Six months ago today, I walked out of my office building for the last time. I remember thinking that I should have been carrying so. much. stuff, but I’d managed to condense the whole of my five years in corporate life into one tote bag. It was the middle of the day, so the subway felt pretty empty compared to my usual commute back to Brooklyn. For once, I wished there were more people with me on the train. Sitting there on my own, none of it felt real. Instead, I sat there on the subway bench, literally not knowing what to do with my hands, smiling like an idiot at no one but myself.

When I got back to Brooklyn, I took myself out for the most Sex and the City-style lunch I could imagine — french fries and rosé at an outdoor café around the corner from our apartment.

To mark the half birthday of this new little life of mine, I made myself a batch of gluten-free brownies at lunchtime today. As I still do so often these days, I had a moment while I was sneaking a taste of the batter where I couldn’t quite believe where I’ve landed: in this weird, amazing place where I get to live in a cross-section of an immensely rewarding and challenging career and a personal life that I never quite imagined.

Instead of one of my usual, more in-depth monthly recaps (you can check out the five-month recap here), I’ve decided to keep my thoughts today a bit simpler. Half a year of going “all in on myself” (as a wise self-employed friend called it last summer when I reached out to her for advice) is worth celebrating.

I’ve sacrificed manicures and free weekends, but I’ve gained the freedom to take a walk in the middle of the day if I need a break.

I’ve learned how intensely personal it feels to have my work rejected, but I’ve also felt the satisfaction of finding success based entirely on my own hustle.

I’ve decided how little it matters for other people to “understand” what I’m doing, because I’ve gained in the past six months a quiet confidence that I’ve never had.

I’ve left behind what feels traditional, but am working hard doing what feels natural and meaningful and difficult to me… which is what (I think) work should be.

I’m humbled, proud, tired, happy, and grateful. I’m excited to see what the second half of this first year will bring, and all the other halves of all the other years ahead : )

Cheers to brownies and bold moves!