Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Strategic Anniversary

Three-hundred and sixty-five days ago, I was sitting exactly where I sit now, but in a completely different mindset.

I was anxious, nervous.  Hell, let's be honest, I was clueless.  

Just days before, I had undergone a job interview.  I showed up with sweaty palms and what felt like stuttering answers to seemingly simple questions, singing the praises of a degree that the ink wasn't yet quite dry on.  Faced opposite the owner - a snazzily dressed slip of a man with a winning smile - and the director of operations - a guru of technical know-how with a laid back Hawaiian mentality - I couldn't be more uncomfortable, but somehow I survived.  

In fact, I not only survived, I was called the next day with an eager "you start next week!" which brings us to a year ago today.

I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but I had hope, aspirations and the drive to see where the adventure could lead me.  I was a greenhorn joining a well established ship, exploring a world I had a peripheral skill-set to prepare me for.

It was a risk, and I'm glad I took it.

Tomorrow I'll have been at my job for an entire year.

Can you believe that?  A year.

While it may have taken a little time and more than a little effort, I'm to the point that every day I get to do what I enjoy, what I'm good at.  Every day I get to learn a little more, grow a little more.  Sure, there are frustrations, it comes with any job that involves any sort of interaction with... well... rush hour traffic, finicky computers, inanimate objects (such as coffee makers), er.. people - but I still find myself pretty damn lucky.

It's a strategic anniversary I tell ya, and given how far I've come in the last three-hundred and sixty-five days, I really can't wait to see what the next year has to offer.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Looking For the Oscar to My Felix

As progress forever trudges forward, my living situation has become a topic of consideration.

My current daily commute averages 20-30 minutes, if traffic is in my favor.  It's not horrible, though slightly mind numbing, especially when freeway speeds crawl within the mid-20 mile per hour range for no apparent reason.

While it's tolerable, progress as we know it is pushing for a decision:  Face a commute at least double my current trek, or move out of a town that has been my comfort zone for too many years to count.

Aside from a near decade long stint in my sunny southern California home away from home, I've only lived in this town.  In fact, I was born just a couple miles from where I sit now typing these words.  I don't know my way around many other towns, quite possibly on purpose, so the new debate of moving to a city I'm not even entirely sure I've visited has me a little on edge.

Putting that wallop of a detail aside, there's the idea of my future potential roommate.

Over the years, I've had a lot of roommates.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some... indescribable.

The Odd Couple - Tony Randall &  Jack Klugman
The only reason I even consider it now, is because I'm pretty dang sure I don't want to live alone.  I want to share the responsibility, the worry, and I think I need the cohabitation, companionship.

I have some good things to offer as a roommate, really I do.

I have a steady job and pay my bills (fearing debt worse than a cavity, and I dread those).  I clean up after myself and often clean when home alone and bored.  I cook (my foodie blog should be an example of such), and when I do cook, I prefer to cook for more than just myself.  I'm quiet.  I pretty much keep to myself.  Despite being an only child, I have figured out how to share.  I share my video games.  I appear to be a decent go-to person for technical issues including setup and troubleshooting of home entertainment systems and computers.

Here's the thing, there's a few things that I require in a roommate.

They must have a steady job and pay their bills (come on now, that's not too lofty).  While I don't mind doing more than my fair share of the cleaning, slobs will drive me batty.  Though I might occasionally take on motherly characteristics, I am not a mother and do not feel obligated to clean up after anyone as such.  Consideration for others is a big plus - all it takes is a little forethought and afterthought, though it's quite often neglected.  Those with severe pet allergies need not apply - my feelings for my kids (at the moment 2 cats) outweigh my empathy for allergies.  Priority consideration will be given to those willing to kill anything with six or more legs (with or without wings).

So as I ponder my great leap to the other side of the river, I can't help but wonder - will it be possible to find not only a suitable home sweet home that will put me within reach of a tolerable commute, but also a worthy Oscar to my Felix?

I suppose I should start putting feelers out, because as I said before, progress keeps marching on.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Setting Goals & Reaching Them

I find I do a lot better with a goal in mind.

Throughout school, each term became a challenge, a chance to excel, until that last term when that walk across the stage to accept my diploma took precedence.

Along that educational path, I had a few other big aspirations pop up unexpectedly that were not only pretty dang awesome, but check-marks off my elusive bucket list such as a trip to Seattle and New York City via the perks that came being on the college newspaper.

