I had a dream job once and didn’t know it. When I was nineteen, after wasting two years at college, I moved to a new city all by myself. I was young and stupid and lonely and broke. I rented the cheapest room I could find and I took the first job I could find and I got the first boyfriend I could find (he was adorable and he’s probably reading this right now so, Hello Mr F.), and I had no idea what to do with myself.
Oh how I wish I could go back and tell myself a few things.
#1 – Your roommate is brilliant.
My roommate and new best friend, named Laura coincidentally, had just gotten a job as a flight attendant and was learning French. She was kind of a silly girl but she was oh, so, smart. I’m not saying I would tell my children to become flight attendants but considering my options back then it would have been a good move for me. I could have seen a little bit of the world and it would have opened my mind to a lot of things. I also could have started learning new languages back then instead of waiting twenty-five years.
I wonder what Laura is doing now. She got married and moved to Colorado. I wish I could find her but I don’t know her married name and I don’t know anyone else that knows her.
#2 – Don’t move.
The room I rented was cheap, it was furnished, it was big and it was in a cute old house. It was right downtown so I could walk or take a bus anywhere I needed to go. It was right next to the Avenues which was a fun place to walk and ride my bike. It had an awesome view of blossoming trees and homeless people getting run over in the street. Remember that night, Mr. F?
Laura and I thought we were too good for that old apartment and I wanted to be closer to my new job, so we paid twice as much for something bigger and newer even though we couldn’t afford to furnish it and we didn’t even use all the rooms. It didn’t have a view of anything and I had to drive everywhere I went. There wasn’t anywhere to walk so instead of getting outside every day I joined a gym. Terrible.
#3 – Don’t quit your job!
The first job I found was working in a tennis pro shop at a country club. I sat behind a desk eight hours a day and did absolutely nothing. Ok, I answered the phone a couple times and I sold a few cans of tennis balls and I signed people up for courts but then the other seven and a half hours I did NOTHING. I would take a useless book to read but I was bored out of my mind and I got out of there as soon as possible. Big mistake. That’s exactly the kind of job I would tell someone like myself to get. I could have paid my meager bills while getting the education I needed. I could have simply read good books or I could have taken night classes and studied at work. Today a person could take online classes. I could have learned to play the guitar. I could have become an artist. I could have done yoga. I could have learned to play tennis. I’m telling you…Dream Job.
But none of those decisions really mattered. It didn’t matter where I lived or what job I had. I was miserable because I didn’t know how to be any other way. It wasn’t my fault. I was doing my best to make a better life for myself but I was too uneducated to know how. I didn’t want to travel because I didn’t know how valuable it could be and besides, I was always sick. Who wants to go anywhere when they never feel good? I couldn’t have good relationships for the same reasons.
Health and education…See how these two problems are constantly coming back to haunt me? They are the two problems we all have. We have to fix them if we want a different life.
I feel tired just thinking about the progress we have made in the last year. In everything. It was hard and I don’t know how I did it and I never want to do it again.
It was worth it.
#4 – Eat more cookies.
Mr. F worked for a cookie company’s computer division and got free cookies. Chocolate dipped peanut butter is still my favorite in case you were wondering.
Someday I’ll be allowed to eat cookies again…sigh.