My Life Sans Instagram Filter (& The Truth About Chasing Your Dream)
To my dear blog readers (especially those of you who are chasing dreams, feeling discouraged and anyone in their goddamn twenties), If you think I have my life together, please let me offer you some relief by assuring you I don’t.
And I mean… I seriously don’t.
If you’ve found yourself fooled by my meticulously curated, filtered and Facetuned Instagram feed, I’m about to set the record straight. Although I do live on a beautiful beach in picturesque New Zealand, I don’t live a particularly “Insta-worthy” life. In fact, right now, the life of Cait Taylor looks a lot less like lounging in the sun with a margarita and a lot more like under-eye bags and tapping away at my laptop until 3 AM.
It’s a lot less like driving a Range Rover to a swanky little condo, and a lot more like a dinged up ’96 Corolla with no hubcaps and still living at my mum’s place at twenty-one. There are no holidays in Bali because there are seven day work weeks and barely enough time for coffee with friends. There are sporadic breakdowns, discouragement, uncertainty and pep talks to self. Bouts of creativity followed by set backs and tears in the shower.
You get the picture. It’s been a bumpy ride since leaving the security of my full-time job as a makeup artist and pursuing this (unpaid) blogging gig. Luckily for me, money has never been the sole motivator in my life, and I doubt it ever will be. Living my passion and being excited about Monday mornings, is far more important to me than the digits in my bank account. However, after being raised by an unbelievably strong yet struggling single mother, I’d be lying if I said I don’t long to someday repay her with a lovely house, clear our debts and create a financially stable life for myself and future family.
More than anything in the world though, I’m working my bum off with the hope that this little blog community continues to grow and I get the privilege of sharing my story with even more incredible people like yourself. I’m confident that someday I will be doing this thing full time; Self-employed, living, breathing and building my dream every day. I left school at age sixteen with next to no qualifications, but with a head full of ideas and a heart full of determination. My ‘aspirations’ list is longer than any human could physically fulfil in a lifetime, but I’m sure gonna try. What I’ve realised lately though, is I’d be doing both you and me a disservice if I failed to document my actual journey and wasn’t 100% honest about the climb.
The truth is, chasing a dream is not for the faint of heart. Unless you were a trust-fund baby, chances are you’ll have to side-hustle your way to success. Maybe you’ll have to keep your 9 to 5 and work on your projects in the early hours. You may have to live with your parents into your mid-twenties and eat nothing but ramen noodles, to invest every cent into your endeavour. Perhaps you’ll have to pack up and move to another country to find more opportunities. Whatever the case, I can promise you it won’t be easy. But nothing good ever is.
There will be many days where you doubt yourself and compare your achievements to those around you. To your older sister who has a masters degree and your twenty-something friend who is somehow making six figures and travelling the world. It will be unbelievably hard not to compare when it feels as though you’re only just starting and everyone else is thriving. But if you remember only one thing from this post, let it be this: If you are truly following your passion, even the biggest cons will always be outweighed by the pros. You will continue to pick yourself up even after failing again and again, and again. Living on toast and noodles will seem like the world’s smallest sacrifice. And you won’t sweat it when you have to skip parties, to work 15 hour days.
Truthfully, if you’re working towards your dream, you are already living the dream. Spending all your time, money and energy on something will be a piece of cake if you truly love whatever it is. Work will not feel like work. Monday mornings will feel like Friday nights. Each small win will have you floating on cloud 9 and the down days will simply be stepping stones to your inevitable success. You’ll look forward to reaching the top but won’t care if your life is a little less “Instagrammable” in the meantime.
So, with that said, if you find me disappearing off your social media feeds for a few days or weeks at a time, it’s because I don’t own a Gucci belt or have a Maltese puppy. Weekends, unfortunately, aren’t being spent on the town with my BFFs. I’m not living my best life in a 5-star resort in Maui. And sometimes there’s just no good Insta filter for under-eye bags, working till 3 AM and crying in the shower. 😉
But as a fellow hustler told me just a few days ago:
“EMBRACE THE STAGE YOU’RE IN AND BECOME ONE WITH THE PROCESS”.
Pushing pride and impatience aside, I’m taking that wisdom and embracing where I am at this very moment. I’m excited about where I’m heading, but vowing to keep things as real as I can along the way. There’s no shame in where you started. We all start somewhere. What's most important is having the bravery to begin in the first place. 😊