I can’t decide what’s more difficult, beginnings or endings.
I’ve been staring at the same blank page on my computer for over a year because I can’t figure out where to start. For someone who likes to tell stories it shouldn’t be so hard but then I realized I’m the girl that flips to the end of a book to make sure my favorite character doesn’t die, and I get the happy ending I want.
Unfortunately, when it comes to life and our own stories, we can’t flip to the end to see what happens and we can’t always make our stories go the way we want them to. As a writer, it’s a sad realization that I’m not the one with the pen in my hand. Most days I feel like I’m stuck in a choose your own adventure and the only real power I have is to make a choice, and I can only hope that the choices I make will lead to the story and ending I want.
They say it takes five years to change and when I think back to the first day that I walked into my very own apartment, I compare that person to the person I am today and they’re entirely different. It’s been a long road filled with a lot of hard lessons, the kind of lessons that leave those painful scars. But we all know with scars come the best stories and I can say I’ve got a few good ones.
I promised myself after I got divorced that I was going to live alone, at least for a year. There were things I knew I needed to learn to do on my own, like kill centipedes, use a drill (fill all holes that were a mistake with toothpaste), and learn how to be ok with being alone.
The day I moved out of my apartment I was a little sad, but I felt a sense of accomplishment. I closed the door and smiled because I was off to start a new adventure with a girl I met at a bar.
When I met Roomie, it felt like it was fate. I don’t think we meet people by accident and the day after I signed that lease and met her for dinner, we both ordered gin and tonics and we talked about our experiences being teachers, our experiences living in the Carolinas, and our experiences with divorce. I think we stayed out longer than we intended because we didn’t expect we’d have so much in common.
We were two girls that just went through an intense life change and we could appreciate each other’s stories. We understood things about each that other people didn’t, and we didn’t have to explain things to each other the way we had to explain them to other people. We were on the same page and for each of us, it was a relief.
We were attached at the hip and quickly established that personal space wasn’t a thing. If we needed to talk about one of life’s pressing issues- boys, jobs, or choosing between a Malbec or Shiraz, we would burst into each other’s rooms and bathrooms. I can tell you you’ve never seen two girls with more pressing issues and I’ve ruined more of Roomie’s peaceful bubble baths than I can count. She’d light all her candles, put on that damn Norah Jones station and without fail, as soon as she was in that tub I’d barge through her bathroom door like a bull because I had something I HAD to talk about.
We were a hilarious pairing and if we had to be storybook characters, I’d be Peter Pan and she’d be Wendy. And then one night on NYE a girl showed up at the bar, Twin, who happened to be all the Lost Boys rolled into one.
Maybe we had a little too much fun that night, because the next thing you know Roomie and I were packing our stuff, throwing it in the elevator and sending it to the top floor. It was time for a new adventure and I don’t know who was more excited, us or the neighbors. Three divorced girls in a penthouse, we were the gift that kept on giving.
For as much as everyone thought we spent all our time swinging from the chandelier, our lives behind closed doors played out a bit differently.
We all came together at an interesting time. Twin had just gotten divorced, moved back to Cleveland and was getting settled with her new job. She was exactly where Roomie and I were three years ago, and Roomie and I now had our focus in other places. Roomie just changed jobs and really wanted to meet someone and settle down. I was starting to rethink my career and as for dating, well, I had to rethink that too.
The thing we’re realizing is the more we start to understand ourselves and what we want in life, the stronger, and more intimidating we’re starting to become. It made that big dating pool we were once fishing from shrink down to a puddle. It didn’t stop us from trying and it didn’t stop us from making fun of each other either.
Twin loved going on dates and she always had a strong line-up, Roomie and I would tell her to calm down and focus. Roomie wanted to meet a guy, commit to each other on the first date and then live happily ever after. We’d tell her to get a life and relax with her demands. I would tell them that my new crush that I had the back and forth with was going to come dashing in and tell me he was in love with me and my love story was going to be the most epic blockbuster movie of all time.
“OHHH GROW UP!”
