If you’re new-ish to The Quarterlife Quest, I’d like to introduce you to my monthly series of featured quarterlife questers (see April’s , May’s and June’s). This month, I’m excited to feature a fellow blogger, the lovely Sandy of Reinventing SandyB. I’m not sure how or when I stumbled upon her blog, but shortly after I started following it, she wrote this post, which I absolutely loved, and in which she casually mentions some big news at the end. At first, I thought I’d read it wrong, but then I think I actually gave a little whoop of joy So, without any further ado….
1.) Tell us about yourself! You just quit your job – what did you used to do? What are you hoping to do? Why did you quit?
Hm. Big question, but I’ll sum it up as best I can. I write a blog called Reinventing SandyB – it’s about my year as a young woman on the verge of a major change – a change that happens daily but is rarely talked about out loud… sort of. My blog isn’t about being 20something, to be honest – it’s about unbecoming one. I’m turning 30 in two months.
So, oh ya, I quit my job last month. I left a full-time job as a magazine editor for the best fitness magazine in the industry. Why, do you ask? Well, the complex answer (although obvious to some) is that I quit to pursue the things on my List, to take a chance on some new opportunities and to launch a thousand ideas (well, maybe only one really good one… like my List says).
But, also, I quit because it was time.
2.) What has been the most surprising thing about quitting your job? What has been the hardest thing? The easiest?
Surprising is that I really don’t regret it. I mean, I miss my friends, I miss the perks (loads of fitness and beauty products sent to me to try and review!) and I miss the idea of having a cool job (never failed for great conversation). But I don’t miss that feeling of thinking that what I do for a living should define me. These day though, I’m proud to tell people that I had a great job and walked away to pursue other goals.
The hardest thing? Some days I have self-doubt – are my ideas going to pan out? Will I ever write professionally again? But then I realize that I won’t have any regrets simply because I took a chance on myself. A year from now, I’ll know more about the decisions I’ve made today.
Best part? Hm. Coffee on my porch at any time of day. No morning commute. Watering my garden. And not eating lunch at my desk. Oh, and no waiting for a bathroom stall.
3.) The inspiration behind your blog, Reinventing SandyB is your Birthday List. I love this idea – tell us a bit about it.
When I was a teenager I started writing out a list on my birthday of things I wanted to experience by the next time a cake rolled around with my name on it. I affectionately call this The Birthday List.
Each year I give myself 12 months to deliver on the goods (on whatever’s on the List). This is in part why I always look forward to my birthday each year (only second to that fact that I get to do whatever the hell I want on that day, too). I spend a lot of time reflecting on what the next year will bring into my life. I’ve done this since I was 10 (and, no, I really have no idea why – it’s sort of my annoying flinch – no one knows where it comes from but, eventually, you just live with it.)
In a nutshell, my blog is about turning 30; the things I figured out in my 20s (some really good stuff, if I do say so myself) and striking things off of my Birthday List.
4.) How many things have you crossed off your list? What was the best? What’s next?
Oh no! That’s like picking a favorite child – impossible! I’ve crossed five off the List, although quite a few are promises to myself more than one-off goals (like ‘take care of my skin’ and ‘exercise more’ – both works in progress).
Next I’m tackling skydiving.
My favorite so far?… hmmm, well, I can tell you that I really enjoyed my nude beach experience and also writing my first script. And getting my tattoo. But really, all of my adventures have been great in their own way. I write about each experience on my blog to help give readers a glimpse of what it was like. In the end, I hope it inspires people somehow.
5.) Will you have another birthday list for your 31st year? Why or why not?
Absolutely! This is an important tradition for me and I’m not about to stop now! Everything I’ve ever put on my List has happened. Everything. It’s powerful stuff, I tell ya. Powerful stuff.
There may be a few items that cross over into my next List, but as long as I’ve planned for them (I.e.: I’m booking my motorcycle license test for the Fall so it stays in progress) then it’s all good.
I’m not too sure what will be on my next List, although I do think a lot of entrepreneurial related items might make it on there. Just a hunch.
6.) Would you say you’re on a quarterlife quest? Why or why not?
Hmm, not really a ‘crisis’ but I would say that, sure, I’ve had my freak-out moments about my age, or rather about what I thought I would have accomplished by a certain age. It actually had me quite depressed a few months back, even as I was writing my blog. It was a lot of self-imposed pressure until I realized that it was senseless to feel this way about my life – what good does that do? I started to make changes (like quit my job) and simply commit myself to progress every day. Small wins.
I think that’s where the ‘crisis’ comes from – we’re all trying to beat some imaginary stopwatch that we’ve wound up for ourselves. The ironic part is that we impart these crazy deadlines on ourselves and seem to get lost in the hustle, forgetting to ask ourselves if the things we’re ‘accomplishing’ are really important to us at all. If you wake up one day and realize they’re not or that you’re not living up to your full potential but rather just going through the motions, then I think a crisis happens. I call it LIFE PANIC.
Pressure from peers, colleagues and family certainly don’t help either – “when are you getting married?” “When are you going to settle down in a career?” “When are you going to have a baby?” – but I would say that you need to be strong. Everyone is always going to have an opinion about what you’re doing or not doing with your life and sometimes those people might have some great input to help push you in the right direction, however, for the most part, I have found that people are often trying to justify their own life decisions (getting married young, staying at a job they hate for 20 years, having kids before they were stable) and so will question you about yours.
My best advice: When you get an opinion from someone, always consider the source.
7.) Where do you see yourself in a year? 5 years?
To be honest, this is one question I try to avoid. I really don’t know right now because my life is in so much transition – new endeavors, new home, new outlook on life, a new decade – but I can say that I’m striving to be happy in five years; to be at a place of pure content and satisfaction. That’s truly the motivation behind every List and, since each birthday brings new accomplishments, I plan to be that much happier with where I am.
8.) If you had any advice to give to other quarterlife questers, what would it be?
I like to offer advice on my blog often – more of a “this is what I learned in my 20s” angle, which my 20-something readers seem to love. So, I guess I’ll offer this one piece of advice that I’ve accumulated over the last year, as I prepare to leave my 20s for good:
Don’t wait. Don’t wait for the perfect job, the perfect amount of money in your bank account, the right blog template, the ideal degree, the dream lover or the right age to follow what’s in your heart. There is nothing you can’t do that can’t be undone, done over or refined. So don’t wait. Begin where you are. From there, things only become clearer.
Want to stop waiting and start your own Birthday List? Visit Sandy’s blog at Reinventing SandyB for inspiration!