I measure my life by what I create.
Joanna Penn said that. She’s one of my favorite authors and podcasters. She’s also one of my role models, someone I look up to for having consciously redefined her career and pursued what she wanted.
I’ve heard her say that quote a few times before, in her regular podcast.
But it didn’t really strike a chord all those previous times. It didn’t really mean anything to me personally until last month.
Just Another Date on the Calendar
September 18th was my birthday. It would have been just another day that reminded me how old I was getting, and a reminder to make sure I did something celebratory.
But this time it was different. You see, on the very same day, my second book—Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your Career—was released on amazon.com.
When I planned the book’s release months ago, I chuckled a bit as I picked the date. I didn’t choose my birthday for sentimental reasons or nostalgia.
I just thought it might be funny, convenient even, for the dates to coincide. One less date to remember. And since I could manage it, well, why not?
Wave Hits, Heart Swells
On the morning of September 18th, I woke up early and checked Facebook, text messages and emails for birthday greetings. Okay, I admit, I’m not above checking to see who remembered 😃
The email from Amazon caught my eye immediately. It reminded me that my book was “now available”.
It’s not like I forgot. No one forgets their book being released!
But I did not anticipate the other feeling that hit me like a wave. It was more than the anticipated excitement or happiness, and I didn’t immediately have a word to describe it (so much for being a writer).
I sat on my bed for a long while and reached for the proof copy of Break Free.
This time last year, this book did not exist. The words had not been written. Twelve months later, forty-seven thousand words later, I held it my hands.
It’s real. It’s here. I could share something of my own with the world.
Some of those were marked by parties and vacation trips. On a few occasions, I had excused some expensive purchase as “my gift to myself”. And while I recalled those past events with fondness, nothing compared to the joy—the swelling in my heart —that I felt this year.
This year, I got to celebrate this birthday, this milestone, with something that I created. On my own. For no other reason than because I wanted to create it.
Marking Future Birthdays by What I Create
My age tells me it’s unlikely I will have as many future birthdays as I’ve already enjoyed.
There are still so many things I want to do. So many more places to visit. So many more adventures to experience.
But there is one thing I will strive to do. For as long as I have the agency to do it.
I will create. I will endeavor to consume less and produce more (or at least, as much).
More than likely, many of those creations will not be perfect. No doubt, some will not be good enough to share with the world. But I will endeavor to create them nonetheless.
I will mark the passing of the years through what I create and bring out from within.
For what use are our talents and skills if they’re not engaged in imagining and then building the very thing that we dared imagine.
Just as my role model Joanna Penn does, I will do too. I will measure my life by what I create.
My new book Break Free: The Courage To Reinvent Yourself And Your Career is now available on Amazon, in print and Kindle versions. It is all about helping you make the critical decision to take command of your career direction so you can build the one you want.