On the eve of my 31st year of birth I have been thinking a lot about my life and what I have and haven’t accomplished. And I’ve thought back about my life in the past ten years. Here’s what I’ve found;
10 years ago today: I was in Las Vegas and just attended my sister’s wedding. Turning 21 in Las Vegas kind of sums up this period in my life quite nicely. I had been living the past few years as a college drop out, lived for the party – drinking about 6 nights out of the week, I was broke as a joke and I only worked to pay for my partying. I had no real goal in life and no direction. This is also when I opened up my very first credit card to take on this trip. This is when I would start on my long journey with debt. This was also the year I received 5 W-2’s.. (I took a job at Maynard’s for 3 weeks before I left just so I would have some money for Vegas and quit shortly after) I had no idea what I was doing with my life.
8 years ago today: I was in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan attending Central Michigan University. Somehow I had become wise to the fact that I was on a trajectory to nowhere. Before heading back to school, I was working in a shower head factory and my supervisor had been there for over a decade and made only a few dollars more an hour than I was. Even moreover, I got fired from that job for too many call in’s… This was my path. No, I wasn’t even good enough to stay on this path. I realized that I had no earning potential and no career path and decided I should go back to school. I had a lot of friends at CMU so that’s really the only reason I chose to go there. But it turned out to be one of the greatest choices of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I was still partying way too much and still had a long way to go! This is also where I racked up my $100k in student loan debt.
5 years ago today: I was living in Traverse City and starting off on my career at a financial institution I was also on probation, for the second time, for getting arrested while being drunk and being an idiot. I had to attend three AA meetings a week and had to do random breathalyzer tests. It started off as being a really difficult time and I was really ashamed and down on myself. But the good news was that I was no longer drinking and actually very happy. I was working out regular, eating well, and loving life in TC. Because of my arrest record, and the fact that I felt I shouldn’t even have to say those words, I felt I needed to overcompensate my liabilities. I thought I’d never get offered another job or be able to move up the ladder. So I decided I needed to go back to school to get my Master’s degree and eventually go to law school and become a lawyer. So this was my new path. So on my 25 birthday I was actually in class at the University Center taking a human behavior class. I remember it like it was yesterday. This was the first birthday where I actually felt like an adult.
3 years ago today: I spent this birthday alone at home. I had a brief visit from a friend who felt I shouldn’t be alone so he came and watched a movie with me. But the truth is, I wanted to be alone. I wasn’t happy with my life. Sure I had a path and a plan on how I was going to get there but I wasn’t living the life I wanted. By all accounts I should have been happy. Good job, living in a beautiful place, a lot of great friends… but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t happy at work. I knew I had taken that job as far as I could. It needed to be handed off to someone else so they could make it even better. I knew that any job I took was a lateral move. I had wanderlust. I was single with no real prospects that were emotionally available. This was the start. The start of me trying to make the change that I needed to be happy, abandoning my dream of being a sports an entertainment lawyer, and which ultimately prompted my decision to move to North Dakota. Which as it turns out, has been maybe the greatest decision of my life.
1 year ago today: I had just started a new job as an Office Manager for an oilfield company. I went back to corporate America after I swore I wouldn’t. But this was a rough year for me, as you’ve probably read in my other posts, I was homeless for most of the year (I had a roof over my head but no real place to call my home), working at a job that I hated, and in an unhappy relationship. A year ago today I was in a real low. It just goes to show you that even though you may know how to be happy, there is a real different between knowing and being.
Today: I have a comfortable and cozy home to call my own, a great relationship with my significant other built and maintained on a strong foundation of communication, and I’m working to make money to achieve my financial goals and doing what I want. It’s hard to realize sometimes but we always get what we ask the universe for, it just shows up in unexpected ways and we have to work for it. It’s not going to just be given to us. I look at this birthday and I’m proud of how far I’ve come over the past 10 years. I’ve had some up years and I’ve had some down years, but I try to keep learning from my mishaps and as long as I am always doing better than last year, I think I’m doing just fine. But it’s also taken me many, many years to learn that it’ll never be “perfect”. I’m very hard on myself but the truth of the matter is, everything and every decision has lead me to where I am today. I am alive and well and a good person. And that’s all I can really ask for. I have everything I need to be happy right now. I just need to learn how to live in the present and enjoy it. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop planning and achieving. That’s just who I am. And damn it, I can have my cake and eat it too! And so can you! So happy birthday to me! I’m so grateful to be graced with another year on this beautiful Earth. And pray for many, many more. Everything else is just the icing on the birthday cake!