Nine Months: Unfiltered.

There is a lot that can happen in nine months. You can grow a real, live, human being in your belly. Appear on and be voted off of American Idol. Take a cooking class. Begin ninja apprenticeship. Train for a marathon. Write a novel. (Thank you Alan for contributing to my list of things you can accomplish in nine months. You, sir, are a genius) You could also discover a dream you didn’t know you had, plan it, start to live it out, and achieve one of the biggest goals you’ve ever set for yourself.

I’ve only done the last one in the past 9 months, for the record.

The dream nine months ago? Go to SXSW. Make an impression. Go home with contacts that could be future employers. Check, check and check.

When I got to SXSW I was at peace, knowing that I had found my happy place. Not only is Austin is a great city, but during SXSW, it’s also chock-full of people who get giddy over iPhone apps and blogging and social media in general and karaoke and gadgets and beer and conversations and CONVERSATIONS OVER BEERS. Oh, and I had that overall sense of finding myself.

I also swore to myself that I would speak there someday.

Seriously, when I walked into the convention center in March and thought to myself, “I want to be a part of this”, the end of that sentence was “someday”. Someday I wanted to. When I walked into the convention center that day I had no idea what was in store for me. I was still in college, feeling out what my future would hold. How I pictured my future was this fuzzy image, where I knew there was something out there, my calling, what have you, but I just couldn’t see it yet. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do, really, I just knew I wanted it to be great.

Then the picture got a little clearer on Sunday when I went to Daniel’s panel about “Old Media, New Tricks”. What he was saying MADE SENSE. I could relate to it. I heard Robert (Rob? Robert? What do you prefer?) mention that Daniel was 24. HE WAS MY AGE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. If he could make a difference, I could too, age wasn’t an issue. I just needed to find my footing. And then start sprinting.

After Daniel’s panel, the image that is my future became a little clearer yet again when I met Adam. Slowly but surely he started introducing me to everyone who was anyone at SXSW that I needed to know. I was absolutely blown away to have a perfect stranger taking such an interest in the crazy ideas that were floating around in my head. I’ve said it before, but it deserves repeating, that particular Sunday in Austin was a turning point in my life, professionally and personally.

So the story goes (which I’ve told a thousand times before), I go home, accept an internship, start planning my move to Chicago and nine months later, here I am. Happily employed at what is easily my dream job, working with people who are absolutely fantastic at what they do and have an interest in helping me grow as a professional and as a person. I’m living in a city that never ceases to amaze me, and has grown enough on me to call “home” without even realizing I’m doing it. I’m meeting people that take my breath away because they think the way that I do and enjoy life just as much, if not more so.

And that little part of my dream, that item on my list, that little professional gold star is HAPPENING. NEXT YEAR. OH EM GEE.

I’m super-pumped for the opportunity to speak at SXSW Interactive 2010 with Elysa Rice, Ben Smithee, Ryan Paugh and Nisha Chittal, all of whom I met in Austin last year. Our panel will be touching on Gen-Y in the workplace, the brilliance that is “with” vs. “for”, and how we’re diving in to social media, amongst other things. You can read more about it here.

Nine months. Can seem like an eternity – but sometimes it flies by.

In honor of a game that Mari likes to play when you don’t know somebody, (I’m putting a twist on it) – what have you accomplished in the last nine months?

You have this opportunity to brag about yourself – with no judgment. What is your greatest accomplishment in the past nine months and what do you hope to accomplish in the next nine months?

  • http://www.lifewithoutpants.com Matt Cheuvront

    You and I have been through the ringer in the last nine months, huh? It is pretty amazing what can happen in such a short time once you really start putting things into action. I don't have to go through the rundown because…well, our stories are just that similar. Congratulations on the SXSW panel – such a great opportunity for you. The past nine months have flown by – and literally so much has happened. Now the question is, what will the next nine months bring? Cheers to whatever the future may hold.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    In the last nine months, I worked harder than I have before. I put out my first book, which hit the NYT and WSJ bestselling lists. I drove my business to more growth. I toured several dozen cities and three different countries (four, now that I remember Canada). I've worked with thousands of people to grow their own success, and I've met powerful and interesting people, all who have something to contribute.