We’d laugh, order a whole lot of Chinese food, and laugh some more, but we had to laugh because the truth was that it hurt.
I sat at lunch with Ace one day and I told him to tell me what my thing was. I wanted to know why guys I liked wouldn’t date me, everybody has a thing and I wanted to know what mine was.
He stopped for a minute and stared at me.
“You’re too self-aware. You know everything about yourself and it intimidates people, especially guys. You’re finding guys that are too insecure and they’re never going to be enough for you.”
The pool that turned into a puddle now felt like it turned into a single drop of water.
For the first time everything was starting to catch up with me and now I could feel it, my career, dating, financial issues, you name it and it was staring me in the face. It wasn’t just me, it was happening to Twin and Roomie too.
As the story goes, three can be a crowd. While at one point we may have all been on the same page, it became apparent that we were moving in different directions and we didn’t always see eye to eye. Twin stayed in the penthouse and Roomie and I moved to the next building over. We talked about getting our own apartments, but again we were faced with that sad fact that we couldn’t afford to live downtown by ourselves.
We settled into our new place, but I honestly wondered where our roads would take us. I remember the night of Valentine’s Day I ran into Roomie’s bedroom and I stood there in my t-shirt and underwear and I told her I spent the entire day in my bed eating pizza and binge-watching Netflix and it was the best Valentine’s Day ever. I invited her to my no-pants pizza party but she started sobbing, I felt like a simple “no” would have sufficed. She told me she wasn’t crying because it was Valentine’s Day, she just wanted to know when everything was going to change. She wanted to know when she would finally meet a guy that wanted the same thing as her.
I felt bad, I knew exactly how she felt and I didn’t have an answer. She stayed in her bed and cried, I went back to my bed and ate more pizza.
Little did either of us know that our lives were about to change.
Roomie met a guy at a bar, that one place she said we’d NEVER meet a guy. They went out on a date the next night and told each other how serious they were about finding someone and how they weren’t going to play games with each other, like this was it. I’m rolling my eyes and vomiting as she’s telling this story because it sounds like torture, where’s the angst?! You can’t have love without angst, it’s a scientific fact, I googled it!
But this wasn’t my story, this was her story and it was exactly what she wanted. And I got a third roommate because after that date he basically moved in.
Truth is, they were perfect for each other and he was a wonderful third roommate. He figured out that all he had to do was feed me and I’d keep coming around.
I was travelling a lot more for work and I’m starting to realize work travel isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, I’m dreading every time they’re telling me to get on a plane. I’m not laying on hotel beds, I’m lying on the floors of hotel bathrooms puking all night because I hate where I am. I can’t figure out what’s wrong, I’m making money, I’m moving forward in my career- I wanted this. If I wanted it so badly, why did I hate it and why did I hate it so much that it was making me sick?
I’m starting to mention things to people and everyone thinks I’m ungrateful.
It’s not that I wasn’t ever grateful, the opportunity that I had was incredible. But the more I travel, the more experience I’m getting, the more I realize I’m changing and I’m morphing into this different person and as I look around the only thing I notice is that everyone else is staying the same. Things start to take a turn and all of a sudden, instead of looking like this strong employee, I look like a massive bitch.
I wanted more money.
I spent most of my time comparing myself to my friends in their 30s. They all owned their own houses or had their own two-bedroom apartments complete with garages for their high-end cars. I’m sure living in a penthouse didn’t do me any favors and no matter how many commission checks I banked, it didn’t change the fact that I was in my early thirties and couldn’t afford to live on my own. Sadly, I didn’t even know if I liked my career, I didn’t feel very fulfilled- not that I even knew what that meant, but I had no idea where I was going to go because I was 34. How could I possibly start over again?
For so long I believed the lie that Corporate America sold to everyone, that there was room for growth. Before I knew it, I’m looking around and I’m noticing that all higher-level positions are occupied by family, friends, and yes-men. I was option D- None of the Above, so where did I belong, I had no place. My dad’s voice was blaring in my head, “Honey. Remember, it doesn’t matter how good you are and how hard you bust your ass, there’s only one thing that ever matters and that’s who you know.”
