How can I care about personal goals?

It’s the Friday of Labor Day weekend, and I am writing an overdue blog post.

Overdue because my goal is to write at least one post a week, but lately, my timing has been awful.

For some reason I am unable to keep my own personal goals to the same standards as my professional ones. From a strategic standpoint I know this post isn’t going to get many “hits.” The timing is almost a horrible as if I was publishing this on Christmas. But you know what, if I don’t write this now then it’ll be another week with no blog post.

I’m a control freak. Therefore, I hate flying. I love telling my boyfriend when he’s wrong. I love knowing about a news story before my mom or dad. I love, love, LOVE control. Maybe that’s why when it comes to my own personal goals and aspirations, I dilly and I dally. Instead of taking the bull by the horns and writing every day like I should be, I just THINK about writing every day. I keep the ideas inside my head and hope that they’ll still be there when I FEEL like writing them out.

I’m a planner. I’ve always had multiple planners for my various areas of life – personal, professional, and educational. Two out of the three are covered in check marks & crossed off lists, plus a neon rainbow of Post-Its. The other has cute little plans, but no actions. The other looks pristine next to the well worn & (sometimes aggressively) handled two.

Am I just now realizing that I’m a fraud? I go through the motions, make the plans, but the follow through is no where to be found…and why? Because it’s easier to say, “well I tried and the timing wasn’t right” versus ACTUALLY challenging myself and trying with my whole heart and soul and still failing, or even perhaps not be good enough?

Or, have I just not found something that’s good enough for me? Do I hold myself to such high standards that I will only pursue an avenue that I believe 100% in, so much so that it eats me alive?

This isn’t a question I can yet answer today, because it’s a long weekend and I gotta go do a whole lot of nothing versus a whole lot of something.

 

Sometimes you’ve got to give in to win

 

I must confess the truth.

Leaving Chicago has been the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I tried. I really did try to make it work. I gave myself completely to the demands of the city. I worked overnights, double shifts, all for minimum wage. Tried to mold myself to fit in to the different social groups – the comic, the newsmaker, the socialite, the designer, the athlete. I couldn’t find my niche, my people. I was never good enough to be first rank, always second at best.

I have never felt lower about myself and my worth than when I lived in Chicago. I worked for some pretty talentless, rude, and idiotic people. It still amazes me how some of the people I answered to were in their positions of power.

I told myself the struggle was normal, that it would pass. But you know what? That’s bullshit. Young professionals should NOT be killing themselves over their jobs. It is not fair, nor okay, for their bosses to say that their over-the-top sacrifices are necessary for the good of the company or the good of the team. Never should a person feel so low as I have felt and be okay with that. It is NOT okay. It is NOT okay to work for a company, a boss, or a department that allows you to feel empty, alone, exhausted, frustrated, un-appreciated, under paid, and damaging your personal life.

Young professionals are NOT brats, selfish, or lazy for standing up for what is right & deserved: good mental health, a challenging yet balanced work environment, and respect from their peers & bosses.

I left Chicago because it was a do or die situation. I made excuses for my misery. Luckily for me, I was challenged by someone I love to either do or die. I chose do. And while it’s been challenging on my pocket book, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am finally standing up for what I deserve. I am finally doing what I’m passionate about, even if it means cutting my livelihood in half. It’s amazing how much more you enjoy life when you aren’t dreading about doing something uninspired for 8+ hours of your day.

If anyone ever needs to talk to someone about hating their job, hating their path, being depressed, lost, confused, alone, frustrated. I’m your girl. Even though I’m free from my big city demons, I’m still challenged each day to continue discovering who I am and what path I’m on. So, I’m not completely put together & all knowing. But, I can empathize. I can listen. I can try to help others feel that they do have options, albeit different than what they may be comfortable with at first, but worthwhile in the longterm.

And hey, maybe one day I’ll lay out all my grievances about particular individuals & employers, because wouldn’t that be juicy & funny? But for now, I’m going to keep giving in to my wants and desires and ya know, just keep on winning.