    It's a fun game, sharing it with others. : )

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Thank you Matt! It's SO CRAZY how quickly life can change in such a short period of time.

    I know what you've accomplished (great things, duh) but what do you want to see in the next nine months? You're getting married – THATS A BIG ONE!!

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Congratulations, Chris. Thanks for stopping by to share! So what's on the agenda for you in the next 9 months? What do you hope to accomplish? Any big plans?

  • http://www.lifewithoutpants.com Matt Cheuvront

    Haha. I guess getting married is a pretty big one huh? Can't believe that's less than 6 months away. Maybe I should start planning? :) (j/k) – So there's that, and now that I'm here in lovely Chicago, figuring out what I really want to do with my career long term – and then trying to settle into that. There's been so much up in the air (not that I'm complaining) that I think I'm ready for things to at least coast for a little while – haha – easier said than done, and not likely anytime soon. Roll with the punches, right? Maybe we should just sit back and continue to enjoy this wild roller coaster, eh?

  • http://twitter.com/MeganCassidy Megan Cassidy

    I graduated from college. I got an awesome job in the middle of the recession. I met an amazing group of people, working together to produce a great product. I figured out what I love and that I have to keep challenging myself to feel great. I realized I can be as awesome as I want if I just do stuff instead of reading about doing stuff.

  • foiledcupcakes

    SXSW! YAY!

    And in response to the BEST GAME OF ALL TIME, here's my list.
    PAST NINE: started a business which was profitable from month 1. made a contribution to the lives of our company's employees. made hundreds of new friends. learned from respectable mentors. became more spontaneous. learned the city of chicago like nobody's business.
    NEXT NINE: strategize a way to make that business really, really thrive and run on its own. become a more intentional mom. run a 5k. organize my shoe closet. go dancing more often.

    btw, you need to join me in the dancing-more-often thing.

    SXSW! YAY!

  • foiledcupcakes

    Megan, I don't know you, but I love your comment:
    “I can be as awesome as I want if I just do stuff instead of reading about doing stuff.”

    I used to manage a team, and I'd hear tons of excuses as to why they couldn't reach performance goals – all of which they blamed on external influences. “I don't have time.” No, you choose to not make time. “Nobody's buying anything because the economy sucks.” No, you aren't thinking creatively enough to outsmart the recession. “I can't get ahead.” No, you're letting other things get in your way of progress.

    Congratulations on your successes in the past nine months!

  • http://twitter.com/lisarowen Lisa Owen

    Nine months is exactly how long it took to “create” you, well add the 3 hours and 17 minutes you went past your due date… so nine months, three hours and seventeen minutes. Since that day, you have been changing by the minute, hour, day, month, year to become the accomplished young lady you are. While you have been changing, you have been affecting lives around you. Initially, your dad and I, then your sister and relatives near and far. I never would have believed the tiny thing you were initially would have such an impact on her world. Keep leaping. Keep blowing me away with your knowledge and accomplishments. I love you.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Dude, can we run a 5k together? We'll have to coin a super-fabulous name for us and get sponsors and stuff because, well, for me to run a 5k is going to be a HUGE DEAL.

  • http://twitter.com/lisarowen Lisa Owen

    Oh, to answer your question, past nine months? Focusing on my growth and change through my weight loss journey. Next nine? To reach the big goal of healthy weight, exercise and eating for life so I can continue to cheer you on from the sideline. And snag a few more physicians for my employer.

  • http://doniree.com doniree

    I am SO going to check you out! I'll be at SxSW this next year and will absolutely stalk that panel – CONGRATULATIONS. Your ambition and just-do-it-ness is amazing. What have I accomplished in the last 9 months? It's been my DREAM to work for myself, from home, from anywhere in the world I wanted by the time I hit 30. I quit my stable, secure job last week to take the first step in doing that. I'm building a freelance portfolio, I'm writing more, and I'm moving across the country to explore new cities because that's been my dream. So… I've spent the last 9 months determining that I needed to make that happen. OH! And I'm a certified yoga instructor – which has been a goal of mine for years. And I did that this fall :)

    In the next nine months? I hope to be financially as stable working independently as I was working in an office. But with hardworking people like you inspiring me, I have a feeling I'll keep at it :)

  • http://twitter.com/MeganCassidy Megan Cassidy

    Thanks! It's been a crazy nine months, but I've learned a lot. The biggest thing is the doing stuff part…I spend a lot of time reading blogs like Sydney's, and I think, Wow, she's done so much. And then I realize, wait, I can do just as much as long as long as I set goals and cut myself some slack every once in a while (this is key). So cliche but so true. Excuses are lame.

