Monday, February 6, 2012

28? Really? Now, What Have I Learned?

In keeping with my resolution to blog more, I figure that with my 28th birthday waiting for me at the end of the week, I should take a look at where I am right now in life.

Professionally, I never really know what I’m going to be doing on any given week. I don’t regret getting a Graphic Design degree in college, because I enjoyed it. But nobody could’ve predicted back in 2006 that it would become such a limited and competitive market. Am I doing much with it now aside from freelance work? No. But it DID open the door to other opportunities, and over the past 6 years I’ve done EVERYTHING. I actually have a hard time narrowing down my resume, because of the sheer number of jobs I’ve held, both temporary and long-term. If I haven’t been blessed with a lucrative, long-term career, at least I’ve been blessed with able mind and body and a good work ethic. My unofficial motto is that if you pay me 10 bucks an hour or better, I’ll do just about anything, right down to scrubbing your toilet. I’ve designed business cards, logos, fliers and album art. I’ve built things, proofread documents, written things, worked in warehouses, made phone calls in call centers, organized file cabinets, prepared food, worked with animals, archived important documents, organized events, shipped packages, mopped floors, and sold various items. With every door that opens, another is around the corner.

Graduate school is still on the table. I love to draw cartoons and have a place in mind to earn a degree in illustration…but I’m still on the fence about it. Will the degree actually help me, or do I just need to find the right opportunity on my own? I have some talent at voice acting, and as soon as I can nail down a few minutes in a studio or with a high quality recording microphone, I’m going to send out a demo to every agent I can find.

You miss every opportunity you don’t take, so they say. I have plenty, and the bottom line is, I just need to try harder at taking advantage of them.

For all the uncertainty career-wise, at least I’ve managed to make things work out well socially. For the first couple years I lived in Austin, I was rarely bored, but often lonely. I didn’t know many people my own age, the people I worked with didn’t really welcome me into their circle, and fresh from a stint in college out of state, most of my best friends lived far away. Many began to get married and start families, and through no fault of their own, grew more and more distant.

But eventually I began to meet new friends, maintain bonds with many from the past, and rekindle some that have surprised me. Facebook has been a big help. Meeting a core group of local friends has helped even more, and has branched out over the past couple of years to include a colorful cast of wonderful characters. The last two summers in Austin were brutally hot, but they managed to bring a great group of friends together through swimming pools, barbecues and beer. There’s rarely a Sunday afternoon now, regardless of weather, when at least a few of us aren’t doing something together. You’d be hard pressed to find a TV reality show with such a diverse group of people, all with wildly different jobs, interests, origins and beliefs…but somehow, it works. For all the complaints everyone makes about how Austin has lost its soul and purpose, it’s only done so on the surface.
So, as I enter my 28th year of life on Friday, I can proudly count my blessings. I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up, but I still have paths to explore. I’ve worked hard, played hard and gathered great friends along the way. Whether they live right down the street and I’ll see them next Sunday, or they live far away and talk with me often online or on the phone until 4AM, or I rarely hear from them unless the Cardinals win the World Series and they call me to gloat about it: I hope they stay on board. This ship’s still sailing.

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