It’s not often we get a chance to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come. Life, particularly in cities like London, has us hurtling forward at 180mph barely able to catch our breath let alone take stock of our achievements. The key to surviving seems to be an elaborate juggling act between obligations and trying to hold onto some semblance of a “normal” life. But if we don’t stop to smell the roses, what’s the point? By this, I mean really appreciating how far we’ve come and how hard we’ve fought for it, rather than the odd ‘treat yoself’ splurge.
Last week, I found myself running early for a friend’s birthday drinks so instead of my usual speed walk/canter to the event, I slowed to a stroll, took in my surroundings and let my mind wander. This year marks a decade since I graduated from university. I had to count it on my fingers to make sure I got it right. I couldn’t believe that it had been that long but at the same time, it seems like I’ve lived several lifetimes since then. It’s weird how time can be so subjective.
I’ve loved shoes way before I even started university – I blame my mother for that little habit – and it seemed like kismet that I spent my final year working for a shoe designer. Managing the Primrose Hill store for British designer Beatrix Ong was fun, I played with beautiful shoes all day and sat in on buying appointments from time to time. It’s where I started to learn about the shoe trade.
At the time, Beatrix collaborated with artist Natasha Law (yes, Jude’s sister) on some beautiful shoe boxes featuring her delicate prints along with a Lao Tzu quote; “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. That quote stuck with me and it’s ironic that now, 10 years later, I’m still in the shoe business albeit in a much senior role for a much more exciting business. I guess my weekend job might have been the single step towards where I am now.
I don’t really talk about my day job on the blog or social media, but I’m blessed to be doing a job I really love. I manage marketing and PR for a start-up shoe brand. Working for a start-up after working for one of the biggest luxury retailers was a huge step change but it’s been more rewarding than I can put into words. In a single day, I can be doing anything from engaging influencers, naming our newest shoe style, signing off PR strategy or working with a huge US retailer on a campaign. Or I could be flying out to Porto for a factory visit.
I walked into work yesterday without a hint of weekend blues and despite only getting 5 hours of sleep I was raring to go. I work for a company I’m passionate about, I have an amazing yet challenging marketing role and I really respect my boss and colleagues. I’m blessed.
I would say I lucked out, but luck has very little to do with where I am now. It’s taken hard work, determination, blood, sweat and tears to get to where I am now. I haven’t had any handouts and no one has given me a leg up. I’ve endured enough horrible jobs and worse bosses to last a lifetime. I had a job so awful, I would cry as soon as I got home. I’ve worked with a colleague so horrific I couldn’t bear to speak to her. Looking back, I can barely believe how unhappy I used to be. Having survived the worst and fought for better really makes me appreciate where I am in life.
It’s easy to see where someone is in a current moment and not appreciate their journey and hard work. Especially with social media, which is little more than a highlights reel showing select high points and none of the lows. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of projecting a perfect life but it’s so, so important to stay down to Earth. I’m fortunate that my hard work has paid off, I have lovely things and travel to incredible places but I’m also very grateful for every experience. There’s a brilliant Oprah quote that I try to live by; “I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.”.
Tshirt – Miss Selfridge
Jeans – Topshop
Shoes – Topshop
Photography by Adorn Girl.