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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stuff, stuff and more stuff

I have a lot of stuff ....

More then any human has any right to have, I mean A LOT of stuff. Packing up a three bedroom house that I have lived in for eight years has been an eye opening experience for me and has lead me to a few conclusions.

1.  If you have stuff that you have neither touched nor thought about touching for a twelve month period, just write it off.  You likely never needed it to begin with and you certainly don't need it now.

2.  If you have stuff that you don't even know what it does but you have been holding onto it in case you find the original use for it, don't. Throw it out now or you will stumble on it again and again having the exact same internal dialougue with yourself as to whether you should keep it or not.

3.  If you have stuff that you have had since you're first apartment and you are 33 years old, I can almost gauruntee that it is either out of date, out of fashion, out of purpose or out of need.  Toss it now so it doesn't plague you later.

4.  If you have stuff that you have tucked, hidden or otherwise pushed out of site and out of mind, I am here to tell you it hasn't gone anywhere.  It is still lurking in the darkest corners of your closets, dresser drawers, cabinets just waiting to make its glorious return to the daylight where you will once again think, why did I keep this crap?

5.  If you have stuff that you keep for "sentimental" reasons, assess the true value of it to determine if the memory is enough to keep you going or you really need to have the stuff in order to mark the occasion, event or person.  Unless the artifact has real monetary value or can be handed down through the generations my advice is to take a picture, toss the object and call it a day.

6.  If you hold on to stuff thinking that you're going to make a fortune when you sell it but then never actually get around to selling any of it, save yourself the trouble and call your favorite charity today to make a donation.  You'll feel better about yourself and maybe someone will actually start using the stuff that is just sitting in a box at your house.

7.  If you have ever lived with someone and they left but you stayed - make them come over and help you move because half the stuff you come across is going to be theirs anyway.  They know they got out easy and you know who you are ...

Packing has turned out to be a very cathartic undertaking.  I feel cleansed and ready to start anew and I make this promise to myself and to the world of blog readers here and now - I will work to get my shopping addiction under control.

Friday, December 3, 2010

How the heck did I get here ?

 Here I go again ...

I find myself at yet another cross road in life, confronted with the choice of which road to take.  With an unexpected twist of events, I have been given the chance of a lifetime to move to London and start life anew at age 33.  I never would have thought that two months ago when I sent a rather innocent email that I would now be facing the biggest move of my life. I think I will file this away in my "be careful what you ask for" file for reference when I'm looking back on this experience. 

A company-wide newsletter is posted to everyone in our company once a month outlining new clients, upcoming events, and overall key wins across our organization.  I'd be lying if I said that I don't automatically delete these emails without giving them a second glance typically but for whatever reason on this particular Friday afternoon, I gave it a quick scan.  After a brief perusal of the "Hr News" and "Events" my eye took a downward glance to the "Careers" section of the newsletter. I think the line that really sparked my attention was "Seeking a change in your career".  After 10-years with the same company, while I have been very fortunate here, wouldn't anyone have been seeking a new and exciting change in their career? I continued to read only to see that this month's sponsored job was an open position in our UK office...Now that IS an exciting change I thought.  I instantly shot an email off to my boss simply stating "Would they consider canidates for the UK job from here?" Well that is all it took!  The wheels started turning.  A week later I had a face to face meeting with our company's general manager discussing the opportunity.  I explained to her that I was about to go to Ireland on vacation and she offered that I could tack a few days onto my trip to go visit our Teddington office and get a lay of the land over there.  Are you kidding me?  Is this really happening? I needed to let her know the following week so I could make my travel arrangements to amend my trip.  

I didn't sleep much that weekend.  Every thought imagineable was pulsing through my mind.  One, did I even have the courage to move to another country by myself?  I mean, let's be realistic, I have lived in Colorado my whole life surrounded by people I have known for years upon years, starting all over was a little daunting.  Two, could I walk away from my friends, family and an relatively established life that I had built over the last 33 years here?  Well let's be honest, I have built a life of monotony.  I had a nice house, good friends, a wonderful family and a great job but if I stepped back and took a look at it each day did seem to blend into the next without much to set them apart.  Since my divorce five years ago, I couldn't think of a single thing in my life that had really "shaken" things up.  I had a lot of "stuff" but not a lot of substance - that was a little disappointing to realize.  I was at a point in my life where the experience meant more to me then anything else.  I was traveling where I could, seeing bits and pieces of the world but those were few and far between since we all know those experiences take time and money and in my case, travel buddies.  I did what I could but was I really getting everything I could out of my life? Maybe not ...

I agreed to take my GM up on her offer to visit the Teddington office and re-arrange my intinerary to slide it in on the frontend of my Ireland trip.  Over the next few weeks I definitely had moments of knots in the stomach and wondering if I had completely lost my mind - a few passing moments I wondered if this was my equivelant to a mid-life crisis.  But more often than not, my thoughts were of all the exciting experiences that I could have at my finger tips if I were to live in another part of the world.  Opportunities to learn about a new culture and a new way of life (maybe help to curtail some of my American bred need for capitalism and getting more more more all the time).  I thought of the travel I could do with my jumping off point being London.   I researched cost of living, expat taxation, applying for a visa ... driving on the "wrong" side of the road?  And while it was very overwhelming, I still felt my excitement grow. 

I went on my trip to the UK and Ireland and survived it all.   The folks in the UK office made it nearly impossible to say no with their welcoming smiles and helpful nature.  The Ireland leg of the trip, which I did tackle sans-travel buddy, was also a screaming success adding further fuel to the fire that I can take on the world by myself, at least for one week stints.  And all and all, driving on the "wrong" side of the road didn't kill me and you know what they say what doesn't kill you only makes you ....well you get the point! How could I say no to this opportunity to grow into a brand new person?

Now two and a half months after that first email, I find myself packing up my house and processing visa applications for the big move.  My life is about to take some crazy turns and loop di loops, so if you'd like to join me on this journey I'd love to have some company along for the ride...