A new friend recently told me that instead of worrying I should focus on gratitude. Why is it that it is always easier to focus on what’s missing rather than what you have? Let me preface this post by telling you that I absolutely love Chicago & the friends that I have made here.  This move could have gone in a completely different direction. When I was in Chicago in Feb 2010, I put down a deposit on an apartment and ended up backing out. Something just didn’t feel right. Had I taken that place I would have missed out on 20+ friendships that I have made in my current building. These people have become such a big part of my life in Chicago.

  I cannot explain how much I love this little man.

He is the best dog in the world and he’s mine. Not sure how I got so lucky.

I left LA because I wanted to be in a great city with great people and found exactly what I was looking for in Chicago. It may be cold and I may think about flip flops & dresses multiple times a day, but I believe that the cold & gray days make you truly appreciate the warm & sunny ones. I am an LA girl who is looking forward to 60 degree weather. When the warm weather does arrive, I will be very grateful.

For the past few months I have thought a lot about my career and what my next step{s} should be. I haven’t really gone in to this on my blog but wanted to write about it for a few reasons. First of all, I know that someone going through the same thing may be able to relate to what I have to say. I also want to be able to look back on this and know that I figured it all out.

My BFF, C.

I am a fairly driven person {ok — total overachiever/perfectionist} which leaves me feeling like there are a million things I want to do there is not that one thing that I was prepared for. You go to med school and become a doctor or law school to become a lawyer. I majored in Sociology, so where does that leave me? Should I work for someone else or start a new venture on my own? If I work for someone else what should I do? I am at a crossroads. There are multiple paths that I could take and I am not entirely sure where to go.

The problem is that I think about this all the time.

Jess, my other BFF.
We haven’t lived in the same city for years but have managed to stay very close.

I have always been one of those people with ideas running through my mind all the time. I love my down time but feel like I always have something going on. Just look at me. Graphic design, photography & a scrapbook line. I like to dive in to everything. I {literally} came up with an idea over the weekend that I am really excited about. I often feel like I am the only person like this. I know that isn’t the case, but it can feel that way.

 My small apartment & my even smaller roommate.

I have come a very long way in the past year. I am grateful for Chicago, my home, my pup, friends, my business, my blog & all the good things in my life. I am grateful for the people that read my blog and leave comments every day. I do this because I enjoy it but getting to know all of you has been a bonus. My blog was also a huge factor in my move to Chicago. Had I not started this blog, I would probably still be in LA right now. You can read about that story here.

I love Chicago.

So what do I do? How do I figure this all out? No idea. People always ask if I would give up design/photography & the answer is no. It is such a big part of who I am but I am so ready for the next step. I just have to figure out what that one thing is and that isn’t easy. No one prepares you for the fact that you will have to figure these things out. Or no one prepared me for it. While some people have their careers all sorted out, I know there are so many others like me who aren’t quite sure of what they want to do.

For now I plan on making some lists and deciding on some next steps. I really want 2011 to be the year that I figure this out but at the same time know firsthand that these things do not always happen when you think they should. I wanted to move here last winter. Had things gone the way I thought I wanted them to, I would have missed out on so much more. 

Have you found your career? Do you think about what you should be doing with your life? What do you want for your future?
I do not expect answers to all of these questions. Just something to consider…

Leave a comment
  • There is so much I can say about this post, but I think this would be best talked about over a coffee or a lunch. I'll hit you up offline for that.

    What I will say is I still don't know exactly what I want to do for a living either (although I have an area I would like to work in) or exactly what the next step is and I've had career coaches and some extensive training in this arena. I think the most important thing for me has been having a balance of patience and urgency and sometimes those two are like oil and water.

  • Oh girl, we have talked so much about this, haven’t we?!?!?! You are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be and that is definitely something to be grateful for because not everyone can say that. I always love how you and I can encourage each other in this area. The best is yet to come for you, my friend!! Love you!!

