Connection (a poem)

You are the universe reminding me that everything I want does exist

But I don’t get to have it.

In another life, I have loved you with every part of my being

And the atoms of my soul remember that when you are near.

In this life,

I will appreciate this time for what it is

And not make it anything it isn’t.

We have known each other long before now

And I look forward to meeting you again.

Happy New Year!

Like last year, I have gone back and forth about writing this but this year it’s for different reasons.

I actually feel kind of bad writing this years recap and it’s mainly because 2018 wasn’t all that awful for me. I keep seeing a bunch of post about how terrible 2018 was and how 2019 will be better and I wonder if I missed something. I also know that due to moments I had in 2018, I have been hyper aware of the fact that, while my life may be difficult in some ways, there will always be someone somewhere who looks at my life and wishes they had it or something similar. So I’ve spent 2018 trying my best to be positive and grateful for what I have. It’s been an interesting ride for sure.

Did I do everything I wanted? Nope. Did I accomplish all the things I set out to? Of course not. Do I still have time? Sure.

An incomplete list of things I did not do in 2018:

Save money

Move out of my parents house

Eliminate debt (the exact opposite actually)

Avoid my two year car accident curse

Lose weight

Exercise more

Do those last two for a prolonged period of time

Meet Luke Kuechly, have him instantly fall in love and become Mrs. Luke Kuechly, after a whirlwind romance.

The reality is, these are things that have been on my yearly to do list for many many years (including the last one). But overall, despite not achieving them, I had a good year. I would just really like to be able to say that without feeling bad about it.

So, in looking forward, a few areas I plan to focus on and improve in 2019

Financial: I am the first to admit that I am terrible with money. I have a decent job with good benefits. I make enough money to at the very least support myself outside of my parents home. I could probably manage to support myself and my daughter as well if I cut back drastically and we ate a lot of ramen. I don’t want to do that and I am blessed with parents who aren’t forcing me to do that either. I will not apologize for this and in 2019 I want to stop feeling bad about that. When I talk to people about moving out, and I start to feel bad about not having done it already, I realize it is typically people who do not have kids, who left home for college and never moved back. Our stories are different and that’s okay. Being a mother literally dictates every decision I make. And moving out would immediately cause me to be a single mother providing 100% of the financial and emotional support to my child. Until I feel like that is the absolute best thing for us to do…we will continue to stay put even if others don’t understand the decision (and even if my child doesn’t understand it either). Also in the financial realm, I have been working on decreasing credit card debt (Italy was not nice to my credit cards and I have since handed them over so I can’t use them). I even managed a credit free Christmas which I’m proud of. So, I will continue to make double payments to eliminate credit card debt which will all work together to increase my financial stability. Ta-da!

Relationships: I would like to be a better friend. I jokingly but seriously warn people who appear to be trying to create a new friendship with me, that I am a terrible friend. It’s true, but I would like to improve them. I want to stop being late to things I’ve planned with friends or just forgetting altogether. I want to check on people who I haven’t talked to in a while or who I can tell something might be up. I want to see people in person a little more often (if financially possible) and not just get updates on social media. I want to, however, do this in a way that is not emotionally and spiritually draining for me. Being a good friend is hard work. Being present for people and available and listening and offering advice or not offering advice depending on the moment and knowing the right things to say and trying to lighten the mood and just being here…it’s hard. I try really hard not to judge people when they aren’t able to do all of those things for me because I know it’s difficult when we all have our own stuff going on. I realize though, because I have this new found guilt of not having an extremely difficult life and things for the most part are going well, that I then feel like I should do better and be better at all of these things for all of these people. I want to do better but I also want to allow myself grace if I don’t. So, I want to be a better friend. I want to continue to grow other relationships including with family, friends and the boyfriend who I’m pretty sure I bullied into being my boyfriend but now he’s stuck. I don’t think he minds though!

