- I don’t need huge success with my “career” to feel fulfilled. I will work hard and I will learn more, but I do not aspire to be in charge of everything or really anything. I want to continue to work, maybe with a bit of added effort, to keep living life the way I am now. Sure, more money could be nice, but with more money comes more problems – mostly at work. I’m not saying I’ll pass on a promotion or a better opportunity, but I know for damn sure I will not be any happier with more responsibility at work. My main goals: reduce commute, continue to earn the salary I have or more, and expand my knowledge base through classes and volunteer opportunities.
- I was researching the process of buying a house yesterday and it is truly crazy. I am very overwhelmed by what appears to be a lengthy, invasive, and confusing process. I’ve never wanted to own a home – maybe a cottage or cabin – but never a main dwelling. My plan has always been to have a small home/condo/apartment that was near work and to have a cottage/cabin/lot with camper close to nature. Now, I’m not exactly sure what I want – because camping is so much more versatile than owning a specific place for relaxing. Plus, I have access to several cabins and cottages through family and friends – that may be mine someday anyway. All I know, home buying scares me but the possibility of having a solid place to store my gear sounds good some days. For now, the rental life continues – to save more money (because you can’t buy a house with what little I have set aside), to remain fluid in location possibilities, and to remain irresponsible when something really important breaks down.
- My Subaru Outback is by far the best car I’ve owned. It is smooth, comfortable, and has all sorts of tech to help keep me safe. It is great for commuting, but I know it aches (like I do) to get out and see the world a bit more. I have just over 7,000 miles on Black Beauty (like the horse from that movie) and they’re MOSTLY from commuting the past three months. We did, finally, take it camping recently and to Arkansas for a quick friend visit. Sigh. I promise, little Black Beauty, that I’ll give you more adventure soon. In November and December you’ll get to see a little bit more of this country.
- Thinking about friendship over the years – the ebb and flow – and how it all works. I’m truly lucky to have some quality people in my life – here in Texas, back where I’m from in Michigan, and out in cyberspace via a chat about common interests. I’ve become an outspoken person – fighting for my rights, what I believe in, and for what I think is generally morally responsible. I am not sorry if people recoil in horror as I speak some truth or stand my ground. I used to agree with everyone and I was always trying to go with the flow. The flow isn’t working right now. I’m not going to continue to pretend it’s okay to support one thing if it doesn’t support me – like the orange guy. I am not perfect. I’ve made terrible jokes, assumptions and been a stereotype myself. I’m working hard to carve a path for me, people like me, and others who want to have a similar life. I’m a work in progress and will continue to work on improving my word choices, joke subjects, and general conversational topics. I will continue to fight for the rights of people less fortunate than myself, so long as they want me on their side. I will continue to be unapologetic about speaking out or calling out bullshit. You can argue with me all you want, and if you have points I’ll respect them, but I am not going to cave and agree if it does not align with my path.
- Moving to Texas in 2011 was a choice out of desperation. I moved to get a job, because I knew people that could get me a job. I moved from my shared apartment, with friends, to my family’s home. They had a boat, let me live there and contribute what I could, and life was okay. I partied a lot, got that sweet job that paid more money than I ever dreamed… then got promoted to another job that paid EVEN MORE money. My buddy, and previous roommate, moved to Texas for a job too and we rented a house. I was reunited with the cats, friends, and had family – life seemed so good. I met my other half, made a couple of friends, but began to feel sad. The newness wore off – I missed my friends (many of at least 5 years) and my other family. I started to miss trees, nature, cool weather, and all that was happening back in Michigan. I left it all – so I could pay my student loans, buy a car that worked, and start a career. Was it worth the “trade” in the end? I am not sure. Would I trade the experience? No. Do I desire to get on with life and try something else? Yes. Do I think I’m ready to start over again? Hell yes, more fearless than I was in 2011.
- The DFW metro area is huge. I work 40 miles from work, but have to drive 60-90 minutes. My family lives in the same place they did when I moved here, 70 miles southwest of my current apartment and it takes about 75 minutes on a bad day. My friends live a mile from my family, in the same subdivision, and my other friends live 50 miles west of my apartment. NOTHING HERE IS CLOSE. The nearest, semi-nature unpaved path area is at least 25 minutes from my apartment. If I were to drive from my office to my family’s house, it could take 150 minutes. I can remember complaining about traffic in Grand Rapids, where I used to live. It would take a whole 15-20 minutes to get to work while that same distance here takes at least 30. I took Grand Rapids for granted. I took Michigan and her natural beauty for granted. I’m never doing that again. We’ve been looking at cities to explore and move to, and I’m hoping we can find that “smaller city vibe with big city features while being near nature” mix that we want. Good examples include: Grand Rapids, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Portland, OR; and Santa Fe, NM. I’m sure there are plenty of other great places, but these pop in my brain. Someday, I’ll live where there is seasonal snow again!