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At the beginning of this year, I set a goal to blog post at least once a month, more- if I felt so lead. Now, there may be some jumping to conclusions here, and let me just stop you right here. I know I titled this post "over it" and started immediately talking about my said goal; however, I am not giving up on my goal! That is still going strong (I mean, as strong as me posting on the last day of the month- but it still counts!)

No, this post is all about THE HUSTLE and me.. lots about me.. buckle up, it may get deep! See these two adorably cute people over here to the right? Looking pretty great, like they have life figured out? I love this picture, because it's what my brain imagines when I hear the word "adulting." My husband and I, living it large in our fanciest outfits, in a big ol'city, laughing light-heartedly like we don't have a care in the world (or toddlers!) Then, I literally laugh out loud! Yea... that's not us! haha (We freaking love our toddlers!)

That can all be a moment, a good one, that you should snap a photo of, and look back on and feel a little ping of joy because that was a great moment! Adulting is so much more than all those things. The sad thing is, I think many of us ate up the lie that if you hustle long enough, hard enough, and efficiently enough, you will be successful. Only, no one ever clarified what "successful" really was, and exactly how long are you supposed to "hustle?" and how do you know when you "make it?"

"Successful" is going to look different for every person. After my illustrious career in all things grunt work, cut-throat competition, rat-race, labor intensive, and then 9-5, I've learned that my definition of success has less to do with money, achievement, perfectionism, possessions, and status; and more to do with peace, joy, flaws, vulnerability, connection, presence, and relationship.

Hustling only ever brought me overwhelm, anxiety, and self-worth dilemmas. While I know at this point, hustling is not what I want in life, it is what I know, and what I've come to be very good at doing. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I find myself back in that place of hustling towards some unknown idea of "success" and I have to ground myself and start over! Maybe this is just me, or maybe someone out there has the same struggle.

Head's up! This is the part that goes on about me, so if you're uninterested- you can just skip right over it! Just so you know part of the road I took to get here, let me give you a "little" window into some of my prior work history. They were all great experiences that taught me so much, and I'm so grateful to have had these opportunities. I learned what I was good at, which environments were healthy environments for me, and which environments I needed to avoid like the plague!

From age 10 til now, I have been a nanny for all kinds of families, at one point I had 12 regular families. I loved most of my time as a nanny with some amazingly incredible kids while sometimes, I had to carry home a runaway 7 year old while he was still riding his bike. You must have incredible strength if you want to be a care provider- especially one of boys! I was a gardener, spent time working at a marina where I did everything from cleaning the bath-houses, restocking spider filled soda machines, cleaning and painting boats to customer service. I was given the opportunity to work for a law firm in short sales, and at a bank in their ATM department. I interned at that same bank beforehand, and was given the adventure of traveling to their hundreds of ATMS in the tristate area to make sure they were ADA compliant. By the end of it, I had so many stories to share of the areas no one should ever visit alone to fiddle with an ATM, at least not without back up!

I've had the pleasure of working for a caterer, and a florist; where I learned almost every name for a flower (well maybe not that many, but TONS! Brittany and Amber so have me so beat!) I earned the nickname, 'Hulk" because I lifted lots of heavy things, took loads of giant flower boxes to the dump in a big truck, and climbed to new heights inside the flower cooler shelves. My favorite part was when I got to design the chalk menus, or go out on a delivery route. That was always a fun adventure! Hit me up sometime, and I'll tell you about that time I almost delivered a dozen roses to the men's homeless shelter, or was attacked by a flock of rogue chickens (my actual personal nightmare)! I worked as a housekeeper for a retreat center, a teacher for a before and afterschool care program. Before launching Rebekah Elly Photography, I was working as a Human Resources Coordinator at a University. I love the relationships and opportunities that I was able to have in these roles. Some of these jobs, I've held at the same time; and at one point in my life, I was planning a wedding, going to 5 hour night classes for my master's degree, and working two jobs. All that to say, I know a little something about the hustle game. The question is, Why? For some reason, I felt the need to just go full speed ahead. Like I had to collect the most accomplishments and experiences so that I could be...... "successful?" Most impressive? I'm not actually sure to be honest. Still, to this day.

Looking back, I wouldn't trade a thing! Each unique experience has shaped me into who I am today, and as cliche as that sounds, I wouldn't love where I am as much if I hadn't experienced all that. Having had so much exposure to the "hustle," I can say with experience that it's over-rated. It's true, no matter what you achieve, there's always some level of emptiness if you don't have connection, relationship, and joy in your life too.

Through it all, I can attest to the detriment that your mind and soul can experience when you let hustling, perfectionism, and achievement run wild. It's the crippler of relationship, the isolating force that keeps you in the grind, and there's no happiness there. Today, I am learning how to be better, how to lay down the idea of perfect, how to be present for my kids, for my friends, and in my marriage. I'm working hard still, but at building connection in my work, finding joy in what I'm doing, and with whom I'm choosing to spend time.

Here's the deal. Working hard is good, when you know what you are working towards. Define your success, and make goals around that. And know, that sacrificing isn't the same thing as hustling. There are only 24 hours in a day. Sleep, connection, and joy should most likely be a part of those hours. Hustling doesn't magically grant you more time, and living life frazzled does absolutely nothing to benefit anyone. So while achievement isn't a bad thing on it's own, and we should all be working towards our goals (realistic ones!); when it comes to hustling for the sake of the hustle- I'm over it!

For Funsies- I'm going to leave this right here... I've done a complete 360! Started out taking pictures of Annie (back when the flared jeans were "in" before), did a ton of other stuff, and now, I am still taking pictures of Annie!

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