won’t even remember this game.
- Still don’t smoke. Or vape. Or do anything that’s like paying money to damage my lungs and make my body age faster.
By picking up more gratitude my anxiety feels less like a boulder on my back and more like an annoying mosquito.
According to Mr. Alfred North Whitehead, “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” And even though my pride doesn’t like it, I’m going to need a lot of help this year. I need others. And that’s a genuinely scary place to be. But instead of feeling angry or afraid, I need to be grateful in all things.
Didn’t get the interview? I’ll be grateful they saw something that meant I wasn’t a fit on that team—and if they tell me what it is I can work on it.
Don’t have a place to live anymore? I’ll be grateful I have family and friends who will let me couch surf. (I don’t actually think it’ll get this far, but who knows!)
Got the job and have to move to the 1 state I never ever wanted to move to? I’ll be grateful someone saw something in me and wants me on the team, and that I get to see what it’s like to live in a new place.
Finally self-published one of my books and got a harsh review? I’m grateful they have high standards because it’s those standards that will encourage me to constantly improve.
There are 336 days until 2021. Which means there’s plenty of time for me to mess up and forget my word of the year. Gratitude does not naturally come as my first thought or reaction, but as with anything else, it’s worth it to keep trying.
Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.
Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)
Would you like to share your story on Windmill Ways? Apply here.