I hit the ceiling and it was concrete. There was no breaking through and I didn’t want to admit it because I didn’t know what to do. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted in a career.
Over time I had realized that my job transformed into my marriage and I shut down.
I knew this for a while and I was pissed at myself. How did I get here AGAIN, how did I wind up in another shitty relationship and now, how do I get out? But I hung on, because I thought it would change and I thought I would get what I wanted.
I will never forget the day I called an impromptu meeting. There was a bonus structure proposed that I hated, and I told the girls that were on the team that we needed to come up with something different. I wasn’t marching into my manager’s office to complain, I had to deliver a solution.
Everybody’s on board, and out of nowhere one girl gets frustrated and says she doesn’t care. She said she shows up to work and does what she’s told and that’s what she’s going to continue to do. She walked back to her cube and sat down.
I was unofficially leading a division at work and they were never going to make it official and give me the title, everyone knew it. I’m not corporate, I don’t follow corporate rules and if you look me in the eye and tell me I need to go left, I’ll look you in the eye and smirk as you watch me go right. I’ll do it just to spite you and that will serve as your warning to never tell me what to do.
When that girl went back to her desk, I was done with corporate America. I hated the lack of passion, you can’t motivate people that don’t care to do more in a job than clock in and clock out. I didn’t want to be here anymore, I had no idea what I was even fighting for.
My dad had a keen sense for bullshit and if he found out you were bullshitting him, he’d call you out and then he’d tell it like it was- and he wouldn’t hesitate to do it in front of a room full of people. They don’t tell me I’m my father’s daughter for nothing.
I walked into a ridiculous meeting one day, they asked a question, I called bullshit and I told it like it was.
My dad and I are best summed up by a George Carlin quote, “Everyone appreciates your honesty, until you’re honest with them, then you’re an asshole.”
Everyone loved my honesty but then one day I became the asshole and three days later they fired me.
I didn’t get a severance package and they denied my unemployment three times before the state approved it.
Since I didn’t think I was that big of an asshole, I spoke with an attorney and she told me I had a case, but she wasn’t going to take it because she was going to have to invest too much time for such a small return. Then she hit me with something that I wasn’t ready to hear, it was the reason I stopped writing.
She said if I filed a lawsuit the danger with me was that I had a blog and if people really wanted to fight me back they were going to go after my blog, she told me that was a fight I wasn’t ready for. She knew I didn’t understand. The more we talked a tear rolled down my cheek because I finally got it. They were going to turn me into the single, jealous female that was mad her manager wasn’t paying attention to her. I told the attorney that they’d never fight me back that way, but then I never would have thought they would have fired me either.
I had always played the bitch, it was a role I was comfortable with and a role that I could play well. I never played the whore, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want that role. She was right, I wasn’t ready.
I hated my blog, I resented everything I had ever written because I didn’t understand how people could take what I was saying and use it against me. I had worked through so many things and I had come so far, I didn’t know how people couldn’t see that story. But then I remembered the time HR went up to a coworker and voiced their concern about me because they discovered I had a blog … a blog that they never read. They read the titles and that’s how they formulated their opinion about me. I was defined by click-bait.
I was a book judged by its cover.
I stayed on the phone with the attorney for a while and she told me if I called her in the morning she’d give me a list of attorneys that would take my case, but she told me instead of calling, she hoped I’d take her advice.
The next morning, instead of calling the attorney I took her advice. I had to figure out how to see this as a blessing in disguise and use the time I had to figure out what I wanted in a new career. I sat at my desk and made a list of everything I loved in life. There was no job that was revealed, there was no grand plan or steps that appeared that would lead me to a new career. It was just a list of things I loved.
My friends and family all started pushing me in the direction of another corporate job, but I told them I wasn’t doing it. The only advice they were giving me was the advice they’d give themselves. I told them the job that I wanted and the job that I would get wouldn’t be the one listed on Monster.com and I left it at that.
