So. What Are You Doing With Your Life?

May 28, 2010

in Personal

I’ve been pretty quiet for the last 3 months or so because I am trying to figure out what is going on with my life. I know, I’m deep with these blog thoughts on a Friday morning, right? The truth is, I often ask one of my best friends what she’s doing with her life because I know she will ask me the same thing. It’s a little game we play because we know we don’t have the answers. Sure, we have our MIT degrees/USC masters degrees (we met in undergrad then I followed her to USC), a career (that we love or hate, depending on the day of the week), money in the bank and a roof over our heads. But it seems like there would be more to life by the time we reached this age. I remember when I was 18, I couldn’t wait to be 28 because 28 was going to be the best time ever. It’s not. It’s…confusing.

It’s not that I am growing tired of new media consulting, but I am feeling less like everything is working together, and that gives me reason to reevaluate what’s really good. Maybe it’s my projects. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I am fatigued. The moves I’ve made in the past all felt right because things happened so effortlessly. Getting started in new media consulting? Came out of thin air, and happened easily for me. Same goes for my work with startups. I used to be afraid to move into the next phase of my career because I grew comfortable with the previous phase. But now? I can’t wait to move into the next phase of my career….if only I knew what that phase is supposed to be. Getting new clients has been a strain, to the point where I imposed a moratorium on actively finding new clients. Instead I am focusing on building out my portfolio/company site, and taking projects that are being directly referred to me.

So, I’ll tell ya what I’m gonna do. I came up with two ideas to shake things up, and hopefully something will shake out and point me in the direction of my next frontier: 1) I am going to take it back to basics and 2) I am going to devise and execute a Before 30 List.

Back to Basics

I came into this game coding and designing in my free time. I wasn’t the best designer ever, but I have a natural eye for design, which has helped me greatly as a consultant. However, I feel like I’ve gone soft. When’s the last time I designed something complex, all by myself, from start to finish? I can’t remember. I was digging through my portfolio the other day and it’s so dated. The most recent thing I have in there is probably from 2007? Sheesh. That’s dog years in Internets time. I am going to be doing more hands on things, to get myself more inspired and to keep my skills sharp.

I am also going to do more coding. That means getting back in the swing of things with CSS/HTML (and really figure out what the heck CSS3 and HTML5 are really about), and learning some advanced PHP/MySQL and Ruby on Rails. I know enough PHP to make my life easier, but not enough to build something on the fly, should I come up with a genius idea. I’m beginning to feel like a lazy coder (hence this very out-of-the-box blog design I have going on here). Also, WordPress has grown leaps and bounds since I last attempted to hack a very customized site, so I am getting back into things by reading WP documentation and my favorite design/code blogs.

The Before 30 List

I am going to be turning 30 in a little over a year. Where did the time go? I’ll tell you what I did during most of my 20s: told myself I couldn’t do XYZ for ABC reasons. So many things from getting healthier, to writing a book, to traveling to another country alone, and everything in between. I know you may think I’m superawesome (obviously), but I doubt myself all the time, and let fear get the best of me more often than it should. I figure I only have my 20s for one more year, I might as well knock out my biggest fears of the last decade so I can say at least I tried. No regrets. And hopefully, this means I’ll enter my 30s with a bang, no? My first project needs to be completed at the end of June, so I hope to be able to check into my blog at the end of next month to report Mission Accomplished!

Some Other Methods on the Hush

Aside from going back to basics and working on my Before 30 List, I have some other things in the works to help jumpstart some enthusiasm into the next phase of life. I took a part-time(ish) position with a startup here in NYC. I’m learning a lot, but hopefully doing a lot as well. I’m also actively working on a few projects and getting them developed and mature. Tres exciting. I don’t think I’ve been using NYC as a resource as much as I could be, so I am working on that too. I have a list of people I want to network/meet up with, events I want to go to and I am beginning to branch out and connect with people in the City.

Other than that, I am trying to address my fears by thinking about them in more concrete ways, so I can eliminate them. This e-book, called fear.less helped put some things in perspective for me. The last story in there by Danielle LaPorte was especially great for entrepreneurs.

So. What are you doing with your life? And how are you planning to get to the next phase?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

oux May 28, 2010 at 11:07 AM

no regrets, lizhini!!!!

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Liz Burr May 28, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Haha. The one thing that has always led me out of most of my fears is my bigger fear of “What If?” LOL. If I know “What If?” will haunt me more than the fear of not going through it, then I generally will overcome the smaller fear. Lesser of two evils has been my strategy.

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Kevin English May 28, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Hey Liz,

Glad to see you giving your readers a window into your hopes and dreams. God knows we ALL go have similar fears, but its good to read that we are not alone.

To answer your question, I’m currently consulting for a music tech company based in Geneva. We are launching US operations later this year and have a need for a few good coders (specifically for Ruby on Rails and API developers). Interested?