Post inspiration brought to you by the song “Sunshine” by Atmosphere:

Why I succeed at failing

I have been letting myself down a lot this past year. I’ve been making excuses for why I’m treading water. I’ve been blaming the universe for giving me difficult circumstances, that prevent me from moving forward. I then decide that the solution to get away from all this negative juju invading my headspace is to well, move. Queue positive vibes & blissful living!

Nope. Maybe it was blissful living for the first two weeks, but then the frustration with life came roaring back.

You see, ever since I graduated from college almost 4 years ago, I haven’t felt fulfilled. Or, if I did feel fulfilled it was fleeting. My dreams were cut down by reality, so I adapted. But for me, adapting isn’t good enough. I tried the whole full-time job thing. Fine at first, and then life hit me again and again with dilemmas.

Caitlin, your family needs you.

But Caitlin, you have rent to pay.

Caitlin, live each day like it’s yours and their last.

Caitlin, how are you going to excel in your career, adulthood if you keep going off to follow your heart? 

I am a rational person. I would like to think I’m smart, even. Maybe even overly cautious sometimes when it comes to taking a risk. A square.

But when it comes to a career, I fly by the seat of my pants. My heart bleeds down my sleeve as I continue to search for that soulmate,  that fulfillment. I can’t force to do the easy thing and “just find a full time job until you figure it out.” That seems so wrong for me. Soul-sucking. Uninspired.

So, in the eyes of many, I continue to succeed at failing. Failing to conform to what generations before me did because “they had to,” but really did they? Failing to be comfortable with a steady income at a job that is just a job. Failing to do something “useful” and “productive” with my $50K+ college education, therefore disappointing my parents. Failing to be normal.

I always had said growing up that I would HATE working in an office if it wasn’t work I loved doing. “I’ll never take a job just for the money.” Well, I’ve done that in the past…slightly unavoidable Younger and Unknowing Caitlin.

But now, I’ve decided to embrace my failures. Things didn’t work out for a reason, because if they had would I really be my best self? My happiest? My most fulfilled? Maybe my failures are leading me up to a road of successes that just so happen to occur later in life, because I’ll handle it better then and not become a drug addict or fame whore.

I want to keep failing. If I keep failing then I’ll keep growing. If I keep growing then I’ll become a more evolved individual. If I become a more evolved individual then I will be fulfilled.

Simple enough, right?

The Journey to Building Champions

Note: This post is going to be one of the more personal, and candid posts I have done in a while. Thank you in advance for all of your support!

Over the last 2 + years I have been inspired by a couple individuals in the health and fitness world. Why? Because they radiate positivity. They encourage not only others but themselves to keep trying, to keep striving, to keep believing. They’ve taken their passion for health and fitness and combined it with helping others.

Why couldn’t I do the same?

I’ve been working multiple jobs since my sophomore year of college, and a lot of the time I wasn’t happy with that type of schedule. I wanted to find something that took my love for health & fitness that could be done in my spare time and result in a little extra side cash for vacations, grad school applications, moving expenses, etc.

AdvoCare

So, I recently decided to take a leap of faith. I joined AdvoCare as a distributor because I’m passionate about the products and I’m passionate about helping others find their fit, whether that’s pushing themselves farther in the gym or establishing a healthier lifestyle. The opportunity AdvoCare gives to people is incredible, and really it is whatever you want it to be for you and your goals. I jumped in as a distributor because I want financial freedom, I want to be able to walk away from long 9-10 hour work days knowing I can still support my dreams and goals, and even pay for graduate school without having to work a full time job on top of my class load.

I’m writing this post about this venture of mine because I not only want to encourage others to take the time to get to know and try the products, but also to see the business opportunity in front of them, if they’re open to it & believe in it.

I genuinely care about the health and the success of others and want to help YOU towards your goals whether you’re inspired to try the products TODAY or even MONTHS from now. You wouldn’t be doing this alone, you will be joining a team of other successful, passionate, extremely supportive and loving individuals who want to see you succeed! Your success is our success!

MY personal experiences with the products

After participating in the 24 Day Challenge with Marty, I was AMAZED by the results! My energy levels were consistent throughout my long work days, my digestive system was the cleanest it had ever been in my life, and even my skin was clearing up!