I called Alex and we started our Locked Chronicles vlog. I needed to talk to people that had positive stories, I needed to find out what people did when they knew they needed to change careers. How in the hell in your thirties do you find that thing you’re looking for? And what is the thing you’re looking for? I had no idea where to start or what to do, but I did know that people’s negativity was killing me.
Months go by, I’m in love with people’s stories and I love that I tried something new. I hated being in front of a camera, but I forced myself to get over a fear. For as much as I loved all of it, it’s not really opening the door to any jobs and I’m starting to feel the pressure.
I was due for a night out, fortunately my nephew came to Cleveland with all his friends. I hit the town with a bunch of 21-year-olds and I took them right to Dive bar. It was the easiest place they were going to be able to chase girls and I’d be entertained watching.
I started talking to a guy standing next to me and we figured out we lived in the same apartment building. He was cute and funny, so naturally we swapped numbers. We talked for a little while longer and then when he walked away some girl ran into the bar and started yelling his name, it’s just that the name she was calling him and the name he gave me were different. I rolled my eyes and I took a step toward him, I was ready to rip him a new asshole but then I said screw it. This was no different than any other time I went out and I don’t know why I expected any guy to be different, especially a guy I met at Dive bar.
For some reason I text him the next day, I NEVER do that. I decided I did it because Roomie always yells at me and tells me when it comes to guys I never try, so I tried, and I never heard back.
Honestly, I wasn’t that upset. I hated that I didn’t have a job and the last thing I wanted to do was tell a guy I just met that I was 35, unemployed, and clueless as to what I wanted to do with my life. Plus, I was fearful that if I dated someone I was going to accept any job so he wouldn’t think I was unmotivated and lazy. I decided that staying away from boys until I had my career figured out was the right thing to do.
Aside from my night out with my nephew. A month later I finally pulled it together and went to a food and wine tasting with one of my girlfriends. Before I left Ace and Gary started texting me. They were at a wedding with an old neighbor of ours, he was a developer and told them he could use an extrovert and a face for his company- cue Gary. And he delivered!
A few days later I’m sitting at a conference table with my old neighbor at one of his buildings. As we’re talking, there were things I was picking up on.
It wasn’t long before this happened that Ace and I had a talk and he told me that in both my career and dating I would need to be with someone emotionally intelligent. Here I was, sitting at a table with my old neighbor, soon-to-be boss, and not only was he emotionally intelligent but he was passionate about everything he was doing. Working for him was a no brainer.
I had spent years in corporate America chasing money and if you followed anybody you only followed them at the promise of more money. You’re trying to keep up with people who lack passion and ambition, they have no idea what’s driving them, and it leaves them all directionless. The only place they ever lead anyone was in circles and then one day you finally realize the reason you’re lying on bathroom floors puking is because you’re dizzy from being stuck in a race you can never win.
The conversation we had that night never revolved around money, the promise of huge commission checks, or the potential for job growth. We talked about the things that drove us, the things we loved and the things we were passionate about. For the first time, money wasn’t my objective, I was now motivated by what I loved, and money would be the byproduct of all those things I loved. This was an opportunity.
I would have never said I had a passion for commercial real estate, but it wasn’t so much the buildings that I loved as it was the people that occupied them.
I immediately took to a caterer, obviously. Aside from the fact that she kept me well fed, she was a female with presence. One day she walked into a room and even if you didn’t know who she was, you knew she was somebody- and you wouldn’t mess with her. She was the first female in business that I looked up to, which is sad that those kinds of females are so few and far between, but I felt fortunate that she was there. She was always sharing some amazing story or meaningful song with me and for that I was grateful.
I walked in the lounge one day for lunch and she asked me why I wasn’t dating anyone. I shrugged my shoulders and told her I was pretty bad at dating. She paused for a minute and then she looked at me and said, “Hey. Our experiences make us who we are and then one day we find someone that understands that, and it changes everything.”
Between Ace’s advice and the caterer’s advice, I knew they were both on to something and if it worked for my career, then it had to work for dating too. Unfortunately, when it came to dating I had yet to meet anyone that was emotionally intelligent enough to understand my experiences, or even want to try.
