Katie Askew

It’s Okay to Not Be "Normal"

Katie Askew
It’s Okay to Not Be "Normal"

I never thought that, as a 24-year old NYU publishing grad, I would be sitting on an airplane to Europe without a full-time job or really any long-term plan except to move to Monaco and Italy for five months.

Part of me (okay, honestly, like 90 percent of me) feels like I didn’t think this through, and I’m making the biggest mistake of my life. That rational part of my brain is sounding the you’re doing something wrong signal with all of these you should ringing loudly in my ears as I sit in this compact plane seat. I should be sitting in an office at a 9-5 job with my career plan steadily moving along and a 401k growing in the bank. I should be making use of my experience working in the Manhattan publishing industry. I should keep this momentum going. I should be climbing the ladder to an editor-in-chief position

One of my best friends got married last week. Another one of my best friends just started a new career in Los Angeles. Another best friend just graduated with her masters degree. My best friend in Denver is in the midst of getting a raise at work. (I have a lot of really amazing friends, if you can’t tell.) It just seemed like everyone else had it together, while I was laid off on my birthday with about 30 other coworkers from a job I moved halfway across the country for.

It’s one of those things that you don’t ever realize will happen to you until it does.

Fast forward through about four months of frantic freelance writing and editing full-time and pause at my current situation: sitting in seat 34A flying some 30,000 feet above the Atlantic headed to Nice, France. Sometimes your plan isn’t always God’s plan, and that’s good. Sometimes it’s okay to break free from whatever normal should be. Sometimes being able to write about your experiences is more important than writing experience.

But, it wasn’t until I realized I slept through breakfast on the plane and figured my 11-year-old French seat partner wouldn’t mind if I open the window shade just a bit, that I saw the majesty of the French Alps outside my window and decided I made the most incredibly impulsive, fearful, and perfectly amazing choice that’s about to change my life.

So, armed with my one over-stuffed suitcase, one French-English dictionary, and my DSLR camera, I’m about to meet the family I will be an au pair for in  Monte-Carlo, Monaco.