    PS Love your username. Now I want a cupcake.

  • http://samanthamccain.wordpress.com Samantha McCain

    Your success is inspiring and CONGRATULATIONS! I've always wanted to go to SXSW. It has to be incredible.

    In the last nine months, my greatest accomplishment is two-fold. I graduated with a degree in PR from a 4-year university with NO debt and am currently making my way through GRADUATE school of all things. I'll graduate again in May.

    The next nine months? I WILL have a job despite this crappy job market and whatever it is (even if it is not my dream job), I'll do it well!

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Graduating with no debt is something that .00000000000001% of the population can say – so that is huge. And I totally made up that number, but still, CONGRATS ON THAT!

    If you're interested in agency PR, you know who to talk to – I can lead you to the people you need to talk to :)

  • http://twitter.com/CatherineEllen Catherine Patterson

    Sydney, this blog post is inspiring! Congratulations on the SXSW panel. It is truly an amazing opportunity. Think about where you've been in the last nine months– where do you think you'll be nine months from now?

    The past nine months have been crazy for me as well… I studied for the GRE (painful), took the GRE (more painful), applied to grad school (less painful, more exciting) and got accepted to grad school (awesome). And I start in January, while continuing to work in PR.

    I also love hearing that you're calling Chicago home! As a fellow Chicagoan and someone who was raised here, that is truly great to hear. Get ready for winter!

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    IM SO PUMPED for you to stalk our panel. Seriously.

    I'm so excited to read more of your work – congratulations on being the newest Examiner – my dad writes for them and HE LOVES IT.

    Can we have yoga hour at SXSW? I'll crank up the thermostat in my hotel room and we can just go crazy.

  • http://www.BeyondThePedway.com Tim Jahn

    I'm with Mari on this one, I love that line from your comment Megan! That's basically my motto – just DO it!

    Oh crap, that's definitely Nike's motto too…time to call the lawyers…those bastards… 😉

    But seriously though. It's true.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Here's what I want to accomplish in the next 9 months:
    -go to SXSW and have an amazing experience, again.
    -make sure our panel ROCKS and isn't the same regurgitated information that everyone is sick of hearing.
    -get promoted, if that's possible in 9 months. If not, then continue to rock at work and learn as much as possible.
    -get in shape – for real. And stick to it.
    -save as much money as humanly possible.
    -help some people with social media stuff, paid or unpaid, but just keep my skills sharp and keep meeting awesome people.
    -go on one real date. Just one. That should be easy, right?

  • http://www.BeyondThePedway.com Tim Jahn

    Nine months ago I was at SXSW as well. I was addicted to the energy that makes up that festival. A collection of people who want to do amazing things.

    Nine months ago I returned from SXSW enthused, ready to hit the ground running. I didn't quite know what, where, or how though. Just knew I was ready.

    Nine months ago I went to a meeting of the Chicago Convergence and decided to start a weekly video series interviewing creative companies in Chicago. So I did, immediately. I tweaked the videos as I went, learned more about what kind of stories I wanted to tell, and met some absolutely amazing people that do creative things here.

    Today, I'm still doing that. I know what, where, and how. Today, I know that I love telling stories and that I'm good at it. Today, I'm more ready than ever. I've earned my first dollar and three cents from Beyond The Pedway and am as proud as can be.

    Nine months from now, I'm going to be producing Beyond The Pedway full time. When people ask me what I do, I'll say I tell amazing stories for a living. And I'll have a giant smile on my face. And I'll ask them what their story is.

  • jenniewhite

    I read through ALL of the comments and Sydney your readers have had some amazing accomplishments. I am beyond impressed.