Spirituality: I think this is one area that I have struggled with the most this year. A few years back I was in this great place spiritually and then allowed a relationship to derail that. I don’t have much to say about this one except some work here is definitely needed.

Health: Here’s the big one! I realized a month or two ago that I have never been physically healthy as an adult. That made me sad. What I mean by physically healthy is eating right, at a healthier weight, exercising regularly, not using food as a coping skill, able to walk up the stairs without dying, and overall just happy with myself and how I treat my body. I also realize I spend a lot of time wishing this would change but zero time actually doing anything to make things change. Prior to my birthday and the holidays I was getting things on track. A piece of chocolate cake and some snow basically derailed that. This year I want to obtain a healthy relationship with food and exercise that is not screwed up by a minor speed bump. I also want to look amazing in a bathing suit.

So I think that’s it. Pretty basic really. At the end of the day, I am not perfect, neither is my life, but I want to preserve and improve what I have created and I think the key to that for me is focusing on the positive and allowing grace for myself and others.

I hope whoever reads this is able to find and give happiness, grace and love in the new year!

Help!! Life is Driving me Crazy!!

I’m going a bit stir crazy from being stuck in the house since Friday due to not so hurricane anymore Florence. I’m working on my second puzzle, watched countless hours of tv and movies, taken several naps, eaten my body weight in hurricane snacks and played several card and board games with the family. It was only a matter of time before a blog post came along.

My daughter and I just finished playing “The Game of Life.” First of all, why does this game have a whole name and not just “Life.”

Anywho, I have played this game several hundred times since I was a child. Even though they’ve updated the game and cards, the premise is still the same. Hop in a car, spin the dial, go around the board collecting money, paying for things, getting a job, attempting to live your best life before ultimately retiring while you wait for everyone else to catch up.

Now that I’ve lived a little bit of actual life as an adult…I have a few bones to pick with this game! I’m also adding it to the list of things that seriously set me up with unrealistic expectations of real life adulting.

Here they are:

(I’m sorry there are no funny GIFs to accompany the list…my internet is on the fritz due to the storm and my data sucks)

1. You automatically start off with a car. This is not real life for the vast majority of people. Somehow in the game of life, however, everyone stars out on the same playing field with a whole car. And it doesn’t end there…

2. Everyone starts out with $200,000! Again, not realistic for 99% of the world. It’s safe to assume this game starts out fresh after graduation as your very first adult life decision is to go the college track or career track. I’m not sure I know anyone who finished high school and had $200,000 in the bank whether saved or given to them. My fri bad aren’t rich. I got a lap top when I graduated. Not $200,000. So let’s see, so far in this unrealistic life I’ve got a fully functional car which I did not have to pay for using my $200,000 in cash. Sweet!

3. Career or college track. So this one isn’t so bad. It’s pretty realistic for most people to go one or the other. Going to college track means you get to pick from special, higher paying college track jobs. You also have to pay $100,000 in tuition, which again, not super unrealistic. However, thanks to that random $200,000 you happen to baby lying around you can pay for it outright, don’t have to take out loans, don’t have to work your way through college and can afford to eat more than Top Ramen every day. Sweet!

4. Next stop: pick your career! Again, pretty reasonable. Most people have some sort of choice as to what job they have. Even if that choice is between two jobs they hate or don’t want to do it is a choice. We won’t knit pick this one too much (hmmm knitting. I haven’t done that in a while. I’ll add that to my list of things to do before I go insane in this hurricane). So I ended up being a veterinarian making $100,000. I’m not sure how much a vet actually makes a year so I’ll take the games word for it. I checked out some other cards though and realized this game is ridiculous. They have teachers make $100,000 and athletes making $50,000. We all know that’s a lie. I will say, maybe the game has it right on this one though. That’s definitely how it should be.

5. I only have to work for thirteen years!!! There are a total of thirteen pay days on the board. Assuming I make $100,000 a year and not every two weeks that means I’m only working for thirteen years before I retire. Sweet!

