Well, I was supposedly going to do quarterly updates this year, but what the hell, 2/3 is good enough, right? At least it’s better than nothing. The first half of this year went so fast, but was also so laden with unhappiness that I could never really find the capacity to write. However, I want to take you back there. I want to take you back to all that has happened that has led me 2,300 miles away from a city I called home for 13 years.
When I wrote my 2017 post on Create and Persist, I don’t know that I could have foreseen how accurately they would have encapsulated my year (to date at least). I don’t think it’s any secret that I have been unhappy in Seattle for quite some time. While I loved my friends and the natural beauty of the city, there was so much more that was dragging me down. And now looking back, it probably wasn’t the city’s fault, I had just over-stayed my welcome there. Late in 2016, I started thinking about moving. I wasn’t exactly sure where or when, but I knew I wanted to try something new. So, I did what I do best, and created a plan, a spreadsheet. I identified various cities I was interested in, and started researching. I looked at cost of living, culture, job markets, etc. I followed hashtags and read blogs. But somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I wanted to move to Detroit. Had I been there? No. Did I know much about it? Not really. But yet still, I wanted to move there. So, I did the responsible thing and booked a trip there to check it out.
I visited the D in February with a friend, wanting to see it at its worst. The joke was on me because it was 65 degrees and sunny the whole 4 days we were there. The city was everything and nothing I expected. It was alive and vibrant, it was friendly and spread out. It was alluring…and it sucked me straight in. I left after four days swearing to one-day make it back.
When I got back home to Seattle, my dissatisfaction with my current life tripled. Everything was exacerbated by how good it felt to be in Detroit and how bad it felt to be locked into Seattle. So, I made an executive decision: to apply for jobs in Detroit and just see what happened (basically, f*ck the plan). I found a recruiter and set off in a mission to get out. By April, I had landed an interview with a manufacturing company north of the city, and they ended up flying me out for a day to have an in-person with them. I thought I had nailed it. I was certain that this was it. And as certain as I was, I still managed to have a full panic attack with some fun PTSD mixed in.
While I was waiting to hear back on if I had landed the gig, I started stressing out about the move (it wasn’t going to be paid for), and uprooting my whole life. I had major flashbacks to when I decided to leave my previous job and how I had gotten sick at that time. I was convinced that I was going to get cancer all over again as a cruel form of déjà vu. All of this left me sleepless at night, with crushing chest pressure, and accelerated heart-beats. Needless to say, I booked an appointment with my doctor to see if I was going insane. She ran all the tests to ensure it was all in my mind (and it was) and we had a conversation about life-changing moments and their mental/emotional impacts. The day after, I found out that I did not get the job. Wut?
Yeah, so that happened. I was devastated. I was instantly thrown back into the rejection bucket and fell into a mini-depression for a couple of weeks. I wondered again if I was ever going to be able to get out of this spot, this job, this city? I felt like I had done everything that I could possibly do and yet something was keeping a very firm grasp on me. I was angry and frustrated and hurt.
In spite of all of this going on, I feel like it’s important to note that I was still continuing to live my normal life in Seattle. My calendar was still full of happy hour’s, and dinner plans. I still went to parties and bars. I managed to go on a couple first-dates, and had a FWB situation. I joined ClassPass and found several classes that I attended once a week (give or take). I formed new friendships and went on some weekend trips. My final months in Seattle, while internally were hard and frustrating, were also filled with a lot of laughter and fun with my friends.
At the end of May, I received a call from my recruiter practically gushing that he had found the perfect opportunity for me. It was so perfect that he had just gotten off the phone with the Controller and didn’t even have a formal job description for it. He explained the company and culture. He gave me some details on the management and asked if he could submit me for it. I said sure, what the hell. Within a day, I had a 2 hour skype interview set up, which was then followed up by another 1 hr skype interview the following week. One final 1/2 hr call with the Controller 3 days following and I received the best call ever 1 day after. I had received the offer. And the offer was outstanding. The company was exactly who I wanted to work for, and after pulling my jaw off the floor, I promptly took myself out for a mid-day martini to celebrate my achievement and also to freak out that I had actually agreed to move across the country. This was mid-June and we all agreed that I would start mid-July. That gave me one month to get my entire Seattle life wrapped up and ready to go. It was a whirlwind. A major, major whirlwind.
My final days in Seattle were filled with as much time as possible with all of my friends. I went to the restaurants I would miss, and saw the sights I wouldn’t see again for a long time. I went through every single thing in my apartment and purged as much as possible to ensure I was only moving the absolute essentials. I gave away furniture on Buy Nothing and watched my life that I spent 13 years building come to a close. It was surreal. It was emotional. So emotional. Saying final goodbye’s was the hardest. Realizing that some of those friendships would go no further was harsh. Facing my own reality of imminent change was like living in a dreamworld.