    I love these kind of games so here it goes: I took a semester off and went back home. Might not sound like an accomplishment, but I gained a whole new perspective on life and realized how awesome my parents were. I've since transferred schools (Allentown, PA to Boston, MA), got two amazing internships, managed a local clothing store, hopped on the social media band wagon, met some amazing people and mentors, and had a blast doing all of it. Sorry for sounding vague; don't want to bore you guys with the details.

    SXSW has been a dream of mine as well. The panel sounds so cool! Fingers crossed there's a live stream or something; school is preventing me from heading down to Austin. Have an awesome time though, you guys will rock it.

    And… cheers to the next 9 months!

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    LOVE IT!

    I'm so glad we connected after SXSW – despite multiple failed attempts to actually meet at the panels. We were both sitting in the “Are Agencies a Dying Breed” panel and that's when the lightbulb went off for me.

    I'm thrilled to hear of your accomplishments and can't wait to see what the future has in store for Beyond the Pedway. :)

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    The best thing about this post is what is happening here in the comments. No matter how big or how small on a grand scale, the things you are proud of are the things that make you, YOU. Your big accomplishments to you are HUGE and that's what matters.

    I took a year off from school when i moved to Florida so I wouldn't have to pay out of state tuition. Best decision I ever made.

  • http://www.dshan.me/blog DShan

    It's funny…this has been an eye opening year for me. It's one I'm going to look back on, that's for sure. I've met more new people this year than any year I remember, if you don't count freshman year in college when everyone's new.

    I love meeting people. I love that I was right about this online thing, and that I had the confidence to just make it a part of me…not to try and be anything in particular (to cultivate a brand, per se) but to just immerse myself in this form of expression, and the people in the room along with me. It's opened up an avenue to the Geek Is Cool table and I feel like patting myself on the back sometimes for just pushing forward.

    All that aside, and more to your question –

    Nine months ago I was planning the 20 Something Bloggers Ultimate Meetup in Chicago, and decided one day to really try and make that community a kick ass place to meet awesome people. A place for personal bloggers. I didn't know what that meant, exactly, but looking back at how far we have come since then makes me really proud.

    In nine months I want that project to find it's place in the overall conversation that the digital community has. I want people to be proud they take a few minutes each day to check in with their fellow bloggers. I want every young person at tweetups and bloggerhangs and conferences and panels to be asked if they're a part of the community.

    And in nine months I want to build (or be aggressively building) something that really improves the world for the better. Something scalable and something meaningful.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    you forgot one thing – that you're the best blog commenter EVER.

    In all seriousness – the 20SB community is lucky to have someone so driven, so passionate and so immersed in the space behind the cause. I have no doubt that what you hope to become of 20SB will happen, in fact it already is.

    I'm so excited to see what the next 9 months bring for you. I have a feeling they're going to be EPIC.

  • AdrianaHernandez

    Congrats on all of your amazing accomplishments Sydney! I love reading posts like this that force people to reflect on how incredibly awesome they are or how they really need to get their crap together.
    In the past nine months I graduated with my MA in I/O Psychology, had a kick bum internship, worked at a job that I hated which lead me to starting my blog about workplace culture, and finally set a date to be married after a long engagement. Sure feels good to brag once in a while haha.
    My plans for the next nine months are to find a mentor, build more relationships, and get married.

  • kristenej

    Well, let's see. In the last nine months, I've explored what it's like to be a freelancer, created opportunties in a job that I thought I'd hate and decided that I'm going to go back to school and get more training on making the world a better place. Nine months from now, I hope to be getting keys to my new place in DC, finalizing all the paperwork for my grad degree and continue to write and promote sustainable development, mass transit and education policy. By the way, love the new site theme, it makes me want to go tweek both of my pages.

  • Julze820

    9 months, huh? Doesn't seem like a very long period of time. It's less than a year, but, wow, I've really accomplished so much.

    I obtained a Master's degree in Public Communication, I relocated to start a new life chapter with my boyfriend, I've become a Mama Cat after adopting two kittens, I've acquired a job in a tough market doing something I love, I've become focused on my writing and I've set out to make a name for myself in the social media industry (Julia Pflaum | Social Media Insights: http://www.juliaepflaum.com/)

    In the next nine months, I hope to be able to make time for myself by committing to an exercise routine. I also want to make a more conscious effort to establish boundaries so as to not be overloaded or overwhelmed. Overall, I hope to find a balance between my professional goals and my personal goals while progressing with both.

