I googled myself yesterday. I'd love to say this is a random occurrence. It's not. And I came across Under Consideration's WordIt book. If you don't remember, this was a creative SpeakUp community that asked for visual interpretation of a word on a monthly basis–which were then shared and commented on. And it had a fairly long run, 2002-2010. Seems impossibly quaint. At the end of its run, the editors compiled their faves into a book, and I was one among dozens that were selected. The word was "expectations". Looking at my pic spurs memories of that era. Of train riding, list making, career climbing. I remember the period of time. I don't remember that day, or the selfie, or the list: commute, drink coffee, still in my seat, design animation, snot thickens, navigate delillo, plan route, talk at love, frozen lunch thaws, skim e-mails, online news, salary bump, or get sacked, converse in my head, website production, dead battery, income tax refund, more coffee, lists I'll never read, throwaway meetings, trash design rags, kern in my head, agonize over playlist, dead battery, coffee dregs, work day cusp. Except for a few exceptions, that could be a list from today. The book can be purchased here.
Last week I realized that its been a year since my life changed so dramatically. A year ago this time I was managing a creative department for a company that I believed was destined for greatness. A year ago Kari and I owned a home in a wooded area of an affluent suburb. A year ago my worst financial concerns involved whether I had enough spare cash for a bacon breakfast sandwich or a sausage muffin from Starbucks as I commuted to work. Then it all changed and I couldn't be happier that it did. It's not worth rehashing the details of what happened. I'll never fully understand the decision. I'm sure there were many discussions leading up to it. For me it was sudden and asinine. It's also not worth talking about the next handful of months. They were a bit of a blur and a scramble. I can, however, comfortably pick up my story as I started to reconnect with the design industry in Chicago and those who love me. I had great discussions with people whom I hadn't talked to for years and every discussion cracked open my skull just a bit. I stopped relentlessly driving forward on career auto-pilot. I spent time with my daughters. I slept in. At some point I reconnected with my designer self and started 9INE. And at some point in the past year I came to realize that many of my past decisions were based on inertia. Based on an ideal that I truly didn't agree with. Based on others' equation of success. Thank you to my love @karimamasaywhat who was a loving rock throughout the past year. Thank you to my family who never questioned where I was headed. Thank you to everyone in the creative industry who gave me words of support. And thank you to my friends who said hell ya! Your support & words & love were rocket fuel. And to the people that let me go, fuck you, but also thank you. Your idiotic actions propelled me away from your mediocrity and upwards into bolder and more authentic heights.