The plan: then and now.
I’ve been planning to move to New York for quite a while. I had it all planned out:
- Quit job
- Go to Africa
- Go to San Diego, Hawaii, Beijing, and Shanghai
- Move to New York
- Find a job
- Live happily ever after
At the time of writing this paragraph, I’m in between steps 2 and 3. Nothing after my next trip is set in stone. Every now and then I have feelings of fear and failure that make me think twice about my plan. Some days I feel like backing out, other times I feel like leaving immediately. And sometimes I feel like making a whole new plan.
My emotions tend to change a lot. After the crazy year I’ve had, I’ve learned to be aware of my emotions when I make decisions, especially big ones. I need to think about my plan as objectively as I can. So I’m starting a log. A log in a blog.
Over the next few weeks or so, every time I have an emotion that sways me one way or another about the decisions I’m about to make, I’m going to write it down. I’m not going to publish it until later — however long it takes me to take the last step. I’ll be able to easily read each entry in one sitting and literarily (yes, that’s a word, and a very tough one to pronounce, I might add) “graph” my thoughts. Hopefully I will learn something useful about myself and with any luck, make a good decision about how I’m going to start my life in my 30s. So here it goes.
- Lunch with some friends. Talked about plans, work, life in general. Both friends want to move somewhere away from this region of the country. One is really anxious to leave. Don’t remember hearing why they haven’t. Feeling lucky about being able to move to NY. Still have thoughts about options like joining Peace Corps or consultant work so that I will have breaks between gigs.
- Starting next trip (step 3) to San Diego, Honolulu, Beijing, Shanghai, and again San Diego with a couple of stops in Seattle. Excited about trip. Love the traveling and I’m thinking I have money saved to do more if I wanted to. But the more I spend before moving to NY, the harder it will be to survive in NY without a job.
- On airplane, sat across from paraplegic. If I were paraplegic, how desperate would I feel to travel?
- At world expo in Shanghai jumping from one country’s pavilion to another. Feel like doing nothing but traveling with what savings I have. What if someone would hire me to work remotely while I roam around? How awesome would that be?
- At Shanghai railway station waiting to go back to Beijing. Only 5 more days until I return home. Only 5 more days until I have no more scheduled plans in front of me. Only 5 more days until I have to start making decisions. Haven’t touched computer in more than 2 weeks. Feels like a month. Haven’t programmed in a while either. I miss it.
- Another option presented to me: teach English in Korea. Beijing friend did it for 3.5 years. Everything paid for, good money, lots of opportunities to travel Asia. Sounds very enticing, but I’m not sure I want to go to a small town in korea. Maybe look into other countries like Japan.
- Couldn’t sleep. Looked up freelance and telecommute jobs. Also read some commentary from freelance photographers. A little intimidating.
- Almost home. Phone call from recruiter in New York. Have interview with company I don’t much care for. Idea of having job lined up sounds good again. But thinking life as a nomad sounds good too.
- Reading sky magazine on flight home. Cover story is Robert De Niro (One of 100 things we love about New York). Reading makes me excited about Manhattan.
- Haven’t been home 24 hours and I already had an interview. Real life has caught up to me quickly. Need to make decisions.
- Watching Suze Orman on TV doing magic with money numbers. All these people have all this debt, income, retirement, assets, etc. Wonder what Suze Orman would tell me. I think I just want someone to tell me that it’s all going to be alright.
- Thinking about teaching in Korea. It sounds good, but I will miss a few things: friend’s wedding in July (I’m a groomsman), march madness (already got tickets).
- Randomly picked up my copy of “Things to Do in New York”. Opened to a random page about the New York Film Festival, just few page flips away from the list of Film Festivals and places that screen. Exciting!
- Saw a video that briefly showed a young couple that was on a 9 month honeymoon around the world. Jealous.
- Talked to some people about possibility of doing freelance. Got some encouragement. Will be able to go to friend’s wedding in July and march madness in Tulsa which I already have tickets for. Maybe even work overseas?
- Spent several hours on a random, small, programming competition. Got some confidence. It was pretty difficult at first, but I stuck with it and figured it out eventually. Patting myself on the back.
- Trying out freelancing. I like the freedom. Afraid of quality of life in NY. Afraid of how it will consume my time.
- Arrived in NY yesterday afternoon (step 3.5). Will be here for almost 3 weeks looking for a job and a place to live. Today was first day to get out of apartment. Already feel like I live here. Absolutely loving it here.
- Today was a little rough. Was shown an apartment by a rude broker. If my downtown OKC apartment was a shoebox, this place was a can of sardines. I also had an interview today. I could tell that they weren’t interested in me. Trying to stay positive. I’ve only been here 3 days after all.
- Much better today. Went to see another apartment. So much better, including the broker. Mean people suck. Had talk/interview with guy that has a startup that hasn’t been funded yet. He is interested in me despite being by my work “underwhelmed”. His idea sounds really interesting. It doesn’t pay much right now, but I will be accumulating back pay and have equity in the company. So if it hits big, then so will I. But the most promising thing about it is that it helps people in a very meaningful way. It’s even something that hits me on a personal level.
- Final weekend in NY. No job. No apartment. Went to interesting “launchathon” organized by a guy for his self-funded startup company that is run out of his basement. He invited anybody to come to his home in Brooklyn to help contribute and get paid too. Felt intimidated, but it turned out I was the most experienced one there. Really got along with the guy who put it all together too.
- Packing to go home. Strange feeling to leave a place that I want to be my home only to go to the place I’ve always called home. Still staying surprisingly positive having not found a job or a place to live. Doesn’t feel like a failure. I feel like I’m much better prepared for the transition.
- Been home for a week. I’ve been working freelance with that Brooklyn startup for the past week. Today we agreed on an hourly rate for about 20 hours/week. Landing a 20/hours/week gig is really nice. And I got another project from my very first client.
Well, here I am with almost nothing in front of me but open road. Throwing the holidays into the mix has made the decision making process that much trickier. As anxious as I am to move to NY and “settle down” (i.e. have my own place to live where I can enjoy my gorgeous TV), as of now, I have no plans to go back to NY. Well, that’s not true. Stephanie and I are thinking of going to NY over christmas/new year’s, but just for vacation. And I’m contemplating going to stay with my sister in San Diego for a while after that. Free rent, spend time with Cecelia and the rest of the family, and I can still work at the same time.
I don’t have a lot of things tying me down. I really want to try to sustain this lifestyle. So here’s my new plan:
- Quit job (done)
- Go to Africa (done)
- Go to San Diego, Hawaii, Beijing, and Shanghai (done)
- Vacation to NY and San Diego
- Go to Tulsa for March Madness
- Freelance in Paris (and the rest of Europe???)
We’ll see what happens. Whatever happens, it will be a fun ride.