Maddie’s Mess

As we celebrate the New Year, the first week of 2023, I want to be honest with you. I decided to take some time and reflect. Everyone has a story. Each different, each important. This is just a part of mine. 

Plan B 

This is the one I failed to make. 

I’m an OCD, blonde headed five-foot female who had her life all mapped out. I mean all mapped out – what school I’d go to, what degree I’d get, what extracurriculars I’d do, the job I’d land, the handsome guy I’d fall in love with and the company I’d, eventually, work for.

Unfortunately, I never thought I would need a plan B. 

I didn’t have one. There was no room for error. My outline for life, my professional path had to work out. I mean –  why wouldn’t it? 

Well, here I am – sitting in my room at my parent’s house. My plan failed. I did everything “right”, and it still didn’t work out the way I wanted it to – or it hasn’t YET. 

I don’t have a full-time job. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I don’t know how to figure things out. Anyone else? 

Continue reading, and join me as I share my journey with all of you. 

My journey back to my parents house. No, but really, join me as I open up about the REALITY of life. The reality of always doing everything right, and feeling like you must have done something wrong. 

The reality is that things don’t always go your way. 

Welcome to my world – the world of a 23-year-old rule follower who wishes she could go back and break a few rules. 

Where It All Began 

Four American Girl Dolls were lounging in my bedroom sitting next to the 50 Webkinz I had. My mom hollered, “Lunch is ready girls.” My childhood best friend, who just so happens to still be my best friend, and I ran downstairs to find Mickey Mouse plates filled with mac-n-cheese, fruit and chocolate chip cookies, of course. 

Side note: I love chocolate chip cookies and, basically, any type of dessert. 

After lunch, we ran upstairs to dress up our dolls and walk their play dogs and cats around my room.

No, I didn’t grow up rich, but I did grow up with a loving family that gave me everything I needed and everything I wanted – and more. 

Not once did I worry about food on the table or having a jacket to put on when it’s cold outside. For that- I am extremely lucky and blessed. I am grateful. 

I was raised in a family that taught me hard work can take you anywhere in life. I was told I could do whatever I wanted. I could be whatever I wanted. 

There was a time when I thought I’d be a teacher. 

This lasted a while. I took over a room in the house, and it became my classroom. There was a giant dry-erase board on the wall, a desk – duh, a table and chairs for my dad and grandpa, who became my students. 

There was a time I thought I’d be a Hollywood Actress. 

There was a time I thought I’d be a bestselling author. I guess this is my attempt at that. 

A Dream 

And then there was the time I thought I’d be the next Erin Andrews. I would be a sports reporter on ESPN. This is the dream that stuck. This is the dream that turned into my plan for life. The dream that began to consume me. 

I had always loved being in front of the camera. Whenever my grandpa was in town – we call him GPAW – I’d always ask for him to record me. Whether it be dancing, rambling on about something or singing, I was comfortable in front of that camcorder. (Are camcorders even a thing anymore? I’m aging myself.)

I knew I wanted to become a sports reporter since, roughly, elementary school. So, I started working toward that goal. Immediately. 

GPAW helped me make mock sports reporting videos to send off to ESPN, to let them know I was coming. I was fortunate enough to receive a phone call from College GameDay’s Lee Corso. That phone call made me believe anything was possible.

As doubts begin to creep in, I try to remind myself of how I felt after talking to Lee Corso – the feeling that I could do anything, the feeling that anything was possible. 

This industry is tough, so is finding your place in life. 

In high school I started It began as a sports blog and, now, is a portfolio on steroids. I still keep up with it regularly. Also, in high school, I encouraged my school to start a morning news show, where I became the sports girl, the sports anchor. Boy, was I proud of this. 

I worked my booty off in high school. I was the teacher’s pet, the rule follower, the one in bed by 9 p.m. I studied, and studied and studied. I was a straight A student. Not because my parents wanted me to be. They didn’t even expect it. But because I thought I needed to be.

I thought if I was perfect, if I made the grades, if I did everything right, then I’d get accepted into my dream school, the University of Florida. I did. I got in. It worked. My hard work paid off. 

I thought if I did everything right at UF, then I’d graduate with a full-time job. Then, I would have my dream job in no time. 

Well, I did things “right.” I graduated with a 3.97… Okay, you got me. I got a B. I got my first ever B in college. It was just one. I’ll let you guess which course it was in. 

Things didn’t work out this time. I graduated in August of 2021 without a full-time job. I did everything right and, now, I’m left feeling like I did something wrong. 

My plan didn’t work. It has been over a year since I graduated college. I’ve done an internship, an unpaid one. I’m juggling freelance gigs and constantly networking/applying for jobs. I don’t have a Plan B.

2022 wasn’t easy. It taught me strength, and it taught me growth. I’m a different person than I was a year ago. 2022 forced me to “trash” my “game plan” for life. I started Trash the Game Plan podcast for this reason. 

I believe in me. I know what I’m capable of. I love storytelling, people and sports. I’m still chasing a dream, but I’m working toward something bigger. Joy and peace. I know I will land where I’m meant to be. 

Until then, I’m going to be me.  I’m going to continue grinding and working hard. But not toward that plan I always had. I am going to let life take me where it wants to. 

—- Happy New Year. Maddie

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