That night I went home, and I did something I never do. I opened my computer and reread all my blog posts. Some of them made me laugh, some made me cry, and some definitely made me cringe. I didn’t read a story about a bitch, I didn’t read a story about a whore, I read a story about a person who was trying her best to learn from her mistakes and create the life that she wanted.
I realized the one thing that I struggled with most of all was me.
I hated being called tough. People always wondered why I wouldn’t talk about it or admit it, but the truth is being tough hurts. I get knocked down more than the average person, people take their aggression out on me because they know I can handle it, women have me uninvited to meetings because they think I’m going to take their jobs or their boyfriends, men tell me to my face that I’m scary and intimidating and they can’t date me, and I get fired from my job because they need to make an example out of someone and they know the tough one will be ok. When you’re tough, you’re a constant target.
However, I don’t always mind being the target when I know I can help someone, then I’m ok with taking a few extra hits. Sometimes you even get a compliment for taking those hits and it reminds you why you do it in the first place.
The day before I got fired one of my teammates saw me in the hall and told me I had some serious balls and as a female she really respected me and looked up to me. I had never gotten a compliment like that before and it made me feel like I had a responsibility. Other females were starting to look at me the way that I looked at the caterer.
For the first time I finally appreciated my experiences and I understood the reason I am where I am is because I’m tough. I’ve been dealt some crushing blows and every time I’ve picked myself up and I’ve kept moving forward and if there’s anyone standing in my way, they either move or they get run over.
Day by day and little by little I felt like I was finally getting back on track. I ran outside one night to meet the neighbors and I bumped into a guy I knew, he was with one of his friends. Turns out his friend was the guy from the bar that lied to me about his name.
Of course, I didn’t hesitate to call him out and we all had a good laugh. We started to hang out and it was fun, and it was easy, and I found out that he could do man things, like build stuff with real tools. When we were together we were turbo charged and we’d stay up until 5 or 6 in the morning talking. I thought he was going to be this douche with great hair that drove a BMW and thought he was better than everyone else. Instead, he was this grounded, annoyingly pretty hillbilly. He drove a truck, liked to play in the woods, and drank shitty beer by choice.
Imagine my surprise when I walked in his room and saw a stack of books that were the same books I ripped off the shelves every time I went to the bookstore, and these aren’t books you read to pass time, these are tough books, like, Eckhart Tolle kind of tough. Our conversations could stay surface level and then take a turn and get deep, and it was normal. We talked about everything, and he was the first guy to ever ask me questions about my divorce, my dad, and my life in general.
For as much as I loved all of it, I was still hesitant because everything that was happening was falling in line with everything else I’d experienced that never worked. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and there was a stutter step. We lived three floors apart and making plans and getting together should have never been as hard as it was. I knew he wasn’t over it and I backed off, I had been here before and I was in no mood to play rebound or therapist. We didn’t talk for two months.
On my 36th birthday guess who reappeared?! The boy who lied (he’s like Harry Potter’s way more fun twin brother).
He showed up to my birthday bash and I was so excited to see him. In the middle of my party we have this serious conversation about why we haven’t talked. He’s mad at me because I haven’t reached out, I’m mad at him because he hasn’t reached out and then I finally get that moment, you know, the one where the guy tells you all those amazing things that you want to hear. For a second I’m thinking things are finally changing, but no, here comes the plot twist. He told me he wanted to move to California.
I was mad he showed up. We hadn’t talked in two months and if he was planning on moving there was no point in keeping in touch with me. None. (I’ll stop you right there, I know what you’re thinking. It’s not sex, I had been sick for a while and eventually had surgery—all totally minor and I am perfectly fine, but the guy wasn’t getting anything out of me.) I decided not to think about any of it because I didn’t know how serious he was, plus it was my birthday and I wanted to have fun because this time last year was not so fun.
