Holy hell. Twenty five. This is my 10th annual birthday post. TEN.
That seems to be the big realization of my life lately: things aren’t being counted so much in years as in decades. My best friend and I have been friends for TWO decades now. I started high school a decade ago, which is when I met one of my other closest friends. Everything is in decades. 2.5 of them so far.
I was just reading my 24th birthday post as a point of reference and it’s really crazy to think back on how much has changed since I wrote it.
For starters, I moved from San Francisco to Brooklyn. I left Flickr behind for Etsy. It was a really tough decision but one I am still SO happy I made. I LOVE living back on the east coast. It’s brought me closer to all of my friends and family and I’m just enjoying life so much more here. It’s odd because I never even considered New York as a place to move after college. It was San Francisco all the way. I think living there for those 18 months really pointed out to me how much of a New Yorker I really am (…despite growing up in NJ).
Work-wise I’ve really enjoyed working at Etsy. I’ve learned a LOT - especially (and somewhat strangely considering I’m a Product Manager and not a developer) on the technical side of things. Actually to be completely truthful, I think I’ve learned the most in the non-web-related areas: things like letterpress, crochet, screenprinting, and even a bit about merchandising, internationalization, and putting on amazing events - just by sitting near some incredibly talented and smart people.
Then there’s Accompl.sh which has been my sidekick for the last few years but which has really come to serve as the place I go to experiment and learn, to continue to grow my development skills, and just generally try to MAKE SOMETHING. I love nothing more than making things - especially things that other people use, enjoy, and gain some value from. Accompl.sh has let me have a hand in helping people achieve nearly 30,000 of their goals and this is still only just the beginning. It’s something I think I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life.
My personal life has changed pretty dramatically since I moved back East. In addition to being closer to family and being able to develop relationships where I didn’t quite have them before, I’ve also been able to collect a group of friends who are much closer to me in age and in interests. Not that I didn’t love my San Francisco friends - I wouldn’t trade them for anything - but there’s something about being able to grab dinner with someone your own age who’s going through similar things that’s just incredibly inspiring/ comforting/ fun/ invaluable all at the same time. Being so close to where I grew up means I get to catch up with Erin (my best friend of 20 years now), my amazing friends from grammar school and high school, and, to top it off, friends from college and even SF who’ve settled in the New York area. For once in my life I’m generally out after work more times each week than I’m home. And it’s amazing. (Well, save for Tuesday nights. It’s basically guaranteed that I’m at home watching Glee on a Tuesday night. Everything stops for Glee).
Earlier, I was thinking back on this day last year and while I can definitively say that this year wasn’t even REMOTELY as trying as the year leading up to my 24th birthday (I distinctly remember locking myself in the bathroom at work and bawling my eyes out on my birthday. It was a rough day). This year definitely started out a bit rocky. We had to put Buddy down soon after I moved back which left me a bit out of sorts for a while. Luckily I had Penny to keep me company and to soften the blow. She’s inherited a lot of his favorite toys. It’s still a bit strange to see them lying around my house. And to go back to my mom’s when he’s not there.
Adventure-wise, I do have to admit that this year was pretty lacking in the traditional sense, unless you consider the whole packing up and moving back across the country to start a new job in the middle of a few blizzards an adventure. I took my first ever real vacation, got to go back to SXSW, and got to head back to Cornell for another career fair and some Ithaca adventures (which, of course, involve apple cider donuts). I also finally got to try skiing for the first time (thanks to an Etsy offsite (Etski.. of course)), got to see Wicked for the first time (which I’ve wanted to see since I was in high school), filed for my first LLC (for Accompl.sh), and I chopped off and donated 11” of hair. I suppose those could be considered adventures.
On the whole though, this year has been almost entirely positive. New city, new friends, reigniting relationships with old friends, new job, new outlook on life in general. It’s all somehow managed to magically work out. The icing on the cake is that recently I’ve started to feel like a “New Yorker” - a local. Someone who doesn’t need subway maps, who has favorite places to go hang out with friends, and who thinks taking a subway for anything under a 15-20 block walk is a bit ridiculous unless there’s some seriously crazy weather outside. And even then you should just suck it up and realize you’re a moron for not bringing an umbrella. I always thought that this lifestyle wasn’t really for me, but I really do love it!
The question I’ve been asking a lot lately is where do I see myself in a year (and 5 years and 10 years) and to be honest: I HAVE NO IDEA. I have a couple of ideas of what would comprise happiness and a sense of success in the next year or two, but a big “plan” for the next bit of my life? No clue.
I know that this year laid the foundation for a lot of what I’d like to do in the future. If I were a sports team it would have been considered a rebuilding year. I feel like I’m now starting to hit my stride as a “grown up” and I hope that will continue next year.
So, now for the requisite aspirational predictions for what I’d like to see in my 26th birthday post:
- I hope I’ll either be working at a very small startup (as one of the first 5 people), have started to work on Accompl.sh full time, or have made some serious career progress at Etsy.
- I hope I’ll have found a neighborhood that I’d like to call “home” for the longer term.
- I hope I’ll have found a really great guy who doesn’t mind that I’m slightly nerdy, accepts my obsession with Glee, and thinks my friends are awesome.
- I hope I’ll have had some sort of travel adventure - preferably outside of the US, but anywhere new would do.
Mostly, I hope I’m as happy with how things have unfolded as I am now. Maybe even more. I really couldn’t have asked for much more this year. Things happened and they were all in a generally positive and forward direction. Nothing OUTSTANDING really happened - no trips to Europe, college graduations, births, deaths, etc, but it’d be crazy to expect that out of every single year.
This year got me back on track. It’s exactly what I needed. Now I’m ready to leave it behind and start making more directed moves forward. Twenty-four was the opening act for 25. Now it’s 25’s time to take the ball and run. Here we go!