For months, I felt like I was constantly writing, working on my online endeavors. I wanted to write, find others in the community to connect with, and sink my teeth into some work.

For a long time, I felt like I was doing things without much feedback or response — I was on my own little island of solitude. It was a bit disheartening, but I kept going. I enjoy blogging with or without the opportunities it presents.

Then in a sudden twist of fate, it seemed like people were knocking on my door with opportunities. Not only my door, but my window, too. Seemingly all at the same time. One thing led to another, and I found myself scared and excited to enter new territory.

As I adjust to full-time work while juggling freelance work, I can now reflect on the many ways I was unprepared for all of this. Recently, I’ve felt like I was scrambling to get things done, update materials, etc.

I realize that as I was plugging away, just hoping for an opportunity, I pushed a lot aside because I deemed it unnecessary at the time. I thought, “I’ll update to a professional design when it’s time. Bio? No one cares about reading mine! Resume? Haha, you know I’m a blogger, right?”

All of these things sort of bit me in the ass. I now realize doing these things when it’s “the right time” is too freaking late!

When you are working towards something, and you can’t quite see what it is, but you know where you want to go, be ready for it. Just because you can’t see it coming, doesn’t mean it’s not right around the corner. You don’t want to miss an opportunity because you weren’t ready, or scramble to make something happen that ultimately comes off as being half-assed.

Embrace your greatness, and cultivate your dreams. Let your imagination run wild with possibilities, and know that sometimes reality can be sweeter than dreams, and better than anything you could have imagined.

All this to say, there will be some changes around here to make it look spiffier. I will continue to try to be the best version of myself, while still being brutally honest about the struggles of debt repayment and juggling multiple jobs.

It’s an interesting time for all this to happen – it’s been 3 years since I graduated from NYU with my master’s in Performance Studies. I know, it’s kind of a joke. You can laugh (while I’m dying on the inside).

The road from graduation to present has been paved with tumultuous experiences. I went from working in my field in NYC, but missing my love, to moving across the country, unable to find a job and saddled with student loan debt to be with him. As a workaholic, and as someone who paid for the privilege of going to one of the best schools, I felt worthless not having a job. It took me 1.5 years to find a full-time job in Portland, which forced me to get food stamps. It’s dawned on me that this city is really not for traditional employment, something that I resented when I didn’t have a clue about how to work for myself.

With all the negativity that surrounded the few years after graduation, things started to shift in the past year. I got a full-time job that challenges me and has given me the ability to learn amazing new skills. I officially launched Dear Debt and the Dear Debt letter project. I have friends online and in real life that support me, and an amazing partner who helps me keep it together.

Anniversaries are always nostalgic for me, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how different my life was 3 years ago. I was talking to my partner when a pang of doubt hit about my current situation.

What if I was supposed to work in the arts? My life used to be so much easier before grad school. Am I a fake? A phony? Do I know what I’m doing? I can’t believe I’m a personal finance writer!

He’s a very wise man and told me, “there is no ‘supposed to’. You’re not supposed to be anything, nor should you do anything. Do what you love, and go after the opportunities in front of you.”

He’s absolutely right. I am who I am, and I guess I am dealing with my own fractured feelings of who I am as a professional. Teaching Artist/Coordinator/Personal Finance Writer/Brand Ambassador/Events Assistant?

Instead of feeling divided about my various interests, passions, and money-making endeavors, I should be proud that I have such diverse interests that allow me to do so many things. I shouldn’t regret past decisions, because what does regret do? A whole lot of nothing. You can’t change what happened in the past. The bitter residue of regret might linger with you for a while, but all you can do is accept it, learn from it, and move on. Make it part of your story.

Because even though sometimes I feel like I do regret going to grad school, I know I wouldn’t have my blog if I never left L.A., and never went to grad school. I would have never experienced NYC or moved to Portland.

It’s all part of the adventure. So accept it, and be ready for the next chapter.


