Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Plan B

I think it's a little vogue these days to be that girl that never had weddings on her mind. To be so caught up in playing sports or building a career that when Mr. Perfect comes along you're all like "Oh a wedding? I have no idea where to start."

It may not be cool, but that is so not me. I love weddings. Growing up my favorite board game was one called Perfect Wedding in which a series of dice rolls helped you collect the eight most crucial components of your wedding, grab your man and make it down the aisle before all the other brides, all on a budget. It was the.best.game.ever. Every year my mom would get me the biggest Bridal magazine for my stocking and Shannon and I would spend hours clipping out dresses and bouquets and rings.

By the time I graduated college, I was on track to my Perfect Wedding. I had the boy and the wedding binder and the 1 year plan to get engaged and married, most like everyone in my small-ish town. I would have four kids by the time I was 30. Plan A was locked and loaded. 

In the summer of 2007, my perfect plan came to a devastating halt when my would-be groom became a non-participant in my game of life. And after a few months (ok, it was more like a year) I realized that I needed a plan B.
boy, girl, and love image

I see many girls these days reaching that final year of high school or college and seemingly just waiting. I am completely sympathetic with someone's heart's desire being to get married and have babies (it was mine too!). But after finding my 23-year-old-self living at home with a job just to get by, zero interests, zero hobbies and zero friends I didn't have a direct blood line to, I realized it is essential to have a Plan B....and finding that became my new Perfect Passion. 

This is not meant to be a feminist post about how you don't need a man in your life. It's meant to be a reality statement that while you're waiting for certain heart's desires, you should be investing in yourself and what makes you "you." 

Andy Stanley wrote a whole series last year on becoming the person you're looking for, is looking for. 

I doubt you're looking for a man who lacks passion and interests, ambition and genuine relationships just as much as I doubt a man is looking for that type of girl. Be the girl who knows who she is through and through. Who has friendships and hobbies all her own, and isn't waiting on someone to define those for her. 

So what was my Plan B you may ask? 

I had three things in mind #1 A new job in a new city #2 Friends #3 A hobby. I randomly said yes one day to a birthday party invite of a girl who was the ex girlfriend of my ex (talk about 6 degrees of separation.). I knew no one but the birthday girl and the party was two hours from home. But I went.  It was through that party that I met one of my very best friends who happened to live in the same town as me. (Check #2.) 

Me and Kristin....adore this girl to this day!

Both Kristin and I were looking for new jobs together and over the next three years I interviewed everywhere from Florida to North Carolina and back. In 2011 (yes that would be 4 years later...Plan B can take some time and patience people) I landed my current job in Atlanta (Check #1). 
coffee and photo image

And somewhere in between all that I just started running. I mean I hate to be all Forest Gump but I literally one day did just start running....which led to 5Ks and 10Ks and eventually half marathons...in which I collected so many friends along the way. Most of my friends in Atlanta I met running the streets of Atlanta. I just showed up at the ungodly hour of 5am to run in the freezing cold. And let me tell you, you really get to know the heart of people when you're trying to make the miles pass. I also started to write....Oh Hey Run With Me! Remember when you were born?! (Check #3)
forrest gump, movie, and running image

So today, I am Ashley...a Pure Barre Instructor, fitness enthusiast, friend, data marketer who loves her job, discovered she likes to travel and write, is still terrible at cooking but tries, is still working every day on items 1-3 and is a billion times stronger person than she was at 23.

I know it may seem like I just checked all my boxes and tied this life story up in a nice little bow. But honestly, Plan B is still a work in progress.....and in between here and now were a LOT of tears hard work and waiting. And some of those heart's desires are still just that...but in the meantime, I'll work to be the best version of myself.  

 I hope we see a generation of girls who are so fiercely themselves with plans and goals and dreams unique to who they are. 

XO, Carrie Bradshaw A


Unknown said...

Love this post! ❤️ - Rina

Michaela said...

Ah, I loved this! I love seeing your Plan B come to life!! xoxox

P!nky said...

I love you! I love this post! I love plan B and I love that you shared your heart! <3

Sarah said...

Absolutely loved this post Ashley! So, so true..it's very easy to get caught up in the "timeline" of marriage, kids, house..etc. Sometimes it pays off to go at your own speed and choose your own path! Thanks for sharing this, love hearing how you've worked hard and "checked" things off your list! xo

sburton1130 said...

Ashley I love this! I've come to realize so many of these things in the past couple of years. You laid it out so perfectly. It's always exciting when the plan starts to work out! Even if it takes wayyy longer than we would have liked :)

Cat Simmonds said...

Great content, I'm all about facing reality and making goals for yourself. I'm certain that you will continue to check off items from your lists in life as you get older, but patience and faith are all you need. I always said "good things come to those who wait, but even better things come to those who wait even longer"!

Ele said...

Needed to read this today! Thank you Ashley x you're brilliant x

The Pink Growl said...

I could not love this post more. I totally had to develop a plan B too after life didn't go my way for Plan A. It's both devastating and somehow uplifting to rebuild yourself after a mighty fall. I love your sweet little heart and your Plan B! :)