The birthday game

Hey friend,

It's my 29th birthday today.

I can never decide how to 'reflect' best on days like this -- and then I get stressed out about how maybe I'm doing reflecting wrong, which ruins whatever reflection I was hoping to achieve, and blah.

Luckily, just as I was starting to write this note to you just now, I checked my Insta DMs and saw a suggestion from my BFF: "Make a list of the top 5! Play the birthday game!!"

Genius idea, Car. Great timing, too. Thanks. Sold. Yes. Let's do the birthday game.

The birthday game is a thing in her family. It's not really a game, it's just a really good conversation topic for birthday dinners. As tradition goes, whosever birthday it is has to name the top 5 best moments of the last year.

So, without further ado, let's play.

(1) Took my first real big kid job ever. After running my own comms consulting practice in tandem to the #ELB career coaching business, I decided to sign a full-time contract with the Facebook design team in June.

It's been 10 months of learning what it's like to be an employee, and stress-testing my own #ENTRYLEVELBOSS approach to career growth inside the constraints of employment. How do you get promoted? how do you ask for something different? I'm asking all those questions first-hand for the first time. I’m building an on-the-job understanding so that I understand how to help you better in the long-run

Oh, and doing cool work with good people. I have met so many very, very, very lovely people.

(2) Created #ELB School. After tinkering with the idea of running a job search 'school' for quite some time, I established my signature 6-week guided job search program in May and it totally rocks. And works, btw.

I wanted to create a way in which I could lead multiple people through the job search process as a metaphorical cruise director of sorts, without losing the personal touch of actually *knowing* each student.

It's going really well:

"I wanted to send you a note to tell you that I got a new job as a Junior UI/UX Designer! They have an office in DC and NYC, so I'm hoping that it will be the best of both worlds.

Thank you so much for your help in ELB School! This new job title is exactly what we had talked about aiming for, and I am happy that you helped me decide to stay in DC (and now I still have the chance to work out of their NYC office sometimes). I'm really happy about this end to my job search, and you definitely helped me get there, so thank you so much!"

Enrollment for #ELB School will open up again soon -- in May!

(3) Still managed to sing a little. I can easily point to one of my favorite days of the last year: it was a hot July Wednesday when I returned to Berlin to shoot music videos at Tempelhof (the abandoned airport) as part of this funky Brazilian / Berliner female singer-songwriters project. 

I got to record my first ever video of an original tune, Broke and Broken. And, equally importantly, I got to spend the day making art. With people I love, who also love making art with me. Spending time like that is worth its weight in gold.

(4) Lost a lot of heaviness. Body-positivity & physical stuff in general is just not the focus of my content, so I only talk about it very rarely. That being said, I did lose like... four dress sizes in the last six months, and it feels like cheating if I don't acknowledge it.

And y'all know I wouldn't play you like that, anyway.

Much more importantly, I've done a f*ckton of poking at my own hang-ups and mental blocks mostly around the topics of self-worth and romantic love.

What I know: There are things you're saying to yourself that sound really true. They aren't. You've just been saying them for a really long time, and it can be so very hard to tell the difference.

(5) Somehow managed to manifest BFF Chelsea sitting on my sofa right now. She's legit, like, accidentally passing through London for 48 hours. On my birthday. And this is dope, because it makes for a full hat-trick -- three birthdays in a row together.

Last year was Paris, and the year before that was Sicily.

There it is. A glimpse of me being 28. And now, to start being 29.

Like it or not, ready or not, we go forward. Onwards, even.

Rooting for you. And rooting for me, too.

Big love,

xxA