  • nicoleantoinette

    The past nine months: I really opened up with blogging. I planned the Bloggers in Sin City Meetup and met most of my current best friends. I finished my fifth and final year at a job I loved and hated and was overwhelmingly attached to in an unhealthy way. I quit. I got rid of almost all my stuff. I traveled the country for three months. I got into the “shit, I'm so broke” territory. I decided to move to San Francisco.

    And now? I'm waiting. To see if I got the job I applied for. To see when I can move there and hopefully work on being less broke and more on the path to something I love.

    In the next nine months, I want to really build a life. I want a job and an apartment. I want local friends. I want to start a monthly dinner club. I want to train for a second 5K. And then a 10K. I want to get my writing published in a book or magazine. Oh, and I want to meet you.

  • http://20hoursaday.blogspot.com/ mike siete cinco

    It's a trip to watch your life unfold almost exactly the way you design it in your mind. Super pumped to watch you speak next year at sxsw.

    In the last 9 months, I've discovered the internet. Period. What's happening here is changing the world. I'm grateful to be part of it. Plus it's kinda fun 😉

    I've also failed more times in the last 9 months than in my entire 34 years and it's been magnificent. I produced and acted in a no-budget film shot in India that can't seem to get out of post production. Returned home from a one year trip outside the US. launched a real estate campaign to help 300 people purchase their first home and probably ended up helping closer to 30 achieve their dream. Attempted to generate half a million dollars in 90 days and didn't come close. Separated from my wife (soon to be best friend), Listened to my kids, Feel in love with my past.

    Next 9 months I've got to give something back, life has been too good to me, time to pay up :)

    ~Mike

  • http://edcabellon.com edcabellon

    My best accomplishment in the last 9 months was Chairing my Professional Association's Regional conference, where 240 Higher Education professionals and students who manage Student Life in collegiate Student Centers came together for a fantastic 2.5 day event. It was a year long plan that took a committee of 24 dynamic professionals to see their vision turn into reality. I'm thrilled to have been a part of it and SO thrilled to hear that you will be presenting at SXSW… that is my next big goal: to get to SXSW and see how the folks outside of Higher Education do it all!

    Thanks for being an inspiration Sydney! Keep up the great work!

  • http://doniree.com doniree

    DEAL! Especially if we can girl geek out after yoga with a bottle of wine :)

  • http://doniree.com doniree

    I have to chime in with a “here here” well, here, because I watched that meetup through the planning and attending stages and have seen 20sb grow from 1250 (when I joined up) to over 9k members in just a couple of years. That's incredible, and Derek and Lisa's partnership is an amazing force behind it. I'm excited to see where the next 9 months take all of us, and if the past 9 are any indication, we're all going to be blown away.

  • http://www.rockstarlifestyledesign.com/ Greg Rollett

    Awesome stuff Sydney. 9 months seems like a long time, but really when you are young, passionate and have the drive to take action, everything can change in an instant.

    I hope I get to see you at SXSW – Norcross and I are trying to plan a nice 'ol road trip. Even if I don't, I know you'll rock it.

  • http://detroit.fwix.com Jamie Favreau

    Congratulations!!
    I think the trick to getting your foot into the door is having someone believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. Then with enough work and know how you can move it to the next level.
    I have met a ton of great people, networked at some pretty amazing local conferences in Detroit and putting our great city on the map for social media. This is going to sound a bit bad but I am looking forward to an interview I am going to be having in Chicago in the new year. I really bleed Detroit but the thought of working for a start up in the safety net of a huge corporation sounds like a very interesting dynamic. Plus, Chicago is bigger and I would like to retire my car for awhile. See what Urban living is really like.
    I am with you Sydney on the REAL DATE thing. Wouldn't that be fantastic?

  • http://www.dshan.me/blog DShan

    SIDENOTE: I should get an email when this comment is left. Hear that DISQus? HEAR ME?

    And, yes, we shall be blowing people away. Big things planned.

