Saturday, January 09, 2010


The other day in devos they talked about trajectory and the idea of "what were you doing 10 years ago?"

First off, my brain says "Ten years ago? 1990? Still in high school." I have to really fight with it to get it to agree (and even then, it's begrudgingly) that ten years ago was not 1990.

I don't fear aging, I just don't like the idea of being this old. I don't like the idea of looking at the college students who watch our children and thinking that to them we look as old as we must look. Granted, by many stretches of the imagination, I am not really that old. But I'm not 22 anymore, either. When did that happen?

Anyhow, so 10 years ago for real.

Ok, so 10 years ago... newly married. No kids, living in our first apartment together, my third ever. Since then, another apartment, a purchased house and then another purchased house (both times with some financial assistance from my parents). Still driving the same car, still love it, people are surprised to find out it's as old as it is.

At the time, working Warner Bros. Could walk or bike to work, had an office with full-length windows. Had a team of six reporting to me and a few others with dotted lines. Making an unreasonably large salary, plus Lori was working. (Why did we not save more?)

Just starting to attend a really good church that was forcing me to realize some things about my spiritual life.

Ten years later... different state, two children. 15-20 more pounds. Another job with a company with a two digit acronym starting with W. A team one part-time person larger. A salary almost as large (but now our only income). A cube with windows (though they are off to one side, was hard to see when you were at the computer - I've sort of abandoned it, though, only go down there once every 1-2 weeks to see if anything's been left on my chair or if my voicemail light is lit, preferring to work upstairs in our "collaboration space" where there's no windows or assigned workspaces.) Church is ok. Between church and work and having children I've been really convicted to improve my spiritual life and I am growing, but sometimes it's hard to know if it's enough.

But yeah, this was not at all the trajectory I would have imagined. I'm not sure what I thought I would be doing, but I had hoped to eventually be working for Disney in any capacity whatsoever, be living in a good neighborhood in (unsure), California in a house with a more Arts & Crafts style and I'm not sure what else.

So, what does the trajectory look like from here? Ten years from now, not sure if we'll still be in this house. If we do, we'll hopefully have gutted the center of the middle floor to turn the kitchen and living room into a big great-room, a hub if you will. (Though where to put the half bath?) I'll have a 15-year-old, an 11-year-old and hopefully an 8- or 9-year-old. Hopefully be driving a different car by then, one that in today's dollars probably costs $35-$40k and it will be an electric car. If I'm driving a gasoline-powered car in 10 years, it'll be the Intrepid. I'm not buying another gas-powered car.

If retirement from one's professional career life is at 65, then at 35 I'm 30% there and at 45 I'll be 53% there. So my plan is to stay the course. When I committed to this job, I said I wouldn't be lazy, but I also wouldn't be overly ambitious or eager, that I would work hard, work smart and instead of fighting my way up the ladder, I'd wait for someone to extend a hand down to me and pull me up. And so far, that strategy has worked like gangbusters. However, on a more micro-level, some days it can be a serious struggle to remind myself "patience" - that there's no hurry. This is especially difficult when I see what I think are mistakes being made or poor choices or missed opportunities. I have to tell myself that those that are making the decisions have more experience, more knowledge, more insight than me. And so I need to be patient. In some cases, that bears out and I see something I had not expected, and in other cases, I will have been right, but it doesn't mean it's in stone and can't be adjusted later. So I need to remind myself that there are many times where I need to shut up, hunker down, follow orders, work hard and serve as asked. These are often the best times to listen, observe, learn, remember. Maybe because I'll gain insight, understanding and wisdom, and maybe because I'll need to remember it later to address it when I have the authority to do so. But in the meantime, build credibility and trust through working hard, learning everything I can about everything, being pleasant, courteous, and leveraging everything I've learned (good and bad) in my past careers as newspaper delivery boy, clerk in an office supply store, inbound phone order-taker, assistant manager of a college tv station, video store clerk, data entry for workers comp claims at an insurance company, lead developer for an internet startup, lead developer of web properties at a large church, manager of a team of internet advertising placement specialists for a Hollywood studio, copy editor for a college newspaper, graphic artist solely responsible for a daily advertising newsletter, pizza chain employee, all the stuff I'm doing now, not to mention that I feel like I'm leaving stuff out.

But 20 years ago? 20 years ago I would have said that in 10 years (10 years ago from now) I would be working for the Washington State Film commission in a position I created, driving my Jeep Grand Cherokee all over the state promoting filming in Washington, chauffeuring location scouts, helping to negotiate deals with local communities. And that the closest I'd get to Federal Way would be passing it on the 5 between my offices in Seattle and Olympia and my many trips to Sea-Tac.

But 20 years from 20 years ago (now) in that alternate reality, where would I be? Would I be bored? Would I be at war with British Columbia? Would I be spending more time in California while my staff worked deals here? Would I be bringing Oregon and Idaho into the mix?

Ah, well, road not taken and it's on me for not taking it.

And I'm good with that because I'm very happy with the trajectory I find myself on.