By the time I hit the road to make my 4 day, cross-country trip, I was ready for some quiet and solitude. I was overwhelmed by everything that I truly welcomed time for my thoughts and processing. Just Ginger and I out on the open road. However, our road trip didn’t start as easily as I had hoped. My air-conditioning went out on my car several years ago and I never bothered to see about fixing it because it’s only hot in Seattle for like a minute. I thought driving 70-80 miles per hour would keep our car pretty cool on this trip, so I still didn’t bother to fix it because I was trying to save as much money as possible. Once we hit Eastern Washington, I realized how big of a mistake this was. Ginger was so hot, I had to stop every hour or so to cool her off. Getting stuck in parked traffic on I90 just outside of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was seriously trouble. I ended up peeling off and finding a park for us to sit at for an hour or two until traffic began moving. It was hell and it was the first moment that I wondered if I was actually doing the right thing.
Back on the road, we eventually made it to our Day 1 destination of Butte, Montana. I was so happy to shower and lay down. Then the thunderstorms began and sent Ginger pacing and panting back and forth in our room. Poor girl, she had to endure a hot, shitty drive all day, and now bad weather to send her panicking. Eventually it subsided and we both fell into a deep slumber only to be woken up by more thunderstorms. The only thing I could do for her was get her in the car for Day 2, and hope that we drove out of them quickly.
Montana is a very, very, VERY big state. We drove and drove and drove and saw lots of pretty things, but all I wanted to do was make it out and into North Dakota for second day. We were making excellent time when we hit Billings, so I decided to pull off for lunch and a break from the hot car. Side note: When I decided to embark on this solo, cross-country road trip with a dog in the middle of summer, I didn’t think about the issue of being able to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t take her into restaurants with me, and I couldn’t leave her in the car because it was an inferno, so public parks became our best friend. We would hit a drive-through, and find the nearest park for quiet, bathrooms, water, and a break. It was our saving grace. After about an hour at our park in Billings, we got back in the car only to find that something was going terribly wrong. My check engine light was flashing, my car was stuttering and I was in hell. I’m going to fast-forward through the dramatics, but this was the low point of the trip. Again, I seriously wondered if I was doing the right thing. We ended up spending the night in Billings since it was a Sunday and nothing was open. Monday morning, I was first in line at Sears to get my car looked at, and after 5 hours, new spark plugs, new wires, new something-else-i-cant-remember-the-name-of, a top off of oil, air conditioning fixed (because at this point, why the hell not?!), and $500, I was back on the road in good shape. I was never so happy to leave that God-forsaken state. Part of me will always hate Billings, but honestly, it was the best possible scenario to be stranded there versus the side of the road, or some po-dunk town that either didn’t have a hotel or a hotel that would take dogs. All in all, I was really lucky.
Day 3 ended up being uneventful and landed me in Fargo, North Dakota. Driving across ND was so much prettier than driving across SD which is the trek I did moving out to Seattle. ND for the win, definitely!
Day 4 took me to Milwaukee and into the arms of dear friends. I was so fortunate to be able to spend time with them, have a home-cooked dinner and just relax.
Day 5, I made it Michigan. I was never so happy to be able to stay in a place longer than a day. While I love adventure and travel, I do like being able to plant myself for longer than 24 hrs. I stayed in an extended stay hotel for a week and then was able to move into my apartment.
And since then, it’s been a constant surprise of learning this new state, settling in. establishing my residence, talking to strangers and balancing my friendships back west, with my BFF being in SE Asia all month. So, while the nuts of bolts of my beautifully laid out of plan back in January may have changed, I think the underlying theme of create and persist is very present. I have truly created a new life for myself, a new life that I definitely want to be living. And I persisted until I made it here, and I persist every day in making it great.
So, are there things that I’m changing about my previous post? Definitely not under the create category as they were all broad and can be interpreted wherever I am. Within the persist category:
Minimalism – still a focus and actually a heightened focus now that I have less space
Free options – so many of the events in Detroit are free (yay) which makes it easy
Books – I’m so far behind in this goal. I should look into the local library
Fitness – Crossfit 2x/week for 1-3 months, then 3x/week (depending on consistency)
Home chore list – small space forces this on me which has been nice
Writing – Want to join the meetup group to give me consistency
WWOOF – on pause, maybe 2018?
Khan Academy – not happening 2017
Meditate – May put off until 2018
YPOS – Not in Seattle anymore
I feel pretty solid about where I am right now. I hope the next check-in will bring some other new and interesting highlights.