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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36 responses to “The Importance of Being Ready”

  1. debt debs says:

    Don’t beat yourself up about coulda, shoulda, woulda. Seems like with a little faith in fate, combined with some elbow grease things are working themselves out. Continued success in opportunities and whatever crosses your path! 😀
    debt debs recently posted…Worth it Wednesday ~ Dear Debt LetterMy Profile

  2. Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    Your partner is definitely wise! I am in your camp too about opportunities and trying to manage it all. It is exciting and exhausting at the same time. I love that we never know where life is going to lead us to next, it’s part of the journey. And you can’t regret any part of it because each step of the way prepares you for something down the road, we are just not always privy to what that down the road might be.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…This is Why I BlogMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Exactly! You never really know what is coming next. It’s both exciting and scary. But I think none of this would have happened without me making that first decision to go to grad school. It’s been a journey, but not all bad for sure. I get to meet people like you! 🙂
      deardebt recently posted…The Importance of Being ReadyMy Profile

  3. I stopped identifying myself as multiple things and finally just call myself an entrepreneur. 🙂 One word. boom. I’m so impressed with how far you’ve come since I’ve known you. Can’t wait to see the changes in store for this site!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…What is Your Financial Vice?My Profile

  4. E.M. says:

    I’m glad everything is falling into place for you! There’s usually a reason as to why things happen, even if we can’t see it at the time. I have similar plans as you do in regards to the blog. Time to take things to the next level!
    E.M. recently posted…Apartment Tour!My Profile

  5. Michelle says:

    I graduated with a music degree and it has been insanely hard for me to reconcile not being a musician with what my real profession is (college admissions advisor), and now what I want it to be (freelance, education writer).

    There’s too much there! But I think what matters is what you think you are. You can be an artist one day and an events manager later. It’s your life! Be who you want to be and not what your paychecks say!
    Michelle recently posted…Learning How to Love Employment AgainMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      I have similar feelings about my degree. I feel regret that I’m not working in that field currently, but I was before. I have many complicated feelings. You are so right that we can be whatever we want to be and we shouldn’t confine ourselves in labels. I’m so inspired by your progress!

  6. Leigh says:

    I totally get it. I graduated 4 years ago with a master’s in Biochemistry, then moved cities two years ago and it took forever to find a job. I applied for over 200 positions in my field in 6 months, got 3 interviews and luckily one offer. For 30% less pay than I was making at the job I had before. Did I mention I had a newborn when I moved cities? And I know the super awful feeling of using food stamps – but I had to get healthy food for the wee one. I get down too – I feel like I should be able to do more, be more. Have a job that actually pays down that student loan. I am both very thankful for my education, and feel like I may have made a huge mistake.

    But… I think it’s better to listen to the wise words of your partner. And start opening my eyes to the opportunities! 🙂

    • deardebt says:

      Ugh, I’ve been there. Yikes, I can’t imagine moving with a newborn! Although it’s not great being on food stamps, it’s a resource when you need it. I feel the same way as you do — some days I feel happy with my decision to go to school, while other days I feel completely remorseful about it. But we have to move on, try new things, and keep growing.

      • Leigh says:

        I think I’ll feel much better about my decision to go to school – it has made me who I am even though I don’t have the job security I thought I would – once all those loans are paid back! 😛 Which I’m hoping will be done within 3-4 years. So I guess that’s my current chapter – closing the door on debt, while opening windows of opportunity. 🙂

        Keep on keeping on! I love your positive outlook.

  7. This is especially true for young people who have very little experience in the working world. It’s hard to know where to go or what to do, but being constantly open to new ideas is what life is about. Your partner is definitely a wise one.
    Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life recently posted…What Do You Work For?My Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Being open is key! You don’t know where your next step might lead. A hobby might turn into a career. A passion into a side-hustle. Every time you try something new you are creating the possibility for opportunity to thrive.