  • i am SO proud of you and everything you've done and accomplished in the past few months/years… and all the fears you've conquered!! you are such an inspiration to me. and i completely understand what you're feeling. i'm there. except i don't have as many goals and ambitions as you… but know that i'm always thinking of you and i'm always an e-mail {or video chat! woo!} away! 🙂

  • This post really hits home for me. I've been out of school for about 4 years and within the past 6 months started to question the field I've choosen and wonder if a change is in order. I'm thinking of going back to school in the fall but it's hard to know if this will be the right step. Glad you are on your way to that decision.

  • I am exactly in the same place as you 🙂 I've learned I am always in the right spot at the right time I just have to learn my "lesson" in that moment before I can move on. Gratitude is so much harder to have than worry…my life is changing at the moment and I was scared at first, but now that I have accepted it I am super excited and cannot wait to see where it takes me.

  • Thank you so much for posting this D. I can completely relate to the career path/future concept. I'm back in school and will be for a few more years. This path was best for me and for Nehemiah. I'm starting to realize that we're not supposed to have everything figured out all at once, and this is okay.

  • I loved reading this and I can't tell you how much I relate- I feel so old to have no sorted it out already but after teaching for 10 years, I just knew it wasn't the career I really truly wanted. This whole blogging world has opened up so many new possibilities/idea and it just seems almost impossible to figure it all out- know that while you're thinking and feeling all of this, so am I;) I have good feelings about 2011- for both of us;) xo

  • I went to school for journalism at Columbia College. I moved here to finish school but also to take a risk and start fresh in the big city all by myself. What a decision! My family worried, but I proved to them that I did it because it was what I was destined to do. Anyway…fast forward 5 1/2 years. I am no journalist, I'm not even employed. But I am okay with that because I'm figuring out what I'm good at and what makes me happy. I think I'm opening a shop within the next year because shopping makes me happy and I'm good with people. I've learned to do new things that will benefit me later on in life and career and I'm so very grateful for this opportunity!

    You'll figure it out in due time, but in the meantime, just enjoy what you've got on your plate for now!

  • Oh girl, the only thing I can tell you is that you will figure it out eventually. You are surrounded by friends and live in a great city that has so much to offer. Enjoy that as much as you possibly can now.

  • this is such a hard thing to figure out! i think we are all constantly thinking/contemplating these questions. i've been teaching for 14 years and if at 18 years old i knew myself as well as i do today, i would have totally changed career paths. you grow and change through the years and my strengths today were not necessarily my strengths 20 years ago! ha! but now, i feel stuck in a career i can't get out of for many years (i'm sorry to say that, but it's true) and so i think of what great and fabulous thing i will be able to do when i retire from teaching in another 15 years. in the meantime i try to still work hard and try to make my job with third graders as interesting as possible. but i will be thinking about you as you make some decisions about your path. i know it will be great, whatever it is!!

  • Thanks for posting this! I think there are lots of 20somethings out there that are feeling like this right now. You go to school and get a degree because it's what you should do and now we are all left with figuring out what we WANT to do. I have a slightly different problem in that I have no idea what I want to do! I find your blog so refreshing because it is really honest. We will all figure it out eventually. Keep blogging- you're bravery is inspiring!

  • Hi Danielle… me Deb from the Daily Bee, yet no longer Daily Bee. 🙂 I haven't commented in months but I have been reading. I am in the same predicament in a way, I think I've started to figure it out but it's still fuzzy so I can't say I have yet. Knowing you though, whatever you decide to do will be a success.

    Good luck and blessings!


  • You know how much I relate to your feelings of uncertainty career-wise–and it sounds like so many others do too! I'm proud of all that you have pursued, and I'm always excited by your ideas & passion. You're definitely destined for something great–we'll get you there! 🙂

  • Thank you for the glimpse at your journey! I've had a crazy, multicontinent one myself starting with my international grad school. I gave up a good job to go for a degree and better opportunities but have wondered if it was worth it.
    But I met one of my closest friends and bridesmaids at grad school (she was a last minute roommate) so how could I regret that?