After college, a job became the goal, one quickly fulfilled perhaps by luck, fate or sheer determination - I'm still not quite sure, but as I've said before on the topic, I'm grateful.

Once I started my job, the goal was getting into a position that fully utilized my skills.  That effort took all of three months - thankyouverymuch.  Yes, I know that's pretty awesome, but I digress.

Since then, I think I've been lacking that drive, that aim towards a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  Sure, I have some long term goals in place, but it's possible a short term goal has been in order.

So what did I do?  I set a goal.  Not five minutes later (okay, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but bear with me), that goal - a bucket list item - became a realization.

I'm going to Las Vegas.

Come August, I'll have finally paid that infamous city a visit and so many great experiences await me.  Not only some amazing, drool-worthy dining experiences, but my FIRST ever visit to a casino (yes, I know, well past due), and the cherry on the cake, my first Broadway musical -  front row even.

How's that for awesome?

To be honest, I'm not sure I've had a vacation where I wasn't visiting family or had a journalism convention to attend.  I'll be meeting family there - but this is different, this is an actual vacation.  Beyond strange... but in a good way.

I'm positively giddy.

Sure, I know after this I'll have to aim for yet another lofty goal, but you know what - it's worth it.  I need something to push towards, big or small.  Until then, it's a count down - 56 days.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Shooting For the Moon

Ambition is a funny thing.

By definition, it means a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.  In practice, more than anything I believe ambition requires patience.

Why is this funny?  Mostly because I'm notorious for a lack of patience.

For the past few years, I'm proud to say I've been very ambitious.  Went back to school, studied hard, graduated with honors.  Started a tiny little side business, took on an extremely wide variety of projects, gained invaluable experience.  Got an awesome job, actually use my degree, validated for my talents.  Pretty dang cool if I do say so myself.

So what have I been striving for lately?

To prove that there's so much more to my praised, mad skills - and I'll do so every time I get the chance.

In my time as a graphic designer I've created: logos, business cards, letterheads, tee-shirts, social graphics, website graphics, envelopes, product labels, greeting cards, memes, newspaper ads, magazine ads, website ads, tabletop ads, stickers, bumper stickers, pens, pins, hats, CD cases, zines, book covers, flyers, brochures, pamphlets, posters, banners, feather flags, trade show booth panels, even a graphic that ended up plastered to the side of a party bus.

Not too shabby, eh?

As a web designer, while I relish in and quite enjoy many of the technical, tedious and tiresome aspects of the job, it's the design - the visual and aesthetics, the look and feel - that will always drive me because no matter how much time, effort, blood, sweat and tears I pour into a site, it's the user experience that will keep people there once they've found it.

Bringing these two distinctly different but remarkably similar designer sides of myself together has always made sense to me.  I take great satisfaction in bringing a certain coherence and continuity to every design, and if I can bring that into not just a single design, but into a brand, I see nothing but potential.

I'm excited to be a part of a company that's growing, a position that's growing, that's enabled me to develop this side of myself.  I'm lucky really, damn lucky.

I learned several years back that's not enough to maintain status quo, there's no fulfillment in it.  I plan on continuously proving myself as an asset, continuously learning something more and striving towards something greater.  It's who I've become, and I'm pretty okay with that.

This is progress dear blog, progress and I gotta say, it feels good.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Aging Gracefully

Let's face it, despite the actual meaning of my name, I am anything but graceful.

I trip over my feet, I trip over my emotions, I trip over my words.

The only thing I've ever considered myself graceful at was falling, but literally and figuratively.

So just a couple days away from... let's not say birthday, we'll say anniversary of my birth... I find myself wondering if I can in fact, age gracefully.

While that may be a question better left up to philosophers, theorists and Jeopardy winners, I have decided that the upcoming year will be better than the last.

I have made some great accomplishments in the last year.  Accolades, achievement, advancement - I mean really, I shouldn't have a reason to complain.  I'm not complaining, per say, I'm just summoning courage to live up to the age old adage: "There's always room for improvement."

I'm going to grow more, learn more, do more.  I'm going to get out more, experience more, live more.  I'm going to let go of the bad, hold onto the good and embrace whatever progress comes my way.  That's not too lofty, is it?

Who needs New Years resolutions when you have birthday resolutions.

So bring on the next year, I'm ready for it danigt, and for whatever it may bring.