The Universe Is Not Out To Get You

This isn’t the sort of thing I’d normally write in my blog.  I usually like my writing to be fun and upbeat.  Like most people, I suppose, I like to show people “Happy Dave,” and not the other guy.  Why dump my problems on other people who undoubtedly have problems of their own to deal with (Grammarians, you can take your “with which they have to deal” and stuff it)?  But who knows, maybe I won’t even publish this blog and you’ll never read it anyway.  Here goes.

The Universe is out to get me.

I got laid off from my job March 31, 2017.  It didn’t come as a big surprise, although it happened faster than I expected.  I wasn’t TOTALLY upset, because I wasn’t really interested in what I was doing anymore.  It was one of those jobs that kept the machine moving by taking value from one space and adding it to another.  Ultimately, I wasn’t really adding value to the system, just moving it around.  I USED to be a true believer in the work, back when I started, but after 10+ years of doing it… well, deck chairs on the titanic.

My goal was to take three months to relax, recharge, and reassess, then move forward in a new direction.  I wanted not only a new career, but I wanted it in a new industry.  As if that wouldn’t be hard enough, my real challenge was I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  It makes no difference that at the time I was 40.  I was still lost.  Regardless, my plan started off well enough, I suppose.  I relaxed.  I surfed the web looking at different companies, jobs, etc., just trying to learn what else was out there.  I spent a lot of time with our new dog whom we rescued March 1.  Although there was always that ever-present pressure to get a job, things were okay.  Well, okay enough, anyway.  The important thing was that I was excited to try something new, and motivated to execute this new plan.

Unfortunately, the Universe is out to get me.

July I got a neck injury that left me in INCREDIBLE pain.  Forget moving around, but not moving around was almost as painful.  I had to take an extensive cocktail of nerve-blockers, painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, etc multiple times a day, and that was so I could sit on the couch.  Doctors visits, meds, x-rays, meds, MRI’s, meds, Physical Therapy, meds… you get the picture.  It SUCKED. I wrote a whole blog back in February about this bit which you can read here.  If you want to save time (you should read it though, it was a good one!), I’ll tell you that it ends with me feeling better and beginning to embark on beginning to embark on a real estate career.  I had some hope.

But the Universe is out to get me.

In mid February I re-injured my neck.  This sent me into a deeper depression, and I lost all my motivation to study for my real estate exam (If I’m being completely honest, which I might as well since I’m not convinced I’m actually going to publish this blog, my thoughts were turning dark.  I got scared, realized I needed help, and made an appointment for therapy.  Never had it before, but I figured, this is what it’s for).  After more doctors, meds, x-rays, and MRI’s discovered that my neck was worse, and in addition to bulging discs I had some bone spurs pressing on my spinal cord and narrowing my nerve canals.  I don’t think nerve canals are the technical term, but I like it.  They’re where the nerves leave the spinal cord and exit the vertebrae to go do their thing in your body.  And those canals were partially closed off.  Result: Incredible nerve pain. Hooray!  After seeing a couple of neurosurgeons we determined I needed Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery.  I wrote all about this here.  Surgery went great, and I wrote all about the hospital stay here.

So now I’m 2 weeks post-surgery.  Neck is healing well, although I have a heck of a scar, still some numbness and nerve pain, and an inability to life anything heavier than a jug of milk, I’m doing okay.  Saw the neurosurgeon yesterday and he confirmed my recovery is on track.

So here we sit, back on the couch. I’m not quite where I was April 2017.  Still no job.  Can’t walk my dog, due to the injury (heehee, dog doo).  Still don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up, although I recently watched an awesome TED talk that might help with that.  I do have a potential career in the works in the meantime as soon as I get back into studying for and subsequently passing my real estate exam.  And perhaps most importantly, with all the extra time I’ve had to think, I realized something:

The Universe is NOT out to get me.

Despite being incredibly humble (and you know it’s true, because I have my own website that says so), I am incredibly ego-centric.  Everything that happens, happens to ME, personally.  Cut off in traffic, THAT ASSHOLE!  Drop the cap of my water bottle on the floor?  FUCK YOU, LIFE!  Get injured, WHY ME?  And you may or may not know this, but when you’re depressed the little problems get so much bigger.  The gardeners not mowing a small patch of grass in the yard becomes a problem so insurmountable that it frustrates you the point of tears.

It’s only very recently, after my first therapy appointment, that I’m starting to realize it’s nothing personal.  The Universe is truly NOT out to get me. Everyone has problems, and everyone can choose to let it go and move on.  It’s been hard for me to step outside myself and realize this.  And I’m far from accepting it emotionally.  But hopefully this will help me to move on.  Besides, things tend to balance out, so I’m probably due for something good soon, right?

Anyway, sorry for this wall of text.  I’ve been writing it for so long I don’t even know what in here anymore.  If you’re reading it, I didn’t go back and edit anything (although I did make some edits “on-the-fly”) so if it’s tripe just say so in the comments.  If anything I said resonates with you go ahead and comment on that as well.  Also, if you hated it just pretend you never read it and move on.  This will probably not be indicative of the stye of post you’ll see on my blog.  I apparently felt it was necessary at the time, and in here nobody can tell me what to do.  If I’m learning anything through this process it’s that, for me, writing is cathartic.  Also reading, but that’s also for another blog post.

