Although I graduated college just six years ago, I’ve already been through a handful of careers — admin, journalist, customer service, marketer — in a heaping handful of companies. I’ve often been involved in projects that failed, and were fairly clearly destined to fail from the start for one reason or another. This took a toll on the quality of my work, and the overall enjoyment of work on a daily basis.
Then, I joined my current startup as one of the very early employees. We were so small when it started, and I wasn’t sure where it was going. Today, our company has pretty much exploded — in a good way. Of course, anything can go wrong, as we’re still super early stage, but I have the taste of success in my mouth. It’s crazy, being part of this, and feeling both part of it and like an outsider looking in, all at the same time. There are many days, hours, minutes when I wonder what I contribute, but then I look back and see just how much I have contributed. Sure, I’ve made mistakes, I haven’t contributed as much as someone with a brain that processes information at top speeds, but I think I’ve contributed as much as I can. Now, it’s not clear if that will be enough going forward, but I’ve made it this far, and the whole situation is surreal.
Time flies on the wings of a successful venture. I’m watching my company grow incredibly fast, and there are people here that I haven’t had a serious conversation with yet. I travel to a conference for a week or two, come back, and there are new faces who wonder who I am. It’s a totally different company than it was just 12 months ago.
I’ve been waiting for this opportunity, and here it is. I won’t get rich off of it — wealth in startups is reserved for founders, investors, and a few very high-level executives, but if I can focus on kicking ass for a few more years, and just hunker down on what that exactly means, and execute, maybe I’ll have enough for the downpayment on a decent house — maybe I’ll have enough to feel comfortable having children in my early 30s instead of feeling guilty and terrified of not having the money to support them. Everything seems so far yet also within reach. I can taste my life finally working out. It tastes sweet and refreshing, like cool, wet watermelon on a warm summer’s evening dripping down my throat. It opens up my sinuses and relieves all the pressures of the world. It’s just a dream right now, but it’s the closest I’ve ever been to that dream. I long for freedom to live the life I want — to be a mother, to be an artist, to start my own company, to start my own non-profit, to sleep in late, to get up early, to spend a day lying in the sun in the middle of the week, whenever I feel like it, and to spend time with my family, my loved ones, my friends — that’s the dream I long for. That’s the dream I can’t get out of my head.