Left: Day 1 of 24-Day Challenge Right: Day 24 of 24-Day Challenge
Left: Day 1 of 24-Day Challenge
Right: Day 24 of 24-Day Challenge
Day 24 of 24-Day Challenge
Day 24 of 24-Day Challenge

I still drink Spark in place of a morning coffee (my stomach just can’t handle coffee right away in the AM), and take Catalyst to ensure I am getting enough of my amino acids each day (in addition to amino acids in my diet). Arginine Extreme is great before my longer HIIT workouts & runs.

I haven’t tried all the products yet, but there is definitely something for everyone’s dietary needs, fitness goals, or overall health.

Please, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have about trying a sample of Spark, any product questions, or interest in joining my team! We will make your goals happen!

More Hats

20 and even 30-somethings are beginning to create their own jobs. Saying “screw you” to those refusing to hire them until “they pay their dues.”

At only 24 years old, I have worn quite a few different hats in my life so far – soccer player, student, journalist, historian, manager, advisor.

And at only 24 years old, I still have so many hat possibilities! But…what if I’m trying on too many too soon?

I’ve found quite a few “happys” along the way as I’ve tried on those different hats. How long that happy lasts varies of course. I mean come on, I am a twenty-something. My attention span is pretty short lived and I’m in constant need for instant gratification.

It’s that feeling of being content that I have yet to discover. Seriously. Not even a glimmer. I have NO idea what being content with my life feels like. I’m in a constant state of unrest, with “what if I did this” thoughts flooding my stream of consciousness on a daily basis.

I’ve thought that traveling would quell that unrest, but then reality hits: I need money to travel. I need to keep improving my skills & abilities so when I am ready to “settle down” I am employable. I need to focus on one area so I have a better chance at getting a good job. I need to think of life after my 20s.

Is it really reality that is stopping me from doing the unthinkable – not choosing a path, not choosing to invest in a career, choosing to not choose? Or, is it the old expectations of generations past?

“I don’t think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They’re both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking there’s some kind of change.” – Bob Dylan

I have incredibly supportive parents. They show their support the best by (mostly) keeping their career advice and opinions to themselves. My mom understands that a one-career life is no longer a realistic expectation of a person. Rather, multiple careers is almost the new expectation to survive not only the economy, but also to quell that unrest within ourselves.

The difference between the millennial generation and any other, is that we refuse to be miserable. We strive to find our happy. We strive to ruin expectations. We strive towards a greater understanding. Barriers are being broken. Lines are being crossed. Newness is being born every day.

So, is it possible to be content AND happy? Or, is happiness no longer a long-term plan, but rather a daily victory? Is being content unattainable until you “settle down?”

I’ve had co-workers of all ages. The ones closer to my parents age, really haven’t had to struggle as much to get their job. Obviously, things were different when they graduated from school. The ones closer to my age and up to 10 years older than I, have had to work the worst shifts, holidays, weekends, forgo personal events, etc. for YEARS before finally getting that job they deserve.

But now, 20 and even 30-somethings are beginning to create their own jobs. Saying “screw you” to those refusing to hire them until “they pay their dues.”

SO, LISTEN UP UNEMPLOYED 20-SOMETHINGS: Creation is the way to go. Create your own hat, because all the ones you’ve worn in the past, or are wearing right now, well, they’re going out of style.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

One Line a Day

After leaving my career aspirations behind to try another path, is 2015 going to continue on a path of wellness and happiness or a new round of struggles and questions?

Last Valentine’s Day, Marty got me a book titled, One Line a Day. He thought it would be perfect for me since I’m so horrible at committing to blogging every day, let alone once a month! (I’m working on it…)

The point is to write one line about your day, per day. It has five spaces on each page for you to write your one line for the next five years. It’s genius, really. So, now that it has been one year since I received this gift, I can start to look back at my lines from 2014.

2015 is already starting MUCH better than 2014, I must say. I’m in a better place emotionally, financially, mentally…but something is still missing.

