I have always been a nester at heart, and used to spend hours drafting out floor plans for anything from cute little bungalows by the beach, to sprawling southern mansions on graph paper with sharpened number two pencils. By the end of third grade, my dreams of being an architect were stymied by my complete lack of skill in Math, and my latent belief that you either got it or you didn’t (as opposed to believing in the self-efficacy of studying hard to actually learn the material). Like so many other things in life, I chucked architecture in my meh, nothing more than a hobby category and wrangled for more computer time to build elaborate houses on the Sims using the blessed ctrl + shift + c motherlode cheat code for an instant $50k per entry. I have actually used the same code as recently as last week to make bomb ass beach houses on the Sims 2 in my down time. ha.
Years later, having white flagged my impending architectural career, I decided that I would make quite the sales woman if ever I acquired a real estate license, and indulged my inner nester with hours of HGTV. Towards the middle of my college career, I had determined to get a real estate license the summer in between my junior and senior year so I could sell houses and make bank once I graduated. Then, the economy happened…or didn’t. ha. And one thing led to another and I ended up working at uh oh shenanigans on the plenary opposite end of the continent.
After roughly 9 months of customer service, Walter Mitty gave me the courage to finally forget those jokers and chuck everyone the deuce. Two weeks later, I landed what I was so sure would be my dream job: working for a small, but well established real estate company in the SOMA district of San Francisco. The salary offered more than I had ever made in any of the other jobs I’d had, and my new boss had even offered to pay for me to get my real estate license and be apprenticed. I know, right? So what could have possible gone wrong?
I honestly don’t know except for Providence. By the time I got home from my first day of work I was literally crippled with EXCRUCIATING back pain. I’m talking, to the point where I could hardly move. It was humbling to say the least, as my sister had to literally come bring me water because I couldn’t walk from my bedroom to the kitchen without crying. Terrifying. Somehow I managed to traipse back into the city the next day, but not without feeling that Staying would be a Grave Mistake. And because my new boss had offered so much ~ and there was only one other employee in the office besides the two of us (which would make it hard to fake it), I figured I should just bite the bullet and let him know it wasn’t what I had anticipated and that he should maybe find someone else’s future to invest in. Ha. I HATE the idea of lingering too long somewhere to the point where relationships start to rot in an awkward miasma. What followed was a difficult, big girl conversation in which I attempted to elucidate that I just felt like I was In The Wrong Place.
After our talk, I ended up staying for about 3 weeks while my boss took his daughter to UNC Chapel Hill (go heels) on a college tour. It was actually Carolina that caused us to hit it off in the interview and give me the confidence to make such a strong impression, I’m sure. But aside from the fact that the family owned business dealt in commercial real estate, which decidedly differs from residential, it was one of those intuitive gut feelings that I am sometimes compelled to follow. As if the difficult decision has already been made for me, and there is ~ in truest reality ~ only one option on the table.
I really did like working with such a small team; and got along really well with my boss and the feisty, maternal Russian accountant who tried to convince me to stay before giving me a good old fashioned lecture about asking for more money wherever my next job was. She must have told me a hundred times in her thick, but articulate accent that I was “The Best.” Not long after I quit, I had a week day off and stopped by the office to chat with my old boss about my newest job (ha.) and bring my feisty former colleague an avocado for her morning toast.
But yah, #NoRagrets. I am falling more into some odd and sanctified form of mysticism the older I get, because I also wholeheartedly believe that there are certain Things that we are created to accomplish, and that sometimes* we are led by those sketchy uneasinesses that cause us to make what others might consider rash decisions. It does help, though, when more seasoned individuals who have found their niche and live free and fruitful lives say the same thing ~ that one thing didn’t feel right, so they followed their gut in the opposite direction and wound up traipsing down the path to their destiny.
Ironically, that excruciating back pain that got my attention and ended up devouring what piddly little savings I had managed to acquire was also the catalyst to the next job I had which was, in itself, a sanctified detour in mysticism ~ also known as reorganizational healing. More on that to come.
*i also believe that there is great wisdom in seeking council, and that some things require follow through, even when they are uncomfortable. hence the (non) exorbitant amount of time i spent at uh oh shirts…