New Year's only lasts a couple of days. It's like a cliff - all the gradual uphill climb of the Holidays that starts around Halloween ends with a big band on New Year's Day. Then, off the edge you go - it's back to the mundane reality of "normalcy". January happens.
Last year, Jan 4 marked my first day at American Airlines. After driving across country with only whatever would fit in my pickup truck and a U-Haul Trailer I needed to be sure that this was going to be a good fit before committing everything and bringing it all back across the country.
I was one of two people hired to manage a couple of large American Airlines network projects. I've managed IT projects since 2000 - all kinds of projects. Software development projects, infrastructure projects, risk/security projects, corporate environments, military environments...it has actually been a great career. I made the decision early on that I enjoyed the type of life that being a "contract" worker provided...flexibility, more money, a specific purpose for being there...it's not for everyone but it was certainly good for me.
Part of the reason for coming across country in the first place was that I was changing. My needs were changing. My approach to a number of things were changing. And, both symbolically and actually, coming back to an old new place at the beginning of a new year was a bold step into forcing a change that needed to happen.
Anyone who has read my stuff for any period of time knows I'm a big believer that each of us needs to have both hands on the steering wheel and actually drive our lives. We're not passengers. We can't be afraid to hit the guardrail from time to time, or to head down a wrong street. And, in that same vein, we can't be afraid to take a risk. Moving back to Phoenix was a risk for me. It was based on some combination of listening to my gut, timing, and luck.
So - back to Jan 4. Things fell in place quickly - there were immediate Signs that this was good. Strange coincidences seemed almost like validation that the right things were happening. For example, the other person who was hired that same day is someone I've worked with before. It was a little odd to walk into the room to meet the "other" new person and realize that you knew each other. More importantly, you actually like one another!
After a couple of weeks I decided that I liked AA and AA seemed to like me back, so I started to look for a place to live. The plan was to find a place that would be "home", I can't stress that concept enough. Home. HOME. Not just a house, or a place to put my stuff. I needed that bigger thing called a "Home". I needed to set my anchor. I needed to be somewhere I really wanted to be. I needed to get away from the constant moving that I'd grown accustomed to. I needed a new HOME. I've struggled with this for years and it has proven so elusive. But I was dedicated to making it happen.
A couple of weeks into January I set aside a weekend to search for a home. I needed a number of things - fenced yard for the pups, 3 bedrooms minimum, attached garage, Open floorplan with high ceilings. I like a large master bedroom, and large master bath. I didn't want an apartment, and I didn't want anything connected to anyone else. I wanted something within 15 miles or so of where I was working. And I wanted to keep it all under $1500 a month.
And, with those criteria, I looked through Craigslist and on Trulia to put together a list of "potentials". In another of those odd coincidences, one of the houses on that list was a house I had lived in before. I lived there for a year and a half in 2006-2007. It where I was living when I got the pups, so this was our first home together. In one of those odd twists of fate it had just become available again and I expressed interest without knowing what it was.
Even more ironic, my co-worker (the one who started that same day) lives just around the corner. I mean - less than a dozen houses away! From my perspective, the search ended as soon as I pulled back in the driveway I can still remember leaving. It was like another piece had fallen into place.
This gig at AA was kinda new for me in that it involved networking. That's one thing I haven't done before. I'm talking about networking in a big sense....where things we were doing could bring down entire airports or more. It was with a great group of people who I've learned to admire, trust, and like. And I think they'd say the same about me. Certainly not all those things are necessary in order to do your job but the older I get the more important those things become.
So - by mid January last year I had accomplished quite a bit. I'd set a foothold in Phoenix. I had found a "home". I was again surrounded by people I truly love...people who have made a difference in my life. It was another big big thing in a life full of big big things. Most importantly - it all just felt right.
To be continued.....