On March 2, 2012, I had an interview with a radio station in Grand Rapids, MI. I had a pretty good chance to land the job and was really debating on whether I would want to take it or not. I was seriously debating moving 2 hours closer to my family for the same amount of money. It was a lateral move but there were certain perks and I was also ready for a career change. Although I really loved my current boss, I just knew that was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And I try to practice what I preach; if you’re unhappy then make the steps and changes necessary to achieve happiness. Given you know what you want (that is another tricky part of life, worthy of it’s own blog post).
Amidst all of this struggle, on March 9th my boss sent out this e-mail, which I like to refer to as “the article that started it all” which you can read here. I got to thinking; if waitresses make $300-$750 per day, I would only need 2 shifts to make what I make now per week. If I work as much as I can, I could feasibly pay off my student loan debt in a few years. And then I started imagining life without my student loan debt and boy, did it look appealing! I kind of shoved the thought to the back of my mind. I’ve always kind of thought that I had great ideas, but that I lacked the follow through. And plus, this idea was crazy! It wasn’t until after I spoke with our business consultant at my previous job that I gave it some serious thought. I brought it up as kind of a joke but then she looked at me and said, “are you seriously thinking about doing this?” and I just kind of brushed it off and she said, “well, I think you should take a serious look into it”. KB is one of the most responsible and reasonable people I know. If she thinks there is some validity to this idea then it really made me take a serious second look at it. I googled bars in Williston, ND and just started calling around to see if what I read about was true. A gentleman at DK’s Lounge told me that there were plenty of jobs for the taking but the main issue was housing. He said to not even bother coming if you don’t have housing.
So then I asked myself, “what is a solution to this problem?” And I jumped on my local craigslits for shits and gigs just to see how much an RV or a camper might run me. I found one listed for $850 in Lewiston, MI. So on March 17th, my good friends Tracii and Blain went with me to check out the motorhome. It needed a little work done to it and some TLC but all in all the thing was in great shape. Especially for $850! Turns out the owner bought a pole barn in an estate auction so that he could have a place to store some work equipment and when he won the bid and finally looked in the barn there was this old motorhome, a Dodge Durango, a smaller truck, and a motorcycle. So he didn’t even know he purchased it! He just put it on craigslist hoping to get some money out of it or else he was going to scrap it. So I offered the gentleman $700 for The Bonanza and he took it! Housing problem 50% accomplished.
Apparently, this was enough to make me decide for sure on what I wanted to do. After doing the math and knowing how much it would take to buy, repair, and drive the Bonanza out to ND as well as all of the other expenses I would incur and my savings that I had. I logically worked through the decision and per Dale Carnegie’s instructions I asked myself, “what is the worst thing that could possibly happen if I do this?” And my answer was essentially, I would move back home, find a job, and be left in the same exact situation as when I left. If I could deal with those ramifications then I should do this. And I thought that was a very small price to pay if it could potentially lead to financial freedom. I basically said screw it. I just made the decision to do it and decided that the variables would all fall into place.
On Tuesday, March 20 I gave my boss a six weeks notice. I would leave Traverse City, MI at the end of April, spend two weeks with my family and prepare for my journey, and I would leave for ND by May 14th, which I did. I landed in Williston on May 17 started working at the Lounge on May 22 and landed my second job by July 16. Two months after I got here. It has been such a whirlwind of a spring and summer and I am finally starting to feel settled.
So just a little timeline breakdown for you all;
March 2, 2012 – Interview in Grand Rapids and I was planning on moving to GR and changing jobs for the same pay.
March 9 – I read the article and started down the whole Williston journey rabbit hole
March 13 – KB the business consultant prompted me to do further research
March 20 – I gave my six weeks notice
In the span of three weeks I had made this life altering decision. Although I miss my family and friends dearly, giving up my old life was a small price to pay to gain something completely new and unexpected. Sometimes you just have to have faith. My journey is no where near complete and I have a long road ahead of me, but I couldn’t have dreamed of a better start. I have the tools necessary to accomplish my goal while still building my future. Life is good in my hood, folks.
It’s easy to get complacent and fearful of the unknown and of change. But sometimes you just have to work through it logically and go with your gut. If you keep making the same decisions consistently it’s like following a cooking recipe, you always know what you’re going to get. But if you start to add new ingredients you never know what the end result might be and it may be the best dish you’ve ever tasted in your entire life. Or.. conversely it may be the worst. And some people enjoy and feel comfortable knowing what they’re going to get but for me and my life, I want to stay scared and to keep mixing it up. It’s all about doing the things that I truly want to do and to be brave enough to try for the life I that I want to live. People – there is no reason we cannot have the life we envision for ourselves! I believe a Kennedy once said that the future is not a gift, it’s an achievement. You cannot always plan out your life step for step but you can always keep working towards a better life. Whatever that may mean to you. You have to reach out and grab it, be intentional, and embrace that fact that you can make things happen in your life that you want and moreover, believe that you deserve them. We all deserve amazing lives! And if we’re unhappy with our lives then point at the man in the mirror, my friends (insert Michael Jackson song here), because your happiness depends on only one thing; you.