By: Lisa Slagle
Hi. Normally I write about business or design or things that inspire me, but right now, I feel like writing about life.
Why not? I'll put some headphones on, listen to Ben Howard, and start typing.
I like writing.
As soon as I learned how to write, I was hooked. My parents used to find me facedown, snoring into a notebook, a flashlight running out of batteries next to my head. I'd wake up with no. 2 pencil smeared all over my face like war paint. What do five-year-olds even write about? Pancakes, maybe.
Life is funny, I think.
I love life. I do, and I love the people in it. That's the best part of my job--- talking to the people behind the businesses, using art to express what they stand for and why they do what they do. It keeps me interested and motivated. People are the best.
I like it when they surprise me.
In a casual business meeting at Coffee Traders this morning, a local artist listened to me talk for a few minutes about office space, design, and if I wanted to hire more people this summer or keep doing what I'm doing. He listened carefully, while I ate my breakfast and talked through my options between bites. When I was done, he looked at me for a few seconds, and then said, "You're trying to figure out if you should grow up or not, aren't you?"
There I was, wearing a hand-painted trucker hat, my favorite flannel shirt, and Converse low tops, speaking passionately about my target market and creative process, getting told what was up by a 40-year-old dude whom I was talking to for the first time. He offered no advice or opinion, but merely acknowledged the root of my thoughts for the past few months and carried on quite professionally with our conversation.
It kind of blew my mind.
I turn twenty-seven in about a month, which is somehow three years short of thirty already, and yep, I am trying to figure out if I should grow up or not. The late twenties are a weird and wonderful time, and I have learned more and made more mistakes in the last two years than perhaps the other years of my life combined. (I've stumbled upon greater victories too, though.) Is it just me, or when did people start playing for keeps? It's like everything is more serious than it used to be. When did that happen, and where was I?
Don't get me wrong--I'm completely serious about my business. I care about my clients and getting them results. I care about creating work that I am proud of and passionate about. I care about running my business with integrity and compassion, and I am not afraid of hard work. But... I still love a good powder day, or driving all night to see the ocean on a whim. I still love making breakfast for dinner, sleeping outside, dancing around the kitchen with my dog to "All the Single Ladies," and crashing my mountain bike into rocks. I even still love throwing snowballs at unsuspecting friends all over town and laughing hysterically when I make contact. Maybe this isn't the kind of thing I should put on my business website, but I work with real people every day, and I am a real person, too. So tell me, when do people magically grow up? How does this work? Am I suddenly going to lose interest in awesome things and start using terms like "human capital" and "cross-platform synergy?" Please punch me in the head immediately if that happens.
I think there's a balance, and I seek to find it. Hear me out for a second.
I used to be a bonafide ski bum. I graduated college early to pursue snowboarding, and spent my early twenties snowboarding from 9-4 from November to April and working nights, putting rent money together one month at a time. This made me happy for a few years. I laughed a lot, had terrific friends, and a badass boyfriend. We rode elite terrain all day, every day. It was all about being fast and strong, and I loved the definitive spirit of it. You could either ride a line or you couldn't. Show, not tell, you know?
But the thing is, I got bored with this lifestyle. I might catch some shit for this, but I believe that while being a ski bum is the best life there is, it can be a selfish one. There's more. I can give more. I can make a difference. I never intend to stop snowboarding, and I will always live in a ski town. The mountains are engrained in me, and that couldn't change if I wanted it to, but now I seek balance. I can snowboard three or four half-days a week instead of seven full ones and still be happy. I can make a difference, whether that is teaching at the community college or designing something that brings success to a local business or signing up to maintain three miles of trail on The Whitefish Trail for a year. I've never worked harder than I have in the last two years. I might smell like my base layers occasionally, but I will always show up to work and try my best to create design that matters.
I love seeing local businesses succeed--it's as rewarding as stomping a horrifying cliff line into trees.
And I can probably still hit you with a snowball from half a block out.
Is that growing up?
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