Year Unexpected









It’s the first week of 2015. When I stumble across a quote on Instagram that reads, “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come,” I’m taken aback by the fact that two declarative sentences posted on Fuck Jerry have the capacity to sum up the entirety of my innermost feelings concerning the present state of my career trajectory.

Despite my ostensible unwillingness to actively effectuate a significant change, it’s blatantly obvious that I need to resign from what I once referred to as my dream job. On my last day of work,  I’m almost immediately summoned into my boss’s office, and in the most nebulous communication thats occurred post the use of hieroglyphics, I’m unable to determine if I’m being fired or if I’m finally just shaking off the fuzzy quilt of complacency and quitting.

Suggesting that my work performance is not what it once was, my boss insists that I “go home and take a few days off.”

Amongst a sea of shock filled eyes peppering the newsroom floor as I exit stage left, I grab my yellow/green Celine and cab it back to my apartment. While lying prostrate on my bedroom floor, I can’t help but think that, save for the humiliation of being ‘let go,’ I’m desperately longing to leave this position. What was once an enthralling, all consuming experience has turned into a desk job, a series of 3 pm lingering Starbucks saunters runs and hourly clock checks.

With a friend’s wedding hastily approaching in Malaysia (with a five-day layover in Dubai, to boot) I come to terms with the idea of putting everything on hold until after I return from the trip, reasoning that this is an experience that won’t come around twice. Except I can’t just travel — my Type A OCD personality won’t allow for it, so instead, I meticulously plan and style all of my outfits, put my laptop and camera into my carry-on, and decide to write not only about my experiences as a newfound globetrotter, but about all of the other changing factors in my life, as well.

And thus, a personal style blogger with a penchant for journalism is born. On Valentine’s Day, I go to Paris with my boyfriend, and I photograph every last detail of the experience. He teaches me to love the city in a way that I never have before, and I realize that I want to start a career that’s centered around photo documenting visually spectacular moments as a form of voyeuristic escapism but that also places an authentic spotlight on the harsher realities of my personal life as a millennial woman.

It’s not all Avenue Montaigne and butter croissants, though. For the first half of the year, at least, I’m humiliated by the fact that I’ve found my life’s passion as a…blogger.

In the same way that I’m able to synopsize my feelings concerning my former job in one snarky Fuck Jerry quote, I come across another gem of wisdom on Instagram that reads, “The genius thing we did was…we didn’t give up.” Author? Jay-Z.
I commit to every travel opportunity that presents itself throughout the year. After Malaysia, Dubai and Paris, I visit Monaco, St. Tropez, St. Martin, Anguilla, South America, London, Prague, Florence, and Madrid, camera in hand, outfits pre-planned, editorial calendar set in stone.

That said, I’m still overwhelmed by all of the unknowns that have become synonymous with my life. What’s going to happen to my career? Will people suggest that I’ve forsaken a significantly more prestigious pathway for the sake of indulging in a glorified early retirement? What about my personal life? Will my significant other fall out of love with me on a whim? When did I become this pathetic, insecure mouse?  Am I going to allow the abandonment issues set forth by my bio Dad to control my life forever? At 27, if

I don’t have my ducks in a row, is that pseudo socially acceptable or has it transcended into the realm of the dire?

Towards late summer, I hire a professional photographer. I decide to tell a story – one about a young woman who lives in New York and loves fashion. To accomplish this at a level that I can be deeply proud of, I stake out locations that are emblematic of life in this city, work to develop my personal aesthetic, style my looks well in advance of shoot days, iron, pack and go. In some ways, I realize that fashion blogging is not all that different from producing – it requires a fixed plan, an establishing shot, a strong shoot, and even a script of sorts.

In September, my fiancé proposes and I’m elated. It’s the most magical day of my life, and I feel enormous humility and gratitude that God has given me the gift of a soul mate. I start to think about my wedding and consider who I want to surround me on that day. When my nearest and dearest come to mind, I realize that life is ultimately about relationships, and that I want to cultivate my most important ones further. I make an active decision not to cancel scheduled dinner dates with my besties because I’m tired/overworked/cramping, et.al

At the end of the year, I lose a few people who were very close to me, and it cuts like a steak knife to the stomach; but then again, I find new love in unexpected places. NoteBrooke.com begins to prosper. I’m no longer embarrassed to tell people what I do for a living because I’m proud of the content that I’m creating. I start to feel that I, alone, am enough. Stripped of any pedigree that I might have had, my secrets borne to the world, I’m able to love myself anyway. I’ve never felt that before, and it’s something as comforting and beautiful as it is entirely foreign.

When I initially commence this year of aimless globe trotting, I ask myself, Is it possible to find a path while wandering the world? What I’ve learned over the course of the past twelve months is that it is…
as soon as you stop looking for one.

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