  • Leslie_Forman

    In the past nine months:
    -I've moved past a devastating professional disappointment
    -I've found a way to balance teaching and learning and use my personal strengths every day.
    -My Chinese has progressed from “I'm American and I've been in Beijing for two months” to “They are protesting against the garbage incinerator because they are worried about health and air pollution.”
    -I've nurtured my interest in the environment and participated in several projects to explore the possibility of pursuing this in grad school.
    -I've found a mentor.
    -I've made lots of friends.
    -I've said goodbye to so many people.
    -I ran a half marathon on the Great Wall.
    -I've learned how to sell.
    And more, I'm sure!

    Great blog, and congratulations on all that you've achieved with it. This is my first comment :)

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Holy guacamole that is some great stuff. I would kill to see the Great
    Wall, let alone run in/on/remotely near it.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for stopping by! Looking forward to the
    next 9 months!

  • http://twitter.com/pixie658 Alexandra Proaps

    I have completed 3 full time semesters of graduate school as of Dec 14th. So, in the last 9 months, I completed part of a Master's of Science in Applied Experimental Psychology. I have learned more in the last 9 months than I learned in all my other years of school combined, I conducted Human Factors psychology experiments and I presented my research at professional conferences. I have been pushed to my absolute edge psychologically, physically, and emotionally. That also means I have made some AMAZING new friends and completely adjusted my lifestyle. I earned an Internship that I LOVE LOVE LOVE and looks like it is turning into full time employment.
    So… my major accomplishment was not only SURVIVING 3/4 of a MS program at a Research 1 institution, but I have also THRIVED and learned WHO I AM. That to me, is priceless.
    I hope in the next 9 months to get into a PhD program in Human Factors Psychology, to maintain a good GPA, to conduct and present more research, and to save enough money somehow to give myself an awesome MS graduation present in the summer. 😀

  • Laura

    In the past nine months, I graduated with honors from one of the top advertising schools in the country after just three years in college. I spent a ton of time networking to find a job and landed an amazing one…over 1,000 miles from home. So I picked up all my stuff and moved to the East Coast without knowing a soul. It hasn't been easy (or warm), but, to quote Gilmore Girls, “little by little it's getting easier to pretend it's easier, which means easier must be right around the corner.”

    In the next nine months, I hope to be able to say that easier actually was right around the corner. I hope to become really comfortable with the life I am living without feeling like I am on some strange extended working vacation. I also plan to support my friends who will be graduating and facing the big scary world that I am currently adjusting to, hopefully as an example that it can be conquered successfully.

    And, to throw in an H.G. Wells quote, I plan on continuing to remind myself that “the crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”

  • Laura

    In the past nine months, I graduated with honors from one of the top advertising schools in the country after just three years in college. I spent a ton of time networking to find a job and landed an amazing one…over 1,000 miles from home. So I picked up all my stuff and moved to the East Coast without knowing a soul. It hasn't been easy (or warm), but, to quote Gilmore Girls, “little by little it's getting easier to pretend it's easier, which means easier must be right around the corner.”

    In the next nine months, I hope to be able to say that easier actually was right around the corner. I hope to become really comfortable with the life I am living without feeling like I am on some strange extended working vacation. I also plan to support my friends who will be graduating and facing the big scary world that I am currently adjusting to, hopefully as an example that it can be conquered successfully.

    And, to throw in an H.G. Wells quote, I plan on continuing to remind myself that “the crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”

  • http://twitter.com/robquig Robert Quigley

    Nine months ago, I was speaking at SXSW about Twitter, and apparently helping inspire Sydney :)
    Since then:
    * I was promoted to Social Media Editor at the American-Statesman
    * I went to Seattle to watch my sister-in-law get married
    * I visited family in Georgia to welcome a new nephew to the family
    * My youngest kid started kindergarten (yikes)

    I proposed another SXSW panel (this time on Google Wave and journalism) but it hasn't been chosen yet. Still hold out some hope. Either way, of course I'll be there. I love SXSW and the people I meet there.

    Congrats to you, Sydney.

    Cheers,
    Rob/Robert

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    I totally feel you on the extended vacation bit. I wake up everyday
    and can't believe I live and work in Chicago. Blows my mind,
    especially when I see the skyline. Especially when I'm traveling and
    people ask me where I'm from and I say Chicago. Crazy.