    Life is full of such interesting sliding door moments. I have thought about career a lot (now in my 3rd country in a year and searching for another career). I took a career coaching workshop and ended up getting certified to help a few friends out as well. I totally believe in career and life evaluation at regular intervals and wish you luck on your journey. Mine has led me to starting a new business and all the excitement and heartache that comes with it. We'll see – that's the winding road of life right?

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  • What a precious post!
    I found myself stressing over things yesterday & what a great way to start today out by reading your post.
    I am also grateful for friends, family, my blog, love, life, breath, even the small things that make me happy…coffee, a hot bath, a hug, a moment when I feel like I've really helped someone.

    So grateful I found your blog because I needed to read this today!

  • I am new to your blog and absolutely loved reading this post, thank you so much for sharing your story! I too find that I am constantly thinking everyday if I am in the right place and if I am heading in the right direction (career, relationships, whatever it may be). Over the past few years I have learned that while you are trying to figure things out, life tends to happen along the way! Looking back, I have formed some amazing friendships, traveled to fantastic places and done many things I am proud of, all the while still trying to figure out the right path. Here's hoping 2011 brings some great things your way.

  • You are amazing! I think you are thinking about this stuff in exactly the right way. It's just hard. I am a lawyer but am I 100% happy with that? No…

  • what a thougtful, honest post. i'm like you in that i never had (and still don't) have my career path laid out before me. i struggle with not having a definite plan and get distracted by side projects and weekly thoughts like "oh maybe i should go back to school!" or "what about starting my own company?", but i'm learning to not rush things and to figure things out as i go along. it sounds like you know what makes you happy (and what doesn't), so i think that's a great starting point. there's no rule that you have to have your life figured out by 30…if so, i'm screwed! i hope i continue to grow and evolve and try new things as i age. you're definitely not alone in feeling this way!


  • Ask God to lead you to the right path. I find tha always works. And clearly, you are already on you way. 🙂

  • i LOVE this post. i've read and re-read it several times since you posted it and it's so thought-provoking. i have been in somewhat of a career rut over the past year waiting to make my next move, decide on grad school, and possibly make a big move. i think the bottom line is that you have to do something that not only makes you happy, but also continues to challenge you. you can't be complacent.

    i can tell that you like to 'go hard or go home'! it's evident in everything from your constant designing and creating to your rigorous workout/no carb regiment! don't forget to make some downtime for yourself to enjoy not working all the time, too! you have to read those new magazines and appreciate the little things along the way (like 60 degrees in march!). don't burn yourself out and don't put too much pressure on yourself. you have tons of amazing accomplishments and i give you so much credit for sharing so much of your personal life on this blog. bottom line: keep putting lots of energy and creativity into your projects, but don't forget to take a breather here and there! xo

  • loved this post! i think we are so much alike–just know you are amazing, and so talented! and i have no doubt that the rest will fall into place:)

  • Don't we make plans then God laughs? One thing my mother in law once told me is plans can change, and that's ok. Go for something, but don't feel like you have to have it all figured out. I have to remind myself of that constantly since I'm such a planner.

  • If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be married, would adopt two little angels from China, quit my JOB and be a stay at home mom — I would have told you, you are on drugs!!!! But look at me now. Not plan A, B or C for me — but it's the plan that dreams and having faith are made from. I wouldn't want my life any other way. Even on the worst day at home it's better than the best day ever at work.

    All I'm saying is don't be afraid to dream the wildest dream or the thing that seems out of your reach — somehow with a little faith — you will end up with a wonderful life, career, freinds, etc. And I'm betting it will be something totally unplanned or expected — that's the fun part — looking back and seeing you had been on right path all along but to a place you didn't know exsisted for you!!!

    Keep living and taking chances it's all part of the plan!!!