Off on the right foot…

It’s January 2013 – the month and year I turn 40. I’m not one to get hung up on age. In fact I’m a big believer in that old saying that you’re only as old as you feel. I feel 18 – with (nearly) 22 years of experience. But this one feels different. Maybe it’s because at one point in my life 40 was something my parents and their friends were – a lifetime away. Maybe it’s because there’s so much delineation of value at 40.

Example: the job boards (where I have a little bit of experience) will tell you that job hunting is much harder when you’re 40.

Another: marketers find you less “coveted” even though I have more “disposable” income (hate that phrase) now than at any other point in my life.

Maybe, for me, it’s because I got a late start in my current profession. I spent a good chunk of the 90′s trying to be a professional touring musician. I kept shitty day jobs to pay the bills until the steam ran out of both bands I was in. How much further would I be now, if at all, if I’d used those years at a “real” job? I ask myself that question a lot.

The truth is that I’d never trade those experiences for anything. They are some of my fondest memories and where I made my best friends – friends I’ve kept to this day. Nothing builds bonds quite like driving through middle America in the dead of winter, on the way to yet another show where (hopefully) 30 people would show up, in a 20 year old van with no heat, a constantly failing engine and a hole in the driver’s floorboard requiring the driver to wear an extra boot to keep his foot from getting frostbite. Glamorous. :-)

Which brings me back to 2012. It was a year filled with amazing personal and professional achievements. I quit my job! Holy shit that was scary. I started my own company. Holy shit that was scary. I started teaching and training more than I’ve ever done in my life. Holy sh…well…you get the idea.

I wrote a book too. I can’t wait to actually see the physical product.

The irony of 2012 is that my dreams of world tours are now coming true – in the form of public speaking, book events and teaching. I never saw that coming. With gigs (as I still like to call them) spanning India, Asia, Europe and all over the US I’ve gotten to see the world in ways I only thought I would much later in life. Thanks for coming to see me “play.”

On the personal side 2012 has been a roller coaster of emotion with the continually growing beauty of our daughters etching permagrins into our cheeks coupled with the crushing tragic loss of my wife’s brother – something we’re still coming to grips with.

When I turned 30 I wrote a blog post assessing things up to that point. I’ll dig to find it (long lost blog) and post a link so I can assess my progress against 30 year old me. I think he’d be proud.

UPDATE: I found that blog post I wrote when I was 30. It cracked me up.

I’m excited for 2013. There’s a ton of potential on the horizon. Lots of folks have supported me in the last few years. Thank you for that. It means everything to me.

I hope you’ll continue to join me here, Twitter (assuming it continues to be relevant :-) and in the real world as we build new products, companies and ideas together.

[Jeff]

About Jeff Gothelf

Jeff Gothelf is an agile product designer, teacher, writer and team leader. He is one of the leading voices on the topic of Agile UX and Lean UX. In addition, Jeff is the author of the O'Reilly book (2013), Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience (www.leanuxbook.com). He is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker, workshop leader & trainer. Currently Jeff is a Principal at Neo Innovation in NYC (www.neo.com).
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  • http://twitter.com/jseiden Josh Seiden

    40 is the new 30. Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished so far–and looking forward to seeing what’s next.

    Oh, and 50 is the new 20!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=646692055 Adrian Jank

    Congrats Jeff! Looking forward to the book!