Wednesday November 30th, 2016: Chicago to Los Angeles
Where do I begin? If you had asked me on my 29th birthday where I would at the age of 30, I certainly don’t think I would be responding with, “packing all my shit and heading to Australia for a year.” And no, I decided this long before the ridiculousness that was our 2016 Presidential Election (I swear I’m moving on and hoping for the best, what else can we do at this point??).
I think I just woke up as I was heading towards my 30th birthday and realized that I was nowhere near where I thought or had planned to be. I’m a first born natural overachiever and I think most would agree, a planner. So when I realized that this “plan” wasn’t working out i.e. I was unhappy with my corporate job, single with no prospects, and just all around feeling like I was just going through the motions of life.; I decided to shake this shit up in a big way.
As a planner, you don’t just wake up and decide to move to a different country. I first thought, maybe I’ll jump ship and move somewhere new? Right away Colorado came to mind. I had friends there and it is fucking gorgeous (mountains get me every time). Being that I am from Illinois, you are probably thinking, why not someplace warm? Well, I love snow! I think its beautiful especially when its untouched (kind of like my body right now—-if you don’t like a little raunchy turn back now because it will only get worse! Amy Schumer and I are spirit animals.). I love a beach too, don’t get me wrong. I just love hiking and being outdoors more (this love came later in life, I was definitely not into that growing up). Naturally, I called my freshman year roomie Maddie (who lived in CO with her amazing Aussie hubby Jamie) and mentioned something about heading her way for a change of pace. I had quit my job in April and was eager to look for something fresh. She immediately was supportive of this idea. But then she mentioned that her and Jaime would finally be making the leap to Melbourne, Australia, come the fall. I instinctively said, “Maybe I should come with?” She responded with “shut up, no you wouldn’t.” The only thing holding me back was my rockstar family and friends and they have always been a supportive bunch, so I told her to ask her husband if he was cool with a semi-permanent third wheel for a year. Needless to say I’m on my way to Los Angeles where I will get on that plane for Melbourne at 10pm tonight, with a 12 month work/holiday visa ready to go.
I’m sure you are asking why I left my well paying job for a life of unemployment and living back with my parents after 12 years of non parental cohabitation…but it would be hard to tell that story without sounding like a totally disgruntled employee. I don’t want to piss off a company that was really good to me for the most part. My issue was with where I saw the future of the company going and how OTHERS were being treated. I made great money and got to travel a ton but my friends were having babies and my sister was getting married, I wanted to be home more often than gone, and if I had stayed in my current job, there was no way I would have been there for Vera, Holden, and Hope’s 1st birthday parties or to plan and dominate my sisters bridal shower/bachelorette weekend. These are just a few of the amazing things I got to do while unemployed and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I mean, Lana and I got to celebrate and turn 30 together and I got to play with her 2 adorable kiddos more frequently than I ever had before. I was able to finally visit my bestie Steff (since 7th grade) and her fabulous family in Des Moines, IA. I spent more time and money partying with my Chicago partner in crime Laura (and more days hungover than one probably should—worth it). I found 2 part time jobs working as a nanny for this superb family (I can’t say enough about how well I fit and how blessed I am that they found me-thank you care.com) and also giving out free craft beer from a local show stopping microbrew from my hometown. God, it is literally almost a lifetime of amazing memories packed into 7 months. I would NEVER change this. While it would have been nice to be making more money and putting to use my 2 degrees, time is something you can’t get back and with these people, the moments are PRICELESS.
As the child, from a imperfectly perfect blended family ,that moved away from home, I finally was able to perfect the relationships with my stepmom, stepsisters (who are sisters in every sense of the word), and brother in laws. My dad and I have always been close but living together again after so many years ,of course made us closer. I am so happy to have had all this TIME to work on those relationships that mean the world to me. Family and Friends really are everything. Time spent loving and cherishing people really is EVERYTHING. There is so much negativity, despair, loneliness, and solidarity searching for people to suck the life out of ;so build that wall of people to keep you away from the funk.
At one point, after 2 months of being unemployed and prior to moving in with my parents, I found myself feeling depressed and lonelier than I had ever before. Someone that was so used to a routine, suddenly found herself with more free time than she knew what to do with. Well, after a year and half of traveling constantly for work, I finally caught myself up on ALL my favorite shows. I slept in, I made more excuses for not going to the gym (something that had been such a solid pillar in my life—-25 pounds later, regretting that ignorance. I had the time to get my obliques back…sigh), I stopped caring about what I ate or even wore (I lived in workout clothes—probably why I didn’t notice the weight gain, damn things stretch too much) and I was drinking and partying like I was in college again (pros/cons to this one, the memories gained made the destruction to my body worth it or at least thats what I’m telling myself). But this wasn’t me, at all. People started to notice, so this is where I pick myself up and shake the bullshit off and start anew.
I have a Bachelors in Education, a Masters in Human Resource Management, and now a personal training certificate (this was a goal earlier in the year and by the grace of god I managed to obtain it the week before I started this journey). I have a lot of doors open and available to me but I’m still looking for that passion driver. I know its so cliche to say “I want to wake up and love what I do everyday,” but can’t there be truth to that? I know lots of people that want this and some that actually have it. And no they didn’t realize it at 18 years old. Many people find this later in life (I’m banking on this so just go with it). And now is where you are probably starting to wonder where I am getting all the money for this ridiculous adventure…
I lost my mother at 16 years old. She was my everything and thank fucking god she was smart with her money. Someone that put off working full time so that she could spend more time with me really had to be financially savvy. and boy was she. I did not inherit this trait (not the full kabob anyway). I’m more like my father in this area. We like nice things, we work hard and we buy what we want. It wasn’t until the past few years that I really started saving and thinking about my future. Thankfully I wasn’t too far gone and my debt was minimal (props to my mom for having that trust built when she passed, that paid for my undergrad—that ultimately saved my ass many times over). I would give anything to have my mom back and to have just one more of those epic bear hugs, but I can’t help but feel a bit of an outside push to do a lot of these crazy things from her. She never was able to do a lot of the traveling and exploring that she wanted to do, so I choose to take this adventure for her. If she were here, she might just be sitting next to me (way more preferred than this nice man next to me whose snoring and breath/body odor would probably cause most to immediately regret their seat choice, I’m just trying to remain blessed that I am even on this plane) .
So MOM, this year, my 30th year is dedicated to your loving, caring, outgoing, ridiculously amazing self. I know that you have your hand in this beautiful life I am creating so take this seat next to me and enjoy the ride.
And as for the 12 of you that may be reading this blog and following my journey (8 of which may be family members) ….buckle up, we are in for a wild ride!