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Defining yourself: Unfiltered.

You know when you have those lightbulb moments, but you don’t realize they are lightbulb moments until like, five years later? Cue the saying about hindsight being 20/20. What if you were fortunate enough to have an AH-HA! moment and realize, right then and there, that it was exactly what you thought it was? What if you could identify turning points in your life as they were actually happening, not years later?

Yesterday, that happened.

I think a lot of this has a lot to do with being self-aware. Perhaps that’s why my mind is racing eleventy billion miles per hour. Perhaps my comfort with myself, my level of self-awareness is reaching dangerous new heights. And by dangerous, naturally, I mean totally awesome. The other part of it is that I’m fortunate enough to have a handful of people in my life that understand how my brain works, where my head is at and can identify what I’m going through because they’ve been there.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been struggling with what I thought was an internal battle of whether I wanted to be a skydiver or work in PR. Back and forth, back and forth, my mind was spinning like I was spinning in level four on Sunday (really fast, controlled for the most part, but really, really fast). Last Tuesday, in particular, was incredibly difficult. I didn’t know where I was going. Was I unhappy at work? Was skydiving the answer? Did I miss my parents (they been in Alaska for over a week now)? Which way was up?

Then, yesterday, I was fortunate enough to speak with two of my mentors on this lovely little quarterlife crisis I’m battling. One put it very simply: “Sydney, this isn’t about skydiving vs. PR, it’s about you taking a step back and reevaluating how you define yourself.”

Hello, clarity, thanks for stopping by.

Another mentor told me yesterday that a lot of this has to do with me getting over the honeymoon phase of this first chapter of my new life. I’m not in college anymore. I’m not living at home. In fact, I picked up, relocated for a killer opportunity, and now, thanks to the introduction of skydiving into my little world, I’m seeing things differently. And that’s okay.

Lessons learned yesterday: this happens. To some people it happens around 30. Some later. Some earlier. The fact of the matter is, this isn’t something I can solve by end of business, nor should I try. Apparently, this is growing up.

When it comes to me defining myself, well, it’s pretty simple (read: not really at all). Yesterday, I changed my bio. It was only about me professionally, there was nothing else on there about my life. Largely because my life was my work, and now that’s changed. It’s a small step, but a first step. Rewriting a biography about yourself is interesting, especially when you read the old one and scoff, because your new life is so much better than it used to be.

But I think Mentor #1 was right. I had previously been defining myself as “Sydney, the gal that is super-jazzed about social/emerging/digital shenanigans and is eager to learn more and teach others.” Which is still true. I am still that. But I am also at a point where I’m figuring out that I want more than that. Cue Mentor #2 and the honeymoon phase. I shot out of the honeymoon phase at 120 mph as soon as I did my first solo dive. Skydiving gives me a sense of clarity that I can’t get from anything else. When you’re throwing yourself out of airplanes, you’re responsible for (smiling, relaxing and having fun) saving your own life. You don’t have time for everything else that’s going on in your brain – multitasking is NOT allowed.

So, do I have it all ironed out? No. And that’s okay. As I start to poke around with new ideas, I’ll start to discover what I want, where I want to be and how I’m going to get there. This defining myself thing is most definitely a process.

So, kids, where are your heads at? Are you experiencing anything remotely close to this? And when you realized that you weren’t batshit crazy for having eleventy billion racing thoughts, what helped you to realize that? A conversation with someone you admire/aspire to be like someday? A long drive? A walk on the beach? What helps you clear your head?

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