    Congrats on such a badass college story – welcome to the club of
    having a job right after graduation if not before. That's something
    else I forget about bc graduation, though in August, seems so far away
    since I moved here RIGHT AFTER finals in June.

    Thanks for sharing your successes, I can't wait to hear more about how/
    when/if things get easier! :)

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    I love heating about academic success. It's seriously one of the
    coolest things to read about.

    I love knowing peoples paths. Like you are on this academic path of
    greatness and will soon be living out your professional dreams. For
    some careers, BA is the end of the ria academically and most (if not
    all) of the actual knowledge comes from being out there in the
    industry. I geek out about how similar professions are that have damn
    near nothing to do with each other.

    I want to hear about the awesome MS present you get yourself, and feel
    free to come back here and brag when you get into a PhD program :)

  • http://twitter.com/OrlandoChris Chris Owen

    Hmm, I thought a lot about this one.

    Nine months ago I was writing Hallmarkesque stories and emails of a touching nature for and to friends and family. Last week my little regional travel column outperformed national writers with huge fan bases. Nine months ago national travel writers liked me. Now, not so much.

    Nine months ago, I was struggling to survive in an economic climate that left little to be positive about. I could have dug in and “weathered the storm” as so many have done but chose to go in a different direction, one my industry is now beginning to get on board with, nine months later.

    Nine months ago I had welcomed my 3 millionth site visitor. Today I work on shutting that site down, devoting more time to the blog and writing stuff that will surely be the focus of the next nine months. Nine months ago I would never have believed that would be the new direction.

    Things change.

    Backing up to your post before this one on Human Beings and Human Doers, reacting to whatever life throws our way is a natural, primary instinct for most people I suppose.

    But things change

    Those who react can survive but few flourish. Those who “do” anticipate the change, learn from history, wrap up the present in a nice little box, taking care of business efficiently and productively then focus on the future. Those are the ones that form the world as it will be. That will be my focus for the next nine months, the nine after that and the nine after that.

    And things change

    You are doing that right here, right now. This is it. This is your time. Take note of the names of those who have replied here: they get it.

    :::turning back the clock to when you were in high school:::

    Me: “You're grounded. Go to your room”
    You: “Ok”
    ::: a short time passes:::
    You: “Come look, I reorganized my room and it looks fabulous!”

    Molding your world to suit your talents has always been a skill set you have had in total control. I have really enjoyed watching what you have done in the last nine months and can't wait to see what you do with the next nine.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    I think for some of us, this is an exercise to find the silver lining. Which is great. For others, the list of accomplishments is VERY long, so they had to narrow it down. Regardless, thinking back and taking the time to pat yourself on the back isn't something that everyone does. So thanks for being here. :)

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Though I'm completely happy where I am and wouldn't do it any other way, I kind of wish I had taken the time to do the travel-around-the-country-until-I'm-totally-out-of-cash thing.

    We talked at great length about where you're headed and I'M SO FREAKING PUMPED FOR YOU. Wanna run a 5k with me? I'm getting a posse together to do it. A big social media/bloggers/awesomesauce 5k. :)

    And I CANT WAIT TO MEET YOU. We need to arrange that once you get all settled in San Fran.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Chicago is awesome. End of story. I'm excited for you and for all of the great things you have planned coming up. Let me know how the REAL DATE thing goes. :)

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Big things for you this year! How exciting! I hope your panel gets on the agenda, because I think it would be extremely interesting. Regardless, we should definitely schedule a time to chat about it and grab beers when SXSW rolls around. Kapeesh?

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    I. Love. You.

    I'd end it there but OMG this comment rocks my socks. Really. Since we can't hang out on the pool deck and discuss this over beers like we would if I were still home, this will have to suffice. AND OH MY GOD THIS COMMENT ROCKS – did I mention that?

    One, I am SO PROUD of you for keeping a roof over our heads all these years. When I was a kid, I didn't really understand what that meant. Now I do, as I work to build a life for myself, on my own.