6. Action!! So as you go around the board you pick up action cards that either cause you to earn money or pay money. I had to give Taylor $20,000 for stealing a stapler but earned $40,000 for making a smoothie. These actions are beyond absurd but such is the game of life I guess.

7. You have to get married. There is no way around it. The board demands you to stop and pick a spouse. I have a current obsession with Kaycee from big brother so I decided we were getting married. If this game is going to make me live in a fantasy world where I managed to get married a year after graduating from college with a job paying $100,000 a year then I figured I might as well go all out and marry my current girl crush. Pretend life is good people.

8. I appreciate that it gives you the option to have kids or not. It may force you to get married but it doesn’t demand you procreate. Sweet!

9. Retirement. Every one gets to retire. No one works until one day they go home after the end of their shift and pass away in their sleep because they could never afford to not work, or they had to continue to work because their social security check wasn’t enough to make ends meet. Nope. You just pick wether you want to spend the rest of your life in a fancy mansion retirement home or a cozy cottage retirement home. Sweet! Also, if you are the first of your friends to retire you get an extra $400,000 just because. Double sweet!

10. Remember those action cards?!?! I hope you held on to them, because you get a smooth $100,000 for every action card you earned. Just imagine, if after you retire you got $100,000 for every memory you made along the way! You also get $50,000 for any kids you chose to have. Isn’t the game of life grand!

11. What’s missing?!?! Well, during this round of the game of life, me, my wife Kaycee and our daughter lived in my car the whole time. Yep. I never bought a house. There were chances to do so but I was never lucky enough to land on a spot in order to purchase one. Maybe this part is pretty realistic. But heck, since they were giving away cars and money at the beginning they could have at least hooked me up with a free apartment or something.

So yea…clearly I have spend entirely too much time in this house and the typically soothing sound of rain is actually driving me insane. Someone save me please!!!

It’s Official…

746 Elders Story

Why do I feel like I’m about to throw up? The room is spinning, I can’t have a concentrated thought to last more than a minute and I think I’m becoming a big ball of emotions.

I saw it… The MLS listing for my home, and it may be the first real sign of “wow, this is actually happening”.

I’m on the verge of picking up everything and making the biggest change of my life that I don’t even know I’m ready for.

I know that when I wrote my other blog A First-Time Home Buyer’s Confession…, I mentioned that my house never really felt like a home.  While that is still true, I can’t forget about all of the memories I’ve had there.  Too many to go through, but I’ll share my first one.

I have this thing about when I move somewhere new,  I go in, open the door, blast the Air Conditioner, turn on the fan (if there is one) and then lay down in the middle of the floor.  Alternating between having my eyes closed, feeling the aura of the room, and then having them open, staring into the void of the ceiling fixture. I’ve always done this, ever since I’ve owned my first apartment back in 2009, but this time, it was different.

This was mine…

As I laid there, I thought about what I would do with my own space.  How I would treat it. My first housewarming party for my first home.  Where I was going to put all of the furniture. Buying all of the furniture to be put in there.  My mind was just racing to have this opportunity given to me.  No, it wasn’t given, it was earned.  Then, my mind goes blank, and I just lay there.  I just am.  I feel the air from the AC and ceiling fan blow on me, and I’m just happy to call this new place my home.  After all the time and effort spent on buying a home, I was relieved.

It was a culmination of hard work and an awesome bank that would basically give a loan to a dog as long as it had good credit and made enough money, lol.  No, buying a home isn’t easy and you definitely have to be vetted and go through a long ass process before anything happens, BUT I survived. That was good enough for me to be proud and feel that I’ve beaten a negative statistic about people who look like me in society.