  8. Lauren says:

    Great post! I feel like I needed to read this today. I’ve been meaning to put together a resume for awhile and update my LinkedIn profile, among other things. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed that I push everything to the back burner.
    Good luck with all of the exciting opportunities coming your way!
    Lauren recently posted…Weekly Wrap-Up #14- Technical DifficultiesMy Profile

  9. You are so right! It’s important to be prepared when the time comes. I am working on this myself. I just took the plunge and switched to self-hosted yesterday. I have a lot of work ahead of me and I’ll probably never be fully satisfied with my blog, or my life in general, but I can’t just keep waiting for the “right time” anymore.
    Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Thing Thursday 5/15/2014My Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Congrats on being self-hosted. I think you will enjoy it much more. A blog is like art — it’s never finished, and always a work in progress. You won’t entirely be satisfied, but will enjoy working on it.

  10. Oh man, I really resonate with the last part of your post. I don’t have a partner, but my therapist informs me that nobody has a 30-year plan that they actually execute; you do the thing that’s in front of you, and that leads to other things. I think she’s probably right. 🙂

    Congratulations on the opportunities — and on taking them when they appeared.
    Cecilia@thesingledollar recently posted…ugh life is expensiveMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      She is right! I’ve been in therapy on and off for years, struggling with my own issues. I think it’s best to look forward and keep going with whatever life brings.

  11. Peter says:

    This is a struggle all bloggers must go through. Only way to embrace life is to have faith that everything in life happens for a reason. Like all the ingredients that goes into making a perfect dish. Everything plays apart.
    Peter recently posted…BLOG YOUR WAY TO A SECOND INCOMEMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      It’s so weird and interesting. I could have never expected this. This wasn’t in “the plans.” But it’s created more opportunities, happiness, and friendship for me!

  12. I’m so glad the flow of life went very well for you. You had a wise partner too. I’m so sure this site will grow even more successful.

  13. Sometimes life makes strange turns. You have to go with it, and assume that is what would work out the best.

    After all, if you stayed with the arts, always looking for the big break, you may just be a restaurant server for the rest of your life…
    No Nonsense Landlord recently posted…Comment on Renter Horror Story – Bernard the Strangler  by No Nonsense LandlordMy Profile

    • deardebt says:

      Life can be very strange indeed. I think the unexpected aspect of going in a new direction can be exciting and scary — just continue to learn and hope for the best.

  14. Melanie, you’re doing awesome!!! It’s blatantly obvious that you are gifted as a writer, so, as your guy said, go after the opportunities that are in front of you. You’re happy, (albeit busy) making a difference in the world, and that’s what matters!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Hitting Rock Bottom: A New Blogger’s StoryMy Profile

  15. Girl, I’m a Tisch grad, BFA in Drama. We can laugh about our money together 🙂
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…I Did What?! Stupid Money Mistakes from Yours Truly…My Profile

  16. Kassandra says:

    “Embrace your greatness, and cultivate your dreams.” I love this and also when you said to Be ready for it. Sometimes good things do take time to come to fruition and I’m glad that you’re beginning to feel the turn of the tide in your favour.
    Kassandra recently posted…Blogging and BalanceMy Profile

  17. I love what the wise man said. So from here on, it is “carpe diem” for me. I will seize each day and will make sure to be ready for it. So love this post and grateful that you shared it.
    Jen @Sprout Wealth recently posted…How to Turn Your Business Idea Into RealityMy Profile

  18. So excited for you! Hard work pays off! I remember no one but my mom read my blog for like two years and then BAM big change what seemed like overnight. When it’s time it’s time – You’re doing awesome!

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Cat! That means a lot coming from you. You are a rockstar! It’s inspiring to hear your story. You give the rest of us hope. 🙂

  19. I know you are right, it’s important to be ready for things, but it’s also really difficult to be ready for all of the possibilities! “You’re not supposed to do anything” <— YES! I always struggle with feeling like I'm supposed to be doing this, or that. I am constantly thinking "wasn't I supposed to be HERE by now?" It's just not a good attitude to have.
    Daisy @ Add Vodka recently posted…Tired of Buying TiresMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah that whole “supposed to” thing just brings me down. I think I should be in a certain place with my life or career, but things have been up and down and REALLY INTERESTING. And I should accept that is just fine and be open to new opportunities.

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