Sunday, September 30, 2012

31: The Last Stand



Well, I'm still close enough to the Twenties to hear the music thumping, though I don't always know what they're talking about. (Case in point: Had to ask some buddies what "cashin' out" meant, since I just know it as what I do when I'm ready to leave the restaurant.)

Thirty-one feels miles away from 30. If I met someone today who was turning 30, I'd probably say "Awww!" as if they were turning five. Weird.

The Clock Is Ticking...



Not the biological clock, folks. (In fact, that clock is still as silent as ever.) The clock that's been clanging loudly as I've rolled into 31 is the Career Clock. Thirty was a big year for career changes -- laid off from a job in marketing, now working in public relations. It's all writing, but oh the differences!

It's my sixth year in the professional game and I need to be strategic about how I go about the next four years. See, in four years, Lord's willing, I'll be 35, which is 10 years in the game. For many industries, at least 10 years of experience is required for obtaining executive-level positions and higher.

Another requirement for those positions? A master's degree. Which, I can have by 35 if I so choose. But do I want to move up the ladder in corporate communications, or do something else? Switch industries? Write full time? Start a business? "Cash out" my meager accounts, move to New Orleans, wait tables and live as a happy bohemian?

There's a dreamy quality to turning 31 and being single with no kids that embodies the heady, hopeful feeling of crossing the stage at graduation. "The world is your oyster." I can still leap...without really needing to consider anyone's opinions or needs but my own.

Yet, there's more urgency now than there was post-graduation when I really did wait tables a couple years and tool around looking for myself. Life was more carefree. But these thirties? It's now or never. Whatever direction I decide to roll in these next few years will likely lay the foundation for decades to come.

Sure, people reinvent themselves at 40. Go back to school at 50. More power to 'em. And if that turns out to be me, then okay. But my 31-year-old self would like to have school and giant career changes out of the way before then, while I've got the freedom and the focus. After all, within the next decade some lucky chap may lock me down and throw a ring on it. Then that other clock will start ticking. And before you know it, life and decisions will have gotten way more complex.

Thirty was a good year...that went by way too fast, though I did my best to savor every moment. The big change was moving to a new city, a move that's still fresh enough for me to discover new happenings...and still get lost on a regular basis.

I spent several hours today completing a personal State of the Union, complete with large drawing paper spread out on the floor, markers, a calculator, and a calendar. It wasn't a goal-setting exercise of where I want to be, but taking inventory of where I am.

And at 31, while there's much renovation in the works, the state of the union is strong.



Read these too!
30
Toast to 28
Relocating: The Thrill and the Fear of the Ride

2 comments:

Rose Lejiste said...

LOVED THIS POST!!!

Self evaluation is a wonderful thing and should be done yearly or so. It helps identify those things that sometimes get put on the back burner and neglected because of the craziness of life. Helps keep you on track.

Guess we can't really call you tumbleweed any more can we?! ;-)

I see so much growth in you over the last year or so. Its absolutely amazing. Proud of you and wanted to let you know that you truly inspire and encourage me.

Me said...

THAAAAANK YOOOOU!!!

Self-evaluation is essential...and what better time to do so than around birthdays?

Thanks so much for the kudos and encouragement!!