This is going to sound crazy…
I love that title line! If I ever get to write a book, I hope that’s the title of it! “This is going to sound crazy” starts a lot of my stories. But I wanted to start writing and blogging again, and figured what better time to start than after making radical, life-altering decisions with long term financial and personal ramifications. So what are those decisions? What’s changing you ask??!? Let’s get begin!!!
I’m moving to Colorado. And looking for a new job. And the dogs are coming with.
This move is part of a very long, well thought out plan, that started years ago. Here’s a quick summary of the last few years and what lead up to this decision…
When I went through my rough patch in 2010, I really wanted to get away. But I couldn’t. I had dogs, a job, a house, and responsibilities, so I blindly tried to hold onto that life. Of course things didn’t go according to plan back then, and eventually I lost the house. And the job. But I kept working at the rest and myself. I loved my dogs and my side projects. I just wanted to keep trying to work and improve, and if I couldn’t leave, I at least wanted to make my situation as comfortable and pleasant as it could be. I learned to embrace the safe and stable, and wanted nothing more to to stay and bask in the glow of that status.
In 2012 I would be asked to talk to and maybe mentor a young techie (the cousin of my ex-brother in-law) who was fresh out of college and just getting started in his tech career, and he just wanted someone to discuss careers in IT and servers. I declined. Honestly, I was a mess and didn’t think anyone should be listening to me. But he had his own challenges, so we both focused on our love of technology and learning new things. We talked almost daily even though I had only met him in person a few times. We talked email, and servers, and IT security, and then politics, social media, and how IT and AI would have to evolve and embrace these changes. We even talked about maybe creating a start-up and were brainstorming ideas, just looking for what we thought would be a great move. And then in 2014 I got a phone call that changed everything. Colin had passed away. I took it hard. I suddenly didn’t have anyone to talk to about tech, and I immediately missed that. All the positive that I was doing, I felt empty and lost at that moment. And I snapped. I made the decision to do something radical. I wanted to move. I really wanted to leave the area, but again, I was worried about my family and being away, so I decided to try and move into Center City Philadelphia, and in February 2016, the dogs and I made the move. This was our 4th move in 4 years, so I was hoping this would lead to bigger and better things for me and the dogs.
In 2016, moving into Center City Philadelphia was quite a change! I wanted to go to meetups and attend hackathons. I wanted to meet new people and talk about tech, and just see what I’ve been missing out on. As fate would have it, I talked to these awesome recruiters who offered to help and show me around, and they introduced me to a lot of new people. I embraced meetups, I really just enjoyed being in a room with people who enjoyed learning and sharing as much as I did. And it was healing for the soul. I found a new job. I started my own meetup. I even attended every Philadelphia Museum of Art Hackathon, the Hackathon 1.0 was just 2 months after I moved into the city, and my team eventually won the People’s Choice Award at the Hackathon 3.0 in 2018!
And in 2019, I decided it is time for another change. Since 2012 I’ve been putting money away in a 401k that started after I lost everything. In 2010 I cashed in everything to try and save the house, but when I lost it all, I had to start over. It was rough. But I always felt like this was my “Hail Mary” plan. I would just keep putting money into it, and if I ever got the chance to cash out and live the life I wanted to, I promised myself I would. As I changed jobs, moved around a lot, and as I kept making more money, I just kept putting more money away. I just kept faith that someday everything would work out and I’d be able to do what I wanted.
That time has finally come. And I couldn’t be happier!
What about your current job?
I love my job, and I love the work I’ve done, even if the jobs didn’t always love me back. My current job is easily my favorite, but this is something bigger than jobs. This is something I wasn’t sure would ever happen, and if I only had this one chance, I feel I deserve it to myself, to Colin, and to every misfit and long-shot who doesn’t get to have their chance to live the life they wanted. I appreciate everyone I know or have met, and if you are one of the new people I’ve met since 2010, you have played a huge part in helping me become a better person and I’ve become who I felt I was always meant to be. I kept working at it, and loved every minute of it!
The planning for the move started back in October 2018. I wanted to do right by my current employer, and they had been working with a bunch of remote employees currently, and I was hoping I could convert into remote as well. I started the process, but knew I couldn’t count on it, so I had to apply and look for jobs just in case they said no. After a couple months of discussion and back-and-forth, they decided not to go with the remote work, and I am definitely moving, so I’ll be looking for a new job soon. I love the company and I appreciate everything they have done for me. This move is just about me, and that’s it.
When is the move happening?
So I want to definitely wait for my yearly bonus which always comes with the first paycheck in March. Looking at a calendar, that’s going to be Friday, March 8th. When it comes to a new start date for new jobs, I’m going to say Monday, March 18th, (give me a week to finalize any moving or dog stuff), and honestly I’m hoping that I can use a couple of PTO days and move before this time frame, and just use the last couple of weeks to wait for the bonus, move the dogs, and then be done with it. But the dogs thing is becoming a challenge.
What about the dogs?
The only experience I have with moving dogs across the country is when I was a teenager, I spent a year and a half in Colorado and moving back, I drove across the country for 3 days with a dog in the car. This was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made in my entire life. But with my current dogs, for their safety and my sanity, I want to fly them (it’s only a 4 hour flight), so I had to start looking into those options. As it turns out, there are FAA regulations that set guidelines for flying with dogs as cargo, and basically the biggest requirements are paperwork from a vet (no problem) and making sure the temperature is between 45-85 on the ground at both locations. This might be an issue. The only reason for my current timing is my apartment lease is up at the end of February, and moving the dogs in the dead of winter isn’t going to work. I asked the apartment for a 2 month extension, and I got it, so now our only deadline is to be out of the apartment by the end of April, but I easily think the dogs and I can be moved long before that. We have plenty of time, and with my bonus, plenty of resources to handle this. I’m even thinking of hiring a service that does this regularly so I don’t have to worry about anything. In theory I could do it myself, but I don’t have the cargo carriers or the knowledge, or even patience, to have to deal with problems. Here’s the link to the American Airlines animal flying rules… https://www.aacargo.com/learn/animals.html
So where are you moving to?
I did a lot of research and even took a trip out to Denver to look at apartments. I found one I really liked, and then signed a lease for at High Line Pointe in Denver/Aurora. It has everything I need. It’s dog friendly. It’s new construction. It has a dog park, walking distance to trails, and is within a 20 minute commute of Denver, the Tech Center area of Denver, and anything in the southern-ish area of Denver.
I will continue to share updates and information on my social media platforms. I’m really excited about this move and change, so this is going to be a new chapter for me and it’s something I’ve been dreaming of! At this point, there’s still a lot more to do and plan for, but it’s all moving in a great direction!
Technically it was another goal of mine to live in another country too, but that’s even harder to do with dogs, so that thought will be put on the back burner for a few more years, I’m just hoping for a few good years in Colorado, and we will see what comes next. I’ll be back to PA to visit, and who knows, maybe I’ll move back to the area in a few years. But this is something I really want to do and is not a decision I took lightly. Everything else feels very stable and right in my life, so this seems like a good time to shake it up a bit. Besides, “if everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough!”