Looking Back . . . I’ve Come a Long Way Part 1
I’ve been reading a lot of posts on other blogs recently (Get Rich Slowly, Brip Blap, Frugal Dad, Lazy Man and Money) that I really enjoy and after a little analysis I figured out why: they were personal stories about the writers that gave a neat “intro” about something that happened to them that has had an impact on their “financial” lives. So in that spirit, here is a little retrospective about me:
I’m just one of those people that likes to look back and reminisce about the good ol’ days. And I’m not talking about 10 years ago either—a lot of the time it’s just thinking back to last year or two years ago or that ski trip we took last month. If there’s music on or something it gets even worse—I can get pretty nostalgic pretty fast. That’s why I like riding the train a lot or driving by myself—it’s the perfect time to just let your memory wander and bring back some great times.
But seriously, I’m getting married this May (the 25th) and I think that has me even more nostalgic because if you asked me three years ago when I thought I would be getting married, my answer would’ve been something like, “Married? Dude, if I can get a date in the next three years that would be sweet.” I was kind of a downer back then and most definitely did NOT believe I could meet someone, get to know them (and love them), and get married all in that span of time. But here we are and so it’s time to take a quick look back in time. [queue the music]
- August, 2004—I move to Chicago: The plan is to go to grad school for my Masters in Writing, which I was stoked about. I had visions of talking shop with other writers in cherry-wood bars over a pint, going to readings and feeling like a “real” writer finally. I was living like a writer, that’s for sure: I lived in an efficiency in Lincoln Park (sweet neighborhood, awful housing arrangement) but it didn’t bother me. I was alone, had all the space I needed, and no one bothered me. I had no cable, no Internet, no table. I did have a queen-sized bed and a bunch of shelves for my books. I was poor and my dad paid the rent (along with everything else). I went to school, didn’t work, and partied with my one friend that I knew. The more I went out, the more I wondered, “Will I ever meet anyone?” People are nice in Chicago, much nicer than on the east coast, but there are so many young people here that it can get overwhelming.
- February, 2005—I meet a girl: At a bar of all places, with my one, loyal friend. I had just gotten (or was about to get) a part time job working at a bank. Which is good because I remember thinking to myself, “Thank god this happened now, otherwise this girl would’ve run in the other direction.” Later on “this girl” told me she never thought it would get serious. The night I actually met her is a post in itself, but I got her number and the next day I called her. That was the beginning. I remember inviting her to dinner at my place at some point and cooking for her (later on she told me she was impressed). Unfortunately, we had to sit on the floor to eat (which at the time, somehow, I didn’t think was a big deal). She didn’t seem to mind and actually thought it was kind of fun.
- 2005: A few things happen. We go out quite a bit and start “dating.” I meet her friends, she meets my friend, etc. I work at a bank in the mornings doing PR stuff (for like $12/hour) and then in the afternoons I go home and watch Cubs games and at night I go to class. It’s the best thing ever but I get a sneaking suspicion it won’t last. And on my first day at the bank, I look out the window onto downtown Chicago and write on a piece of paper, “I’m closer to the belly of the beast.” So I start looking around for a “career.” I land an internship at a publishing company making $6/hour. Now I can’t watch afternoon Cub games because I work the bank in the morning, walk to the train eating a power bar (lunch), and then go to work at the publishing company for the rest of the day. Splitting the day up is fun and I feel like a grown up. I tell M all about it and I can’t believe she used to go out with a guy that lived in a shitty apartment and had no job. I was “that” guy for a little while.
- 2006: I get a full-time offer from the publishing company making peanuts, but I take it not knowing what else to do. Job hunting can take a lot out of you when you don’t have one. I get a 401(k) for the first time and start dabbling in stocks on my own. My financial awakening is underway. I finish my MA in Writing. I spend a lot of time at M’s because she has cable, a sweet apartment in a cool neighborhood (Southport), and because I like her a lot. Things are going well. I really like the people I work with but I ask for more money because I think I deserve it. They give me half of what I want, which is OK for now. So I take it but start looking around. Advertising suddenly seems very interesting.
- October, 2006: Probably one of the most important months in my life in terms of being a writer/blogger. I realize one day that I’m not in really good shape since my baseball season ended. I haven’t run or worked out in a couple of months. So I pump myself up to go to the gym every day, no matter what. And guess what? I do. I go before work even if it’s raining, snowing, I’m hung over, I crash at my gf’s place—nothing stops me from working out five times a week for a whole month. Until I read about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and that it’s held every November. It appeals to me in a way I haven’t felt since grad school so I pump myself up to do that too. I need to write 50,000 words in a month and to do that I need to write every day before work, so I stop working out and my new routine consists of getting up in the morning, every day, to write. I feel bad about not working out as much, but every day that I sit down to write I feel invigorated and excited—I feel like a “real writer.” As hard as it may feel to someone who has never done it, trust me on this: it’s a habit like any other—once you get used to it it becomes second nature to get up earlier than usual and write. And on the days you don’t, you’ll feel weird. Oh and another thing: you’ll never notice the 2 hours of sleep you leave behind.
I’m going to have to break this up into two parts ’cause it’s getting a little long. So stay tuned for later this week when I post the rest of this exciting story. Same time, same channel.
[Check out Part 2 here]