I found myself reading through old posts on forever-digital this evening. With 2012 just about 24 hours away I’ve been feeling kind of… adrift. I thought I’d go back and read some of what I’ve written in the past to see if it helps me uncover some sort of forgotten dream or direction.
It’s weird. Having taken myself off the standard path to work on my own stuff, I’m finding that as time passes I’m getting more and more confused about what it is I should be doing with my life. I realized this a few weeks ago, but now that I’m sitting down to write my 101in365 for 2012, I’m starting to see that so much of my life is just up in the air at the moment: I’m technically unemployed (considering Accompl.sh doesn’t provide me with any real income at the moment, so I’m living off of my savings), my lease is up at the end of January so I’m starting to look for a new place, and I generally have NO IDEA where I’m going to be in the next 2-3 months let alone 10-12 months from now!
I’ve been trying to figure out where I’d like to be this time next year, hoping that it would give me some sort of direction, but all it’s really revealed is that I’m completely out of sorts. I’ve pondered the idea of selling everything and traveling for a bit. I’ve pondered the idea of applying for grad school (especially now that Cornell got the NYC tech campus). I’ve pondered the idea of buying a farm in the middle of nowhere, working completely remotely and growing vegetables. And, of course, I’ve pondered the possibility of getting a job again. But that’s a whole other level of confusion.
So this got me into looking back at my 20- and 21-year-old self to try to get an idea of what she wanted and to see if I’ve somehow strayed from that. While digging through the archives I found a line that piqued my interest:
I really loved being involved in the production of anything – books, websites, music, videos, newspapers, you name it. I like to see how all of the pieces fit together and spend more time watching “behind the scenes” bits from movies than I do the actual movies. I’d love to have a production company some day that lets me dabble in a little of everything. - 25 things, Feb 2009
And it’s totally still true. It’s why I enjoyed Product Management so much - it was more of a production role. It got me thinking that maybe it’s not that I don’t like being a PM anymore, but that maybe I should look into producing something else - something besides a website? Anyway… it’s just a thought that I’ll have to stew on. Thanks, 22-year-old Jenn, for the reminder.
Direction is something I’m really struggling with lately. So I’m going to try Reflection and hope that it gives me some sort of Direction or inspiration at the very least. I found this in my forever-digital archives from the end of 2008 and figured I’d give it a try to see what’s changed 4 years later: (edited out a few questions that don’t really apply to my mission here, but here are my original responses from 2008 for reference)
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? A few different things: Moved to NY, quit my job, went skiing for the first time.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Ha! Well I don’t make resolutions so much as goals, but yes, I kept to them. I actually did better on this year’s goals than I have any previous year. So yay! I’ll obviously be making another list of goals for this year… hence this post.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No humans, thankfully. We did have to have Buddy put down in January, though.
5. What countries did you visit? I’m kind of upset about not completing this goal. I didn’t travel outside of the US this year. Boo.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? Strangely my response is exactly the same as it was in 2008: love, travel, new experiences.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? There actually weren’t many specific dates that stand out for this year. A few that stand out (after looking through my flickr stream) 01.10 – my first day at Etsy. 07.04 – fourth of july in a cabin in maine. sparklers, bbq, relaxation. 10.18 – erin and I went to see Hanson in concert. (yes, seriously.) 10.26 – my last day at Etsy.
Everything else just sort of melds together!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Hmm… I’d say maybe 2 things: 1) launching Etsy Shopping pages (which continue to be awesome) and 2) getting up the guts to do what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. (Even if it has created all of this confusion about things!)
9. What was your biggest failure? I’d say missing a few close friends’ weddings, not reaching my fitness goals, not traveling anywhere.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I had pneumonia which kicked my butt for over 2 weeks in December. Still getting over it, but that was pretty un-fun.
11. What was the best thing you bought? I actually had a very specific goal about valuing experiences over material things this year. I can’t think of anything un-necessary that I bought this year…
14. Where did most of your money go? Mostly the same as 2008: living expenses. Add in college loans and accompl.sh stuff this year too.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I was really excited about getting to work at Etsy. I was still excited when I left. I also got really excited about working on my own stuff. I’m still pretty excited now, but also slightly stressed over it!
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? Happier, definitely. b) thinner or fatter? Thinner. c) richer or poorer? richer, but if I keep things up at the current pace that probably won’t be true for much longer!
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Traveling. Spending time with friends. Taking photos.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying, stressing, eating, and more worrying.
20. How did you spend Christmas? At my moms. With pneumonia.
21. Did you fall in love in 2011? I thought I did for a little while. But no.
22. What was your favorite TV program? Glee. Hands down. (How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory are also in the running, but not nearly as high on the list as Glee).
24. What was the best book you read? I technically finished Tuesdays With Morrie on new years eve last year, but it was a fantastic book. I bawled at the end. I also really liked The Help.
26. What did you want and get? Freedom from “the grind.” New friends. A better relationship with family members.
27. What did you want and not get? Clarity.
28. What was your favorite film of this year? Water for Elephants. I actually haven’t seen many of the movies that came out this year. I’ll have to wait for them to come on Netflix.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 25. It was during Yom Kippur so a good number of my friends were out of town / fasting. Got to hang out with a bunch of friends at various places on the Lower East Side. Good night overall!
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Traveling. Making more progress with Accompl.sh than I did. Spending more time with friends.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? “Growing out of geek”? I rarely wore startup t-shirts. My work wardrobe was actually pretty similar to what I’ve worn in the past, but I’ve gotten better at not looking like a web nerd when I go out.
32. What kept you sane? Different things at different times. Accompl.sh sometimes. 750 words occasionally. Friends at other times.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Happiness isn’t about things. It’s about creating the circumstances that help you do what you love. Happiness follows.