I have this hole that’s slowly growing inside of myself ever since I stopped regularly frequenting those radio station halls. I go back ever so often to fill in, but it’s not the same. I still have that gnawing in the back of my head that’s telling me if I don’t step up my game soon, I will lose my chance to ever break it into the radio industry.

I could be bitter and blame money as the reason for my departure from radio, but honestly it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Still…that drive, that passion to tell stories, to tell the stories of those unheard, bypassed, ignored…it isn’t being fulfilled. I no longer spend time trying to understand why I wasn’t picked to do this or that, or why I am not being called upon to help on this or that, because it’s useless.  It doesn’t build me. It doesn’t strengthen me. It just gives me an excuse to give up and to stop trying.

You grind in your 20s, that’s what “people” say. You grind in your twenties so you can build in your thirties and you can enjoy your forties. But what if I want to grind, build and enjoy before I’m 40? Is that possible any more? Or is paying your dues now extended by 5 years since the economy went to shit and companies are raking the rewards of cheap labor from college graduates, who are desperate to make it on their own, no matter the physical, mental or emotional cost?

So, how am I going to stand out? How am I going to grind, build and enjoy? How am I going to tell those untold stories? How am I going to fill my one line a day?

Finding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is Caitlin Fry’s mantra for 2015…and it should be yours too!

2015 has started well enough for C-P-Fry.

New job, new responsibilities, more time to read, workout, lay in bed, slow down and enjoy my surroundings in the city.

2015 is the year I will become a quarter of a century old. And apparently, the new thing to do is to have a “quarter-life crisis” since I’m a millennial trying to find a career in a very career-less world and therefore need to panic about my path.

I already did this panic dance last year, in 2014. So, I think my “quarter-life crisis” is going to be spent looking at the thousands of possibilities of what could be in store for the next 25 months of my life, rather than the next 25 years.

I don’t know if it’s logical to think about where you’ll be in 5 years anymore. The economy is too exhausting to follow. Careers are no longer lifelong adventures where you rack up multiple awards and plaques for your many years of service. Rather, they are a temporary solution to the life long problem of needing to make enough money to live… but you eventually bail after 36 months because you haven’t felt fulfilled, and if you don’t stop now you’ll lose your sanity in addition to your friends.

I’ll be honest. I studied journalism and history during undergrad. Hell, I was certain radio was for me – my dream. It still might be. But it isn’t right for me right now. I haven’t given up on my writing/story telling dreams. Not at all. Something just had to give after 2 years of intense hours, long commutes, and not enough pay.

Getting in the journalism game takes a brave, strong soul. One that can handle the long nights, even longer days, and lack of relationships. I admire those who have been able to juggle their sanity with their passion for storytelling.

Since starting my new job in management, I’ve been learning about emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

If I could tell my fellow millennial one thing about how to find their “happy” on their road to self success it would be to develop and learn about your emotional intelligence. Seriously. This will make or break your sanity. It will change your outlook not only of how you operate, but it will also help you to chill the hell out when people around you are being complete morons. Because you’ll realize, what the fuck is the point of being mad or frustrated with dumbasses or dumbass situations when there is nothing you can do to change it, so what the hell, just do you.

Emotional intelligence your saving grace for 2015 everyone.

Times They Are A-Changin’

After 20 months at WGN Radio, I am moving my “concentrations elsewhere.” That is, I was offered a full-time retail management job, and I can’t keep both my full-time hours + scheduled shifts at ‘GN. Something had to give.

This isn’t me giving up on my dreams of writing, of educating, of informing. Life is funny sometimes. It gives you opportunities when you least expect them. It gives you hardships when you least want them. It makes you question your path and yourself more than your nagging parents & elderly neighbors.

But, this choice is what is right for me, right now, in this moment of my 24-year-old life. It may not be what’s right for you, and if so, that’s cool. Just don’t tell me that. Keep it to yourself. No one wants to hear your opinions anyways. Especially me. I’m hard enough on myself as it is.

So, you won’t be hearing me on Sundays with Frank Fontana or Patti Vasquez, unless I’m filling in of course. Which I hope they still invite me back to do, when I’m able.