3 years ago, I moved into a place that I could call my own.  Again, hindsight has let me know that right now this isn’t what I need in life, but back then it was a great feeling.  I truly felt like an adult.  Like, I did something amazing.  To own a home at 27?  Especially since I felt like I was sort of failing at adulting at that point in my life. Everything just started going well for me, and I feel like owning a home at that time in my life was a great decision.  However, people and things change, but what won’t change is how grateful I am to have been in a position to buy a home (as little as it is) and also grateful that I have the opportunity to sell my first home to be a part of something better in my professional career.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.  Life is hard.  It comes with good and bad, happy and sad, clear-mindedness and confusion/uncertainty, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Now, I’m off to DC tomorrow to go apartment hunting…I hope I don’t cry.

A First-Time Home Buyer’s Confession…

house-for-sale1

Owning a home is pretty easy.  It’s down right smart, honestly.  It’s like putting an investment into yourself, you know?  Making sure that you have something to show for your hard earned money. AND, it’s relatively cheap, I mean, when you compare it to renting.  You can do anything your little HGTV inspired mind will let you.  You own it! Live it up!

So why do I feel like owning a home isn’t for me?

Being a homeowner for the past 3+ years has had it’s ups and downs.  More ups than downs honestly, but over the past year or two I’ve had this feeling that I was ready for something different (I get like this a lot).  Earlier this year, I was in the process of trying to figure out my next career move.  Along with this came the thought of if this career move would include an actual MOVE move.  It was basically because I didn’t know if I wanted to live in Charlotte anymore.  I’ve gotten into a mood that it was time for me to spread my wings and be a part of another experience.  As much as I love it here (I mean, I have a tattoo of the skyline), I felt like my time was up.  It’s a part of my personality where I tend to get bored and I start to feel complacent.  It affects my mood, and eventually starts to effect my life socially and professionally.  So as I contemplated about the next stage of my life, I could only ask myself, would I end up staying in this same area and grow my professional career in a city I’ve grown to love but essentially have outgrown, or do I make a change now.

There is also this other thing…

Over the past 3+years of owning a home, I’ve yet to feel like I was “home”.  Is this something I’ve done subconsciously to ensure that I don’t get too comfortable and keep myself constantly on the go? Who knows.  My home was OK though.  It was somewhere I slept and chilled out, but never really felt homey.  I don’t know if “homey” is even a feeling that I’ve ever really felt in my home.  My house first felt more like a home thanks to my old roommate who helped rid the extra bedroom of silence.  I mean, my house is pretty bland.  No colored paint on the walls, no pictures up anywhere that actually mean anything.  I didn’t do many projects to make the place look better.  It’s just a dwelling that I decided to buy because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do.

Not owning a home isn’t bad…

I’ve come to realize that my personality and buying a home, isn’t really a match made in heaven. For someone who tends to get a new car every 3 to 4 years,  switch jobs about that often as well (not companies, jobs).  I like to think that I’m an ambitious fellow, and that this type of ambition, shouldn’t be tied down. Or maybe I just don’t want to be in the same spot for too long, who knows?  And for the longest, living here in Charlotte, in my wonderful 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath townhome next to the nicest neighbors I’ve ever had in life, was a great experience. But I think that this experience was only for a season, because something was missing.  Maybe it’s the fact that I lived out in the surburbs of Charlotte, without a family, and that living closer to the city is probably what I really needed.  But I did live in the city right before moving to the suburbs, so maybe moving was a mistake, or maybe I just needed a change of pace at that time, and now I need a change of pace again.  Luckily, my company, that I LOVE to work for had an opportunity I could not let slide by me and I am ever grateful that I am able to start my next journey in life because of them.

Adulting is hard folks.  You never know if you’ve made the right decision for yourself until you go and do it.  Listen to your friends, take in their advice but you won’t know how to deal with life until that hurdle comes rushing towards you in that moment.  Then and only then will you realize what you have to do.

So yeah, while I have enjoyed owning a home, and having a place to call my own, I don’t think a traditional home is made for me.  Maybe a condo in a city built like a big community is what I need.  Maybe we’ll find out when I move to DC in two months.  Only time will tell, and I’m so ready for this next adventure. Maybe a little hesitant at first, but I’ll eventually get going at my own pace.