We picked up where we left off and I was happy. We went to dinner one night before he left to spend the weekend at his parents and he told me he was definitely moving. He had this look on his face and my stomach turned. I remember I started to fidget and I moved my hand up to my chin to hide my neck because I felt like I was turning red. I wanted to cry, I couldn’t eat and when he made a comment about it I told him the food was terrible when in all actuality I just wanted to throw up. All I wanted to do was go home and if those acting classes that my dad threw me in ever needed to come in handy, it needed to be now.
We eventually walked back home and went our separate ways, as soon as the elevator doors closed I was in tears because I knew what I needed to do. This story was already written, I didn’t like this story and I never wanted to tell it again let alone be in it.
When my ex-husband and I were dating we broke up because he wanted to move and I didn’t. I was lovesick, so of course I guilt tripped him into staying in Ohio with me and he agreed. It only took a few months before he talked about moving again but this time he had a look on his face, and it was the same look I got that night at dinner.
My ex delivered the ultimatum, I either go with him or we break up. I wanted the guy, so I moved.
I thought relationships were about sacrifice, I think we both did, and the way we proved our love to each other was by sacrificing what we wanted to make the other person happy.
Inevitably, the fights start, even when you’re the people that never fight. One day you’re screaming at the top of your lungs that you hate it here and want to go home and he says he hates the house but built it because you wanted it and then you’re screaming back because you never wanted the house you just thought he wanted it and then you both realize that there is so much damn resentment built up between the two of you that there’s no coming back from any of it. We both gave, and gave, and gave to the point that we had no idea what we wanted, we had no idea who we were. We gave up our individuality.
When Roomie and I first moved in with each other I remember she asked what I wanted and I said, “I just want a guy to come and get me,” and I knew I was saying something that mattered to me, but it also confused me because I didn’t really know where it was coming from. I felt like it was a childish statement and I left it where it was because it made me uneasy and I wasn’t ready to unpack it.
When my ex and I talked about getting divorced he was the most emotional I’d ever seen him, and my first thought was- wow, I didn’t even think he liked me that much. He never looked at me the way that I looked at him, but he told me that day that he wasn’t letting me leave, he wasn’t going to let me divorce him. I wondered if he’d really stop me because he’d never done it before, it’s not like I expected this time would be different. Even though a small part of me still hoped, I walked away and didn’t bother turning around, just like every time before, there was never anyone behind me.
Believe it or not, I have no idea what it’s like to be a guy’s first choice. No guy has ever come to get me, no guy has ever made me a priority, no guy has ever looked at me the way that I look at him. The only feeling I know is what it’s like to be somebody’s second and third choice and that’s what I settled for because I didn’t know any different. I know better now, and I don’t want to feel that anymore.
When I sat there at dinner I stared at a guy that had all my attention, but when he looked at me he didn’t even know I was there. He may have been physically next to me, but his focus wasn’t on me, it was on everything else that was going on in his life.
The next day I did something I’ve never done.
I text the boy who lied and I told him I couldn’t see or talk to him anymore. I knew I liked him and there was no point in continuing to see him if he was just leaving, I needed to break my pattern. I needed to stop letting the guy dictate the course of the relationship because what I wanted mattered just as much. Nobody ever asked what I wanted, and I never told anybody what I wanted.
I spent years, in both my career and personal relationships, hanging on, thinking that eventually things would change and I could loosen my grip. Unfortunately, the only cure for achy hands from maintaining such a tight grip is to let go. You can’t try to control people because when you do, you’ve forced or manipulated them into a situation they didn’t choose to be in, whether you consciously know it or not, that’s where the resentment begins and that means you started a relationship that was never built on a solid foundation. Sooner or later it all falls apart.