As always, thanks for reading, and you’re welcome.

Living the Dream,
Humble Dave

edit: so I wrote this yesterday (4/20/18) with really no intention of publishing it, but what the heck.

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Wow. Kind of a lot has happened (Part 2)

Geez, I am TERRIBLE about writing here consistently.  However, the important thing to remember is that “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” which also tastes terrible and sour unless you add sugar.  So, I guess it’s equally important to find someone sweet to mix with the life-lemonade.  What, you ask, does this have to do with Part 2?  Nothing, I just ramble sometimes.  I suppose if you didn’t like my rambling you wouldn’t have made it this far into my blog.  So…. you’re welcome?

I left Part 1 off somewhere after we got Cody and I’m supposed to start part 2 off with job hunting.  This one will cover the now 10ish months since I got laid off March 31, 2017.  Don’t worry, it won’t take you 10 months to read.  Job hunting sucks, so I don’t care to relive it detail.

My plan was thus:  Take a few months after getting laid off to relax, decompress, re-evaluate my life and decide on the best direction to move.  My though process was this:  I no longer enjoyed what I was doing (Financial advisor recruiting, relationship management, and firm business development), and this was an excellent opportunity to make a career change and find something I DO like, and fulfills me emotionally.  Guess what?  It’s harder than it sounds.

First of all, my plan was going swimmingly until at the beginning of month 4 (July 2017), when I was really getting into the groove and applying to jobs that sounded interesting (Account Manager and Relationship manager positions at tech firms) I got injured.  And not the kind of injury where you’re like, okay, I’m injured but still functional.  Not me, I don’t do things half was.  I got the kind of injury where I’m COMPLETELY OUT OF COMMISSION for months and months.  I was on so many meds and painkillers there was no resume updating, no interviewing, and certainly no job applying going on during this time.  I still looked at jobs to help me keep an eye on what was out there, but… no real luck.

A quick note on the injury:  I squished a disc in my neck between C5 and C6 which is bulging out, narrowing the pathway in which nerves exit the spine.  What this really means is EXCRUCIATING PAIN in my neck, shoulder, and left arm all the way down to my fingers.  Sitting?  Excruciating pain.  Walking?  Nope.  Carrying anything heavier than a couple pounds?  Dear god please no.  When you’re in pain doctors always ask you, “On a scale of 1-10 where is the pain now?”  I’m too detail oriented, I suppose, because this drives me crazy.  How do I quantify my pain level on a scale of numbers with no corresponding state?  I have to assume 10 is MAX PAIN, right?  So that would be pain that renders me unconscious, right?  A 9 would be pain so bad that all you can do is cry on the ground in a fetal position begging for unconsciousness.  An 8 is pain so all encompassing that every thought in your head is 100% focused on “how can I make this pain stop right now.”

I spent some time at level 8, and might have tapped a 9 at some point.  It’s MISERABLE.  There were literally only 2 positions I could be in that limited my pain…. hmmm… I’m totally off track here.  Let me bring this back around to the job.

I was in terrible pain and on mind-melting medications until mid September, when I finally started feeling well enough to take short walks outside the house.  It was on one of these walks that we stopped at an open house in the neighborhood.  I’ve met the realtor here a number of times, and my community is his “farm,” which means he’s worked this area for many years and does most of the listings here.  Really nice guy.  We chatted for a bit and he suggested I might like being a real estate agent.

I thought about it for a while, and realized it checked the 3 “big picture” boxes I had for me ideal job:

  1. I want to like the company I work for and enjoy what I’m doing.
    • I’d be working for myself, but with the tech and support of a big company behind me.  Also, I like working with people, and everyone needs a place to live!
  2. I want what I do to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.
    • Helping people sell their existing homes for the most value seems like a great thing to do.  One the flip side, helping buyers find their “dream home” or even buy their first “starter” home seems like it would be changing the world for the better, one family at a time.
  3. I want to make enough money for Jas, Cody, and me to live comfortably in San Diego.
    • Full time realtors who work hard, are honest and personable, and don’t give up when times are hard can make a GREAT living in a market where the average home price is around $600K+.  In the immortal words of Frito from “Idiocracy”: I like money.

So I have embarked on my real estate career!  Signed up for Keller Williams real estate pre-licensing courses in the beginning of October.  Finished the 3 classes and passed their final exams by mid-January.  Sent my application along with licensing fees to the California Bureau of Real Estate (Cal-BRE) and have approximately 5 weeks to wait until they process my application and open my testing window.  I then have… a year, maybe to pick a test date and pass.  Irregardlessly (eat it, grammar check.  I adverbed an imaginary word and there’s nothing you can do about it!), I’ll take the test as soon as I can.  In the meantime I’m doing a lot of studying and attending another Keller Williams training course called IGNITE which is AWESOME.  Learning a ton and excited to get started hopefully at the end of February or (more likely) beginning of March.

So there you have it!  I’m going to be a realtor in San Diego.  So, if you’re reading this and planning to list your home or buy a new one later this year definitely let me know!  If you’re happy where you are but know some friends or co-workers who are planning a move I’d love to talk to them as well (once I’m licensed!).  If they’re friends of yours we’ll try to find them a home near yours.  If you don’t really like them that much we’ll find them something far away. 🙂

Living the Dream,

Humble Dave