But, you will be reading more of my writing. With the new job comes new hours which means more free time to explore and develop my other passions. It’s going to be pretty awkward and pretty awful at first. Hell, maybe even the first year will be an absolute train wreck, but fuck it, I’m going to give it a damn good honest try.

So here’s to the next 20 months of learning, educating and informing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be a blockbuster hit by then. Or, an excellent failure.

The Business Card That Just Won’t Quit!

Image

I finally took the time to have these crafted up (they look much better in person than as an iPhone photo, I promise) and hopefully I got enough of them, 250 and all. Ya never know when you’ll need to make a makeshift deck of cards at a party.

Now, to find a job with consistent hours, benefits, and makes me feel fulfilled and happy…is that realistic in 2014, or should I move past that?

Who knows, maybe these will help me find that long lost connection that I need to get the ball rolling again…never under estimate the power of a brightly colored business card! Especially one with the name Caitlin Fry on it.

Why You Need to Learn to Become a Superhero at College

I have been a college graduate for seven months now and the reality of being done with my undergraduate career still wakes me up in the morning with a shift kick in the behind, waking me up to the reality that I am still on that terrifying job hunt.

I like to think that I was pretty active in college, learning to perfect the art of multitasking — going to class, going to student organization committee meetings, grabbing a quick bite from the cafe, making sure I finished my homework and left some room to study for that upcoming midterm, write a 15 page research paper the same night I said I’d cover someone’s DJ shift for three hours, etc.

While some nights I thought my head was going to explode from the pressure and my friends did their very best to boost me up with over-caffeinated cups of coffee and “study parties” (studying doesn’t sound so terrible when you add the word party at the end of it, right?), I quickly learned that if I planned on making it into the professional market, let along the media business, I needed to morph myself into a superhero – still kicking ass at 3 a.m., balancing three different modes of thought in my head at the same exact time (sometimes in English and en français), and of course, never letting my hopes of working for NPR (someday, one day) die.

Now that my undergraduate career is done, that doesn’t mean my superhero training is. It has been seven months since I have been in a college classroom, football or basketball stadium, and student organization meeting. Now I split my time and my brain’s hemispheres between: weekly train trips to Chicago, car crash fatality research, finishing a big investigative news story, teaching myself how to become a successful freelancer, and searching for more internships or possibly even jobs to add to my ever-growing résumé.

I thought I did enough in college, and while my friends and family said that I did do enough in college, in the real world sometimes that just isn’t enough to get what you want. So, fellow graduates, my words of advice for you (and myself): Do not get discouraged with yourself if you are doing your absolute best. While you are trying to break out into the big bad professional world, and you’re supposed to impress others, you should always remember to be kind to yourself. At this moment, the professional world is meaner and scarier than ever before, so give yourself time. Be open to many experiences, even if they might not be what you dreamed of doing right out of college, everything has a way of working out for the best, as long as you maintain that mentality. You’ll find your path, you’ll find your happiness, and it just may not be EXACTLY how you planned.

My advice to high school students soon to be entering college: While college is an incredibly exciting time since you will be living away from your parents for the first time, do not get caught up in the partying atmosphere of university. Of course have fun and be open to new (and safe) things. But remember that each action has a consequence — take it from a friend of mine who always dreamed of going to teach abroad and has trouble finding countries that will accept his application since he received a number of alcohol related tickets while an undergrad. I promise you, you can make friends outside of the bars, outside of a drunk or high haze, and you can find like-minded people in student organizations, volunteer groups, or work-study programs. Fill your empty time slots with activities that not only cater to your interests but also will look great on your résumé!

If you didn’t learn to become a superhero at college and spent a lot of your time either staring at the ol’ boob tube or the toilet bowl, it’s not too late to start evolving. Look for volunteer opportunities in your town that relate to your interests. Keep the fire going under you to never settle. Do not spend your time regretting what you did not do at college. Instead, spend that time searching for a similar opportunity that doesn’t require you to be at college to pursue it. And don’t wait! Many internships and collegiate student opportunities dwindle a year after you graduate.

Everyone can learn to be his or her own superhero. How badly do you want it?

Various Marvel superheros