    I think I get a lot of who I am from you. Is that genetic? Is it learned? I don't know. But I see a lot of you in a lot of the things that I do. Like the risk-taking. You could have stayed in Kansas with a job you didn't love or you could have pursued your dreams in Florida. I'm glad you pursued your dreams in Florida, and I'm glad I came along for the ride, because my dreams and my methods of pursuing them definitely molded as we all hopped on that journey together.

    While shutting down the site is kind of bittersweet – I can't wait to see how this new direction pans out. I know you're enjoying it a lot more, which makes me happy to see you happy. I wish Chicago was closer to Florida so we could talk about your new direction more, but I'm not THAT tight with Mother Nature, or whoever would be in charge of relocating states to be closer to each other.

    Funny, I never thought rearranging my room when I was grounded would translate to how I handle myself as an adult, but somehow, it does. I can't really put my finger on an exact translation, but it just makes sense. That's how I am. Hopefully that won't put me under out here in the business world. Hopefully that's a skill set that will allow me to excel and succeed and climb the ladder and make a life for myself, and all that stuff that I'm supposed to do now that I'm a grown up.

    I love you. End of story. Thanks for being here, and thanks for the warm and fuzzy start to my day. WHAT A WEEK!!!

    Is it January yet?

  • http://twitter.com/OrlandoChris Chris Owen

    No, that took about 47 seconds as I recall

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    I think for some of us, this is an exercise to find the silver lining. Which is great. For others, the list of accomplishments is VERY long, so they had to narrow it down. Regardless, thinking back and taking the time to pat yourself on the back isn't something that everyone does. So thanks for being here. :)

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Though I'm completely happy where I am and wouldn't do it any other way, I kind of wish I had taken the time to do the travel-around-the-country-until-I'm-totally-out-of-cash thing.

    We talked at great length about where you're headed and I'M SO FREAKING PUMPED FOR YOU. Wanna run a 5k with me? I'm getting a posse together to do it. A big social media/bloggers/awesomesauce 5k. :)

    And I CANT WAIT TO MEET YOU. We need to arrange that once you get all settled in San Fran.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Chicago is awesome. End of story. I'm excited for you and for all of the great things you have planned coming up. Let me know how the REAL DATE thing goes. :)

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    Big things for you this year! How exciting! I hope your panel gets on the agenda, because I think it would be extremely interesting. Regardless, we should definitely schedule a time to chat about it and grab beers when SXSW rolls around. Kapeesh?

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney Owen

    I. Love. You.

    I'd end it there but OMG this comment rocks my socks. Really. Since we can't hang out on the pool deck and discuss this over beers like we would if I were still home, this will have to suffice. AND OH MY GOD THIS COMMENT ROCKS – did I mention that?

    One, I am SO PROUD of you for keeping a roof over our heads all these years. When I was a kid, I didn't really understand what that meant. Now I do, as I work to build a life for myself, on my own.

    I think I get a lot of who I am from you. Is that genetic? Is it learned? I don't know. But I see a lot of you in a lot of the things that I do. Like the risk-taking. You could have stayed in Kansas with a job you didn't love or you could have pursued your dreams in Florida. I'm glad you pursued your dreams in Florida, and I'm glad I came along for the ride, because my dreams and my methods of pursuing them definitely molded as we all hopped on that journey together.

    While shutting down the site is kind of bittersweet – I can't wait to see how this new direction pans out. I know you're enjoying it a lot more, which makes me happy to see you happy. I wish Chicago was closer to Florida so we could talk about your new direction more, but I'm not THAT tight with Mother Nature, or whoever would be in charge of relocating states to be closer to each other.

    Funny, I never thought rearranging my room when I was grounded would translate to how I handle myself as an adult, but somehow, it does. I can't really put my finger on an exact translation, but it just makes sense. That's how I am. Hopefully that won't put me under out here in the business world. Hopefully that's a skill set that will allow me to excel and succeed and climb the ladder and make a life for myself, and all that stuff that I'm supposed to do now that I'm a grown up.

    I love you. End of story. Thanks for being here, and thanks for the warm and fuzzy start to my day. WHAT A WEEK!!!

    Is it January yet?

  • http://chriscruises.wordpress.com/ OrlandoChris

    No, that took about 47 seconds as I recall

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