Delaney Childs: Finding Your Career Path & Embracing Your Personal Journey
Written by: Delaney Childs
Let’s rewind to 2016…
I had just graduated college with a degree in Cultural Anthropology and I was unsure of my next move. Entering the ‘real world’ can be one of the most intimidating and challenging times in your lives. There’s a lot of pressure to decide what you’re going to do with the majority of your time for the majority of your life. Not only does it need to fill you up inside but it needs to help you pay your bills, fit into your other life goals, and logistically make sense as well. If you’re someone like myself who has a plethora of interests and passions it can make it even more challenging.
But the good news is – you’ll figure it out. We always do.
Fortunately for me I LOVED my major and therefore had a positive experience in my college studies and I was excited about the prospect of starting a career in that field. Unfortunately for me my degree isn’t one of the most applicable in the so called ‘real world.’ It’s actually got a quite specific career path – at least for me it did. That path involved a lot more schooling, a few more degrees, and much uncertainty as to where I would move between continued education and field work.
Although I aspired to keep on this track I also wanted to prioritize my relationship with my boyfriend Clayton. At this point we had already been dating for a couple years and we were in what we both considered to be a serious relationship – we both envisioned the future together. This obviously added considerable influence to the upcoming life choices I needed to make. Clayton was 6 months behind me in graduating which bought me a little time to figure it out. For those of you that don’t know, Clayton studied Mechanical Engineering which was a much more fruitful, straight forward degree in terms of job options and career path. He had also been interning with a company in the San Francisco Bay Area for a few years which basically guaranteed him a great job. His ‘real world’ path was much more clearly defined than mine and he hadn’t even graduated yet.
In an effort to try to help me figure out how to continue moving forward on my own path my mom gently suggested the route of social work. She has her masters in social work and we share a lot of similar interests so it made sense that it could be something I’d enjoy and find a career in. I began to take courses and apply for graduate school. I ended up getting into the program and started getting all my ducks in a row for this next chapter of my life. Because I knew Clayton would be moving away to the Bay Area for his soon to be new job, we also started prepping for a long distance relationship. Something neither of us was looking forward to – but we were both willing to do it if it allowed us each to do what was best for ourselves while still maintaining what we had spent the last few years building.
There was a lot of emotions and uncertainty swirling around in my head.
In the midst of trying to figure it all out I also started a fashion blog as a passion project. It was something I had always wanted to do as a way to express myself creatively and share my love of styling with the world. I think it helped serve as a distraction and stress reliever at the time too. I had NO idea what I was doing but I knew I wanted to do it – for my soul. While I spent my days chipping away at the prep work of beginning grad school I also worked hard to strengthen my muscles in this new adventure of “blogging.” Learning how to use the camera I had just bought, styling outfits, coming up with content ideas, setting up my website, writing blog posts, building out social media and more. (Clayton was there since day 1 figuring out all these things too…I couldn’t have done it without him!)
As the emotions and uncertainty continued to swirl I began to realize where my true passions lies. I was passionate about my degree in Cultural Anthropology and the prospect of embarking on that life journey, I was passionate about my creative endeavor of starting a fashion blog, and I was passionate about my relationship with Clayton – but I realized I wasn’t truly passionate about the journey I had started with social work. Although I’m interested in the field and I and enjoy learning about it my soul wasn’t feeling as lit up as it did about other options I was weighing.
I had to bring the news to my mom that my heart wasn’t in it and I was going to take a different direction. She was extremely understanding and happy for me to do what felt right for me. This was a huge relief to me – if you take something off your plate and feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, that’s how you know you’re making the right decision. And that’s how I felt.
We have to listen to our gut. It will never lie. It will guide you exactly where you need to go. I hate to let others down and a part of me was worried that I would be letting my family down with this decision. But your loved ones should be happy if you’re happy.
It’s not up to anyone but you what happiness looks like and anyone who truly cares about you will be the first to support you in doing what makes YOU happy.
As much as it pained my heart to kiss my non-traditional adventurous dream of becoming an anthropologist goodbye – it was a sacrifice I was willing to make to prioritize the best relationship I’ve ever known. And although I was giving up that passion, I was filling up a creative and adventurous need in myself by embarking on the blogger journey. Plus I never rule out the possibility of anything – there’s still time and there will always be time to begin a new journey or fulfill a different dream if I so wish.
This process helped me to realize the importance of compromise and sacrifice in the art of embracing your journey. Weighing out your options and finding one you can be at peace with is where it’s at. I don’t think there is one right choice or path – I think it’s just a matter of finding one of many that you are fulfilled in. Each will provide plenty of road bumps, adventures and lessons so buckle up no matter what turn you take. Some journeys may be shorter than others. We may need to begin one in order to find out we need to begin another. Nothing is set in stone – the nature of life is change. So don’t be alarmed if your path changes at some point. Embrace that as well!
Now we’ll fast forward a few years to where I am on my journey today. I prioritized my relationship but I also made sure I still had a path that fueled my passions. At the time of starting my blog I didn’t even know it was a career option- but Clayton and I worked extremely hard on my little fashion blog passion project and ended up turning it into BOTH of our full time careers. Being able to have a creative job, a flexile schedule, and spend tons of time together is now our dream come true. I would have never guessed this would have been my career path – but that’s the beauty of following your heart and seeing where it takes you. And for that I’m so grateful.
I hope me sharing my winding journey of figuring out where to turn next can help ease any worries you might have about your personal journey. Embrace who you are, embrace what you love. Take risks and keep going. You truly never know what life has in store for you, and you shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to do anything your heart desires. Well, maybe you can be afraid. But don’t let that fear stop you. Run towards your fears – conquer them. And see where your journey leads you.