The next phase for me is a little cloudy although I’ve been saying yes to everything as of late. I think the next step is to be a bit more selective in the projects I take on (besides the major $ makers) and focus more on me. I have a tendency to please everyone around me at the cost of my own growth. Sound familiar?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Best of luck in whatever you choose to do pre & post 30. [It's not the end of the world you know...I'm 34]

Kev

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Liz Burr May 29, 2010 at 1:06 AM

Saying yes to everything made me so fatigued for quite some time! Then I started to say no (or flaked) to everything and then it all dried up. I’m still looking for the perfect balance in this respect. It’s tough!

Geneva is so far! But sounds interesting. I shall email you.

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EL Johnson May 28, 2010 at 5:56 PM

I feel you 100% i’m at the same point in my career, tired of nickel and dimeing with freelance design work, i have aspirations for so much more, i’m just trying to figure out how to get there. the main setback is capital, its like a never ending cycle at times. But i just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone, just keep pushing toward things that excite you and you’ll soon find your next direction.

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Liz Burr May 29, 2010 at 1:00 AM

Aw thanks for the encouragement! I totally feel you on this. I think cycles are necessary and good but getting to the next one is always a problem for me. I’mma keep my eyes peeled though.

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Chenelle May 29, 2010 at 4:59 AM

This post came just at the right time for me, i’m at a similar point in my life and i like the idea of going back to basics and creating a before 30 list.

Thanks =)

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Liz Burr May 30, 2010 at 2:07 AM

You’re welcome. I am glad my post could help in getting you jumpstarted.

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Matt May 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM

hey, i really liked your post. the calm, honest way you have of declaring your fears and what you have done/are going to do about them is inspiring. and thanks for mentioning our magazine!

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Liz Burr May 30, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Aww thanks for stopping by Matt! I loved Danielle’s piece and I intend on finishing up the rest of those stories too :)

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ishita May 31, 2010 at 5:51 PM

liz – your blog rocks.
i found you cuz i have alerts set for the magazine and i gotta tell you, this post is pretty insightful. matt said it right – your tone is super empowering. keep on keeping on.
thanks for spreading the love for fear.less to your tribe!
ishita

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Liz Burr May 31, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Aw, thanks ishita!

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rae May 31, 2010 at 10:42 PM

hey liz,
you have such great timing:) i’m going through something similar and it’s good to hear another perspective. a year out from graduation i’m trying to move to ny, juggle freelance projects, and build upon my own projects – and while that sounds so simple sometimes i feel all over the place.

but lately i’ve decided to shake things up as well. right now i’m re-defining what my freelance/company services are, building a better portfolio, and also seeking agency work for more experience. we’ll see where the next season of my life will take me.

i was talking with my younger sister earlier about how up until finishing grad school i had always made the things in my life happen out of of sure pure will. from my comp engr dree to landing my first engineering job to moving to hawaii and back, then to grad school. i wanted something to happen in my life and i made it happen.

since graduating i have taken a slight different approach… more lucid/vague goals/things i want and trying to figure out what feels right as the next stage of my life. it’s been an interesting journey so far… but kind of confusing, sporatic, and spur of the moment.

like i said, it’ll be interesting to see what the next season will bring. thanks so much for the share!

-rae
p.s. i’ve been going back and forth between ny, la, and sf… but next time i’m there we should have coffee!!

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Liz Burr May 31, 2010 at 11:43 PM

Yes definitely let me know when you’re in NYC again! I’ll be back in LA in July/Aug for a wedding if I don’t see you here before then!

it’s funny I felt like I was so calculating when it came to undergrad, and even grad school and immediately after grad school. but now? I am less calculating or maybe I’m just thinking, “so…this is It?” LOL. Workin on my strategy though. I know it’s here somewhere!

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marcia June 1, 2010 at 9:22 PM

liz,

i kept “marking as unread” in google reader. my read herring to come back to something and read later.. and i’m sort of glad it took seeing you this weekend and hearing all the twitter talk about your before 30 bucket list to get me clued in and finally read this because it was definitely on the day i needed it.
absolutely inspiring.
thanks dahling.

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AtypicalLibrarian June 24, 2010 at 1:21 PM

I’m really late to the party. I decided to mosey over to your blog after reading today’s VSB post. The title and content of this post really made me stop and think about my life. I (and I’m sure a lot of others) feel exactly like you feel. The section on the before 30 list is me in a nutshell. The only difference is that I turn 30 in 5 months. I’m glad I caught this post (albeit late) and I hope to read the Mission Accomplished post in a few days. If not, a Mission in Progress post will suffice.

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Watoza, now, with GLITTER~! July 28, 2010 at 3:17 PM

My wife and I are both struggling with this. We’re skilled, talented individuals with a gift of gab and have NO idea what the heck to do with it all. A blog like this came at the right time to help us prioritize and remind us that we’re not the only ones in this fix. Well done!! Looking forward to going through more of your blogs.
*throws baby powder into the air ala LBJ*

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