I’ve been quiet over here. But it’s been a busy, humming quiet where the house is being cleared for something new.

A couple weeks ago, I let my team go, and while I haven’t decided what’s next for thinkCHARM, whatever it is will be much more deliberate. Last year when I started thinkCHARM, it was because I had so much work coming in at once. It came from all over the place, but I kept saying yes – and some of the projects quite frankly were horrible. Some of them were boring, but the money was good, so I said yes. A few times, I was approached by some Very Impressive, Big Name Clients who were just an absolute waste of my time. The money just isn’t worth dealing with shitty people, and neither is the learning curve.

Now, I’m working with a few clients and refocusing on my work as a writer, which has been incredibly satisfying. Because of the way the end of the year fell apart with losing clients, medical bills, and more of those wonderful things you can never fully anticipate, I’ve got a little bit of a hole to dig myself out of.

But I haven’t lost faith yet.

After several weeks scraping by, being sick, and otherwise feeling mildly depressed, I’ve been reminded in weird and wonderful ways that the work I do matters. Something happens when you talk with other writers that is hard to quantify the full value of. Last week, I had the luxury of meeting not one but two poets and who better to inspire new thinking? The fresh perspective I was offered was exactly what I needed. I wrote 10000 words on my still unfinished and lingering book last week.

But that’s not all. I’m learning there are so many things that I just rattle off as true, so many things that were once true and gradually I’ve come to say them because I say them, and they have little substance anymore. It’s another skin being shed as I dismantle more of my biases, assumptions, and the things I thought were me but aren’t me anymore.

Things haven’t been easy, but they haven’t been bad either. I turn 29 on Thursday, the last year of my twenties quickly approaching. These past few weeks I’ve applied for several jobs, and I’m in the interview process for them now. Initially, I applied for a tech company because that’s easy. It’s what I’ve been doing. It’s what I know.

And if I’m being completely honest with myself, it’s something I never want to do again unless it’s for an incredible cause.

I’ve talked for years about how useless my degree is – environmental economics, in case you were wondering – but the reality is I was just never sure what to do with it. In college, everything feels like it has to be so concrete and like you should be working towards one specific goal or position, and I hated it. I ended up dropping out before I finish my degree in favor of pursuing freelance writing. I don’t regret that decision. However, in many ways I’ve been taking the easy way out.

Because the whole reason I started pursuing that degree because I realized how crucially important it was to me to do something that mattered, to build something that was bigger than me that would be there for my kids, maybe even theirs.

I’ve spent most of my life in Oregon, the majority of it just outside of Portland. Growing up, I was completely spoiled by lush green forests, public beaches, and finding something like God whenever I’d lose myself in the woods. But the truth is, technically speaking, I’m one of those horrible people ruining Portland who moved up from California. I was born in Crescent City – a blemish of a dying town that exists thanks to a federal prison situated between the beach add Redwood National Park.

And protecting these spaces is in my blood.

So I decided to try applying for a few other things, even if it meant taking a pay cut. And it probably will. But I have been incredibly fortunate and have found multiple jobs that not only will value my degree and the things that I care about most, but it turns out I didn’t waste any time at all pursuing my degree or pursuing my career as a marketer. It feels right to go this way – like everything I’ve done so far really has led me to this point. But from here on out, if I am a marketer, I am marketing exclusively for causes that matter.

I refuse to waste another second of my time working for companies whose values don’t match up with mine. I refuse to Market a product that I don’t believe in. And most of all I refuse to ignore my cut anymore when I start to get those twinges of “You know this probably isn’t going to work.”

What’s next for me is uncertain. I’ll keep freelancing until I find the right fit. I’ll keep doing the work, and I’ll keep doing whatever it takes to get back to integrity with myself.

And when that happens I’ll let you know.