Life is interesting — it can derail and send you spinning at any point. One moment, you are on top of the world, with your perfect job, significant other, and house. Then, you get hit with a curve ball and wind up with no job, no significant other, and no house. While that example isn’t technically me, I can fully relate to the feeling of going from having everything to nothing in the blink of an eye.
At the beginning of my story, I was a 25-year-old multimedia journalist. On top of working for my local news station, I was also a digital content manager and team interviewer for a D1 college hockey team. I was busy creating news stories and content for my local hockey team, but there wasn’t a moment that I didn’t love what I did. It felt like a dream to get back to my roots and cover the one thing I loved more than life: hockey.
The endless hours at the rink, interviewing the players, and creating content for our social media accounts drained me mentally, but it was worth every second. I quickly became the Maverick Hockey Girl, and people started recognizing me in public. I was taken aback that thousands of people were watching my work.
Getting recognized in public became more frequent, and it started to affect me in many ways.
The Maverick Hockey Girl persona became my identity. I wasn’t Marissa Voss anymore; I was the Maverick Hockey Girl. It consumed me, making me lose who I was. But then came a day when the Maverick Hockey Girl was dead, and I had to resume life as Marissa Voss. And this taught me something entirely different.
After a year with the college hockey team, they decided to go in a different direction, something that’s common in sports. When I first found out, I was absolutely devastated. I felt like I had no idea who I was anymore. After many nights of crying and feeling like I was worthless, I picked myself up, and the healing process began. I was forced to close the chapter of my life I wanted to keep open so badly. But that’s not how life works.
At that time, summer was coming to an end, and fall was starting. I was falling apart because I didn’t have a full-time job and was forced to do the thing nobody in their right mind wants to do: I had to move back home with my parents. I started working for my dad again, which was cleaning businesses after hours. Since I used to work with him when I was in high school, it felt like I was 16 again. I was standing still while everyone around me was moving forward.
A month passed, and in that time frame, I applied to 30+ jobs and heard back from one.
That one job was my golden ticket. It was my way of showing that I could do it and that I was great at my job. Unfortunately, even though I made it to the final interview, I didn’t get the job. I was crushed once again and fell into a depressive state after just pulling myself out of it.
Rejection, my friends, is incredibly hard to deal with at any stage in our lives but especially when we are young. At that time, life seemed to keep moving on, day after day after day. I had to keep going, even though I wanted to give up and go watch The Vampire Diaries for the 100th time. I can tell you that I didn’t, and instead, I woke up every day and put one foot in front of the other. That determination led me to a new job.
I finally did it. I finally got a job.
It’s not a full-time gig, but it’s doing play-by-play for high school hockey games. Regardless, it was my first small victory in months, and it felt amazing. The lessons I have learned from this journey are endless, but I will share the most important ones with you.
Lesson 1: Do not make your career your identity.
You are so much more than what you do for a living. It can be a hobby and passion but not your entire life.
Lesson 2: When it is time to be done with work, it is time to be done with work.
I strongly suggest you refrain from bringing work home with you because then you will never give your mind a break. You will also allow your body, mind, and soul to be consumed by your career.
Lesson 3: It’s okay not to be okay.
Life is unpredictable. You can have moments in which you are down and nothing seems to bring you joy. Those moments of sadness can last for a couple of days and maybe even a week. But don’t let it last longer than that. Then, that will become a habit you cannot break.
Lesson 4: You are where you need to be in life.
You may feel like everyone is passing you by in life with their perfect jobs, significant others, and houses. That is simply not the case. In a full-circle moment, life can hit you with a curve ball, and you can wind up with nothing.
You can choose to feel like everyone is passing you by in life. You can choose to feel like a burden. And you can choose to feel that life is not worth living. But those are all choices. So, you can always make different ones.
You can choose to make a conscious effort to make every day great. You can choose to bring a smile to people’s faces. And you can choose to feel like you belong because you do. You deserve to feel loved, dance in the rain, see the wild sunflowers, and watch the sunset on the beaches of Hawaii. But most of all, you deserve to be happy.
Life is all about perspective. So instead of feeling like your world is upside down, try changing your perspective. Who knows, maybe it will help you realize that everything will be OK. You just have to change the way you look at things.