[Note: To clarify immediately, #LifeAt2X means a “20-something-year-old,” and #LifeAt3X means a “30-something-year-old.”]

In ten years from now, where will you be in your career? If you’re a #LifeAt3X, and you’re unsure why you haven’t yet achieved your personal career goals, stop reading this right now and go find the list of things you want to do with your time so you can. Really, do it now. Because time flies and before you know it, you’ll be talking about #LifeAt4X.

This post will be here waiting for you.

If you have your list, it’s because you’re that dedicated to putting actions to your vision. How have you scheduled your time? Or, do you need a calendar to keep track of all the things you’re doing to stay on track? I know someone who has everything in his calendar on his phone, and of course, he is smart and also has backup on his computer. In fact, the two calendars ‘sync with each other and it’s a brilliant system.

My problem with his system is the technology that I own: a MacBook Pro and a Note 5. Yup. I’m that person.

Fortunately, I have a focus of things I want to accomplish in 2016 because I’ve figured out my long-term focus. My “ureka!” moment happened in 2014, but I wouldn’t put it into action, truly, and eat my own words, until this year because I was scared to begin building a new life. I was scared of the new direction. Here’s a brief look at what I mean by that.

- Worked
- Partied
- Leaned on other people to make plans
- Cheap rent (I won’t even tell you how cheap it was)
- Dating to find “the one”
- College — because I didn’t have a plan (you read that right — it gets even more confusing, but stick with me)
- Skipped class, a lot because I was a lost duckling

- Working, even on weekends, I’m not even mad about it
- A party night means being in bed by 11 pm
- Make my own plans so I can spend my time better
- I have the best roommate ever, and we’ve lived together since February 2014 — we found each other on Craigslist
- I’m single AF and so content about Prince Charming being on his tortoise (take your time buddy, seriously)
- College — because I figured out who I want to be when I grow up for at least the next 2–3 years and after two years of thinking about it, I’m actually putting my money where my mouth is and IT TASTES AMAZING. I’ve already learned I can always go back to school to learn more if necessary.
- I do homework kind of at the last minute, but I learn the material really well this way and I’m acing my classes because I LOVE WHAT I’M LEARNING

Finding yourself takes time. When I was a #LifeAt2X, I was clueless about how the world worked and spun. The bills would pile up for six and half years. The “half” piece comes from between the time I graduated c0llege to when the loans came in and I had to start paying them back.

I didn’t have a job lined up when I graduated because for some reason, I thought one would just fall into my lap. Was I that mislead? No, but I was confused and I didn’t have the most helpful support system around me — cause when you’re young and swear you’re independent (and just fine), you don’t want to listen. My mother taught me a thing or two about resilience, hard work, ethics and doing your best when no one else was looking. I wasn’t and I’m not privileged, I’m not a trust-fund kid and the hardship of the next four years after graduating college would nearly kill me (and I’m not kidding because people were concerned for my well-being). Unfortunately, I knew what I wanted to be (but I really didn’t), and I would end up trying to be someone else for too long partially because I had to in order to pay the bills because I didn’t know what else to do. Really, I was stuck and had no real world internship experience and didn’t know what I wanted, but I talked the big talk to cover up my insecurities. All of the days and moments and work I did would grow my soul in new ways that wouldn’t help me become a better person until seven years after I graduated college. Did you catch all of that? Basically, the slipper was a size seven and I was really a size eight for six years. The jobs I chose didn’t fit me the best, money was tight all of the time, I experienced multiple growing pains, and I didn’t understand why I was so unhappy when I was doing everything I was ‘supposed’ to be doing. I was applying for jobs, but again, no real world experience.

Let’s go back to the main reason for this post because maybe, just maybe, the idea here in clear as mud. In 10 years from now, where will you be? I ask myself this often. I have a rough idea, based on the next few years of where I’m now headed, but my direction could change again because a job I may be working five years might not exist right now. I’m 100 percent OK with that. I didn’t have a serious conversation with myself and draw a map out and surround myself by the right people for most of my #LifeAt2X, but I dug deeper as a I neared #LifeAt3X and I’ve taken these things more seriously. But not too seriously.

I read “Thirty Things I’ve Learned” by Nick Crocker three years ago and that blog post has stuck with me ever since. Takeaways, if you don’t click to read it are:
- Control your inputs — not just food, but everything you consume and guard your time with gates of care.
- Get smart about those you’re having conversations with regarding your future — this is important because it takes time to make something great on this planet.
- Ask for what you want.

It’s really about auditing your soul, and it’s a great way to reflect how you’re spending time, while having the most honest and blunt conversations with yourself. I limited my takeaways to three bullets points because 30 is too many, yet everything he mentions is important. And at the end when you ask yourself the tough questions, for some, the future becomes clear as mud.

#LifeAt2X vs #LifeAt3X:
The Middle of In Between, I hope, becomes a platform for these honest conversations of your career, relationships, hobbies and how you’re spending your time. I have a few ideas of what could come of it. The tagline I sign each blog post with is “Stand, but don’t stay in the middle,” if you have a pretty good grasp on being your own cheerleader without the validation of others, oh the places you can go.

Stand, but don’t stay in the middle,