When I asked Ace what my thing was and why guys wouldn’t date me, he was wrong, it wasn’t my self-awareness. My fault and the answer both lied in my question- I asked why guys wouldn’t date me. I made it sound like I was a undateable, I was the problem and a guy had to choose me to validate my worth. I was waiting for a guy to choose me when I needed to choose myself. I didn’t know how to do that, I didn’t even know what that meant, but now I do, and it’s been added to the list of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
I wish this story didn’t go like this, I wish I could write this story 1,000 different ways other than the way it’s being written right now, but it’s real life, not fiction, and I only get to make the choices. As much as it sucked, this time I made a good choice, and he did too, we both chose ourselves. It takes a special kind of tough to choose yourself and go after what you want, and I think, more than anyone else, I understand exactly what he’s going through. I respect him way too much to convince him of anything other than what he wants to do, his choices are his own, his life is not my story to write.
So, the story goes, I do what I always do, and I move forward.
It’s been 5 ½ years since I’ve been divorced, and my life is something that I never thought it would be. Remember that list I made after I lost my job? Everything I wrote down is everything I have in a job, and I’m holding on to that.
It took me five years to find those things I loved and when I wrote them all down I realized I loved those things because I have stories attached to each of them. It’s those stories that make me feel fulfilled.
Every day I walk into a warehouse and I’m greeted by people who are passionate about what they do. I weave my way in and out of every room and it’s a new person or new group that’s working on their dream. It’s amazing to watch and it’s refreshing to be surrounded by so many people that love their jobs. It doesn’t mean they don’t struggle or have bad days, it just means they have an appreciation.
For a long time, I hated Cleveland. I struggled with the bars and the nightlife, I always felt like something was missing. Nobody thought I belonged here, they all thought I belonged in a big city and for a while I did too. But then I met all these people that understood my experiences and it changed everything.
I started to see things in a new light and I began to appreciate things I never thought I would. I rebuilt my life in a neighborhood downtown that I will probably always have a special attachment to.
Now, I get to work in that neighborhood and I get to help a lot of small businesses and for the first time I feel like maybe I can be the person that changes everything for someone else. That’s a cool feeling.
I’ve never had people come up to me and tell me they were envious of my career or wanted my job, now they do, and I laugh and tell them they don’t want my job. The truth is, you need to have the shit beat out of you first to appreciate a job like this. I know it sounds dramatic, but two or three years ago I would have never entertained the idea of taking a pay cut for a job like this. The days are long, I have to switch gears faster than I ever have before, I’m up against an insane learning curve, everything is so fast paced that there are days I feel like I just get dragged, and any mistakes I make can negatively impact a small business that’s filled with people I love. That weighs on me.
Fortunately, my previous experiences have prepared me for this.
I work with a record producer, we had a meeting one day and he told me his grand vision and every step along the way was picture perfect. I laughed and told him he forgot to add the parts where he’d fail. For a second I think I confused him, but then I jumped right back in and told him the only way to become great, is to fail- and to keep going.
Each failure becomes a lesson, the lesson learned is concrete, the concrete is your strong foundation. Over time, nothing and no one will crush anything with a strong foundation. They’ll try, and you may bend, but you won’t break.
In one year’s time Roomie met a guy, got married and moved to upstate NY. Twin is in Chicago and she’s having a baby (she’s going to be the coolest mom ever). I lost my job, had to do some serious soul searching and then landed a fantastic new gig and a new roommate! My nephew just got a job as a cop in the Cleveland area, so he moved in with me and he brought his cat. She can be a real asshole, but it’s fine, it was a package deal, so I love her too and we’re one big happy family- literally.
This has been one of the craziest years I’ve ever experienced and as much as I want to ask for a refund, the experiences made me that much tougher.
With that being said, it’s time for me to close this chapter. The stories moving forward I’m sure are going to be very different, once again I have changed and my opinions and the way I feel about many things has also changed. I’m excited and I’m nervous, but I’m looking forward to some new and amazing things. I think I have more than proved that it is possible to get what you want and I think I’ve also proved that it is possible to meet some amazing people at bars.
My friend recently got divorced and when he came over one day he asked for the best piece of advice that I could possibly give him. I told him to find the beauty in a blank page.
If that becomes too much, there’s only one thing you’ll ever need to remember to do.
* While this past year may have been a little brutal, I’ve definitely made time for some fun. Here’s a little video of my birthday party. Another year, another ice luge. 🙂