About a week ago I had my 27th birthday. In some respects turning 27 wasn't all that different from turning 25 or 26 - each time I felt the same before and after. But this time the day itself fell when I was on a business trip in Erbil Iraq, and I was arranging a workshop for 100 NGOs and Technologists to train them on how to use technology to fight corruption.
I've come a ways in the past year. I finally, finally snagged myself a job at a great organization, the U.S. Institute of Peace. I have a girlfriend whom I love deeply. I'm a little less in debt, have a little more pocket change. But a lot is the same from the past year, too. I find myself worrying about the future, and trying to figure out what the "next step" is.
I'm beginning to realize this will probably never change. A moving goal post is a good thing for a person, and I doubt (and don't desire) that I'm going to plateau into happy security any time soon.
In this case, now that I've found my way to a great organization, I find myself wanting to change my role inside it. I'm itching to do more than the program assistant work - for all the projects I've organized, I just don't have a head for event logistics, and never truly will. What I really love is doing something creative. I think I'd like to try my hand at developing a serious game for peacebuilding - one that doesn't suck, as so many have before. I've been plugging away and making another game since Shaped (always very slow paced - many steps sideways and three steps back), but if push came to shove and it became my only task... well, I'd rather have that challenge and fail than not have that challenge.
The thing is I realize that this next step, when it comes, is not the end all be all either. It's just the next iteration in a long, complex process. Years from now I'll probably be doing something else very different. On my 40th birthday I'll probably be someplace I can't predict.