I've spent the last half-hour trying to find what I thought was a TED talk from someone who was giving out flowers to random strangers on the street, particularly those he believed looked like they needed one. I wasn't able to find that video, and I don't remember enough else about the video to help me find it except for this one line:
"Everyone is dealing with something."
That line stuck with me because it came at a time when a friend of mine who now lives overseas came home and a few of us had got together over dinner to celebrate their arrival. During dinner, we somehow got to sharing stories about things that were seriously bothering them at that time, and everyone had something to contribute.
Everyone except me.
It's not that I wasn't dealing with anything, but when I was enumerating the problems I was going through in my mind to see if I had anything to bring to the conversation, they were all rather small and trivial things - the sorts of things a louder person would tweet to the world, and the sorts of things I'd suffix with #WhiteWhine or #FirstWorldProblems.
I've had my fair share of issues in the past, but around the time of that dinner with friends, things really started looking up for me: I had recently switched to a new role at work which was different enough from my previous role that I started telling people I had a new job, and that role was pointing me more in the direction of the sorts of things I'd really like to try and do - web design, with a focus on mobile devices.
For years I've been following a bunch of websites and podcasts related to web, mobile, and graphic design, and for a long time I wondered what it would be like to be a part of that world. (Hell, I got jealous whenever I found out someone I know attended WebStock and I didn't because it costs hundreds of dollars to attend and no way was I paying for that out of my own pocket and no way was I going to be able to convince work to pay for me to attend.) Technically I've been in that industry for as long as I've had this job, but being in the enterprise sector, front-end design was such a small part of it that those articles and podcasts from 'real' web designers was so far removed from the sort of thing I had to do on a daily basis. So when I got asked if I wanted to be moved to a new team being put together for mobile device development, I said 'yes'. And when I learned that the new team were in need of a user interface designer, I said 'hell yes'!
It took a while for that new job to kick off, but when it did I was able to take up the user interface designer mantle. Also, by virtue of being the only person on the team who really knew how to use Photoshop (although I was putting my copy of Paint Shop Pro to use), I became the graphic designer as well! All those UI and UX (user experience) design resources I've been looking at and bookmarking for the last couple of years were finally being put to use, and I was even able to bring in my long-time hobby of artwork and drawing!
No longer was I just hearing or reading about all those design processes - I was doing them: I was making wireframes, developing prototypes, drawing pictures, creating icons and other graphical resources, and getting feedback from the team and other stakeholders to make everything I listed before just that bit better before it went into the final product :)
So during that dinner, when my friends were talking about the problems they were facing, I found that I really didn't have anything to contribute. But when asked about what has happened to me recently, I talked about the feeling of hope that I've now got with my new job: hope that I've finally found what I want to be doing with my life, and hope that this lasts for a really really long time.
Everyone is dealing with something, but for me, for now, everything's alright.