I am thankful for a lot. Really. And, while there are some moments that I get a notification from Chase saying my bank account is lower than I’d like for it to be, I can say without a doubt that I am rich. Loaded, actually. There is so much love in this world I am living in. So much laughter. So many amazing people, creating amazing memories, and doing amazing things.
I am thankful for the technology that allows me to stay in touch with my family in Florida. And obviously, thankful for my family. I haven’t been home in almost a year and I never in a million years thought we’d be “that family” where one or more of us is living in another state, let alone all the way across the country. I never thought that we’d be a “special occasion” kind of family that gets together once or twice a year to see each other. And we aren’t. Well, technically we are, but it doesn’t feel that way. Because of pictures and videos and Skype and “find my friends” on the iPhone, and all the tools we use to stay in touch, it feels like I haven’t missed a beat.
I am thankful for the boy. I wrote about that last year. I could really just copy and paste that post here and add to it. I’d add that I am thankful that I have such an amazing best friend to explore life with. I’d add that there is nobody in the world that I could imagine being on this adventure with. I’d add that I am thankful for his hugs when I get homesick, like I did this morning when I was skyping with the fam. And I’d add that I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
I am thankful for amazing mentors and people who, surprisingly, have stuck around, even when the path I’ve chosen is so ridiculously different than the one they signed up to guide me on. I am thankful for one too many beers, catch up sessions, ridiculously long emails outlining areas of life that are essential to staying in touch, and the chance to have these people be part of my life. Distance doesn’t matter.
I am thankful for my family that isn’t blood related. People who you may have known for a month, maybe a year, maybe a couple years, but you feel like you grew up with them. People who are always happy to hear when you’re happy, and are there when you’re feeling blue. People who come into your life and you’re pretty sure that you were separated at birth. Twinsies. Sisters. BFF’s. People who say “holy shit I can’t wait to come visit you” and they totally do. People who remind you that life is too short to not spend it surrounded with people who bring the good vibes and help you live the dream, whatever your dream is.
I am thankful for our new life and new friends (and growing family) here at Skydive Elsinore. I am thankful for our incredible roommates who hosted a “Welcome to Elsinore” party so we could meet everyone and have a few drinks together. I am thankful for being in an environment that makes me want to be better, that encourages me to perform at the highest possible level, and has the tools available for me to be the best I can possibly be in my career as a skydiver, both on the ground and in the sky. I am thankful for two days off in a row so we can decompress, explore California, and get stuff done that we can’t get done when we’re at the dropzone all day. I am thankful for a gigantic landing area and feeling safe with two Otters’ worth of canopies in the sky at a time. And I am thankful for not just one, but two wind tunnels within an hour-ish of our house.
I am thankful for where 3Ring Media is. I am thankful that I don’t have to rush to find clients and that I don’t have to work with clients that aren’t a good fit, just to keep the bills paid. I am thankful for Chris Peterson for creating a super sweet logo. Right now, 3Ring is a logo and a dream. I am thankful that I am able to support myself and continue to define the future for my company.
I am thankful for Blue Skies Magazine. It has been so fun to write about the journey from AFF to where I am today, and writing about things a couple months behind when they are actually happening has proven to be a great tool for reflection and learning. Thank you Kolla and Lara for having me every month with my column. I love working with you gals more than you’ll ever know! (Shameless plug: SUBSCRIBE TO BLUE SKIES!)
I am thankful for people who are willing to take a chance on me – this year in particular, Douglas Smith and John Hamilton.
I am thankful for Doug bringing me on earlier this year, despite not knowing what the economic climate would be like at the new dropzone and new location. I am thankful for him taking a risk, financially, to have someone on board full-time for marketing and events, when there was really no telling how the numbers would compare to last year. I am thankful for the opportunity to help move that dropzone several times over the course of the year as we moved into and out of different facilities, and seeing the new CSC grow from absolutely nothing to a fully-functional dropzone with minimal facilities. I am excited to see Doug’s vision come to life once the facilities are complete. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of that team, to learn what I did about the industry, and to experience life living on the dropzone. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds. Working with CSC was my first gig outside of the agency world. I am thankful for that transition, where not everyone realizes how important the marketing/PR part of the business is, where I am just a facet of a gigantic operation, not in an office full of other people who all come from the same business background.
I am thankful for John as well. I am thankful for him asking about my goals, and genuinely wanting to be a part of making those goals happen. I am thankful for him bringing me on board, for helping me keep the happy cup full. I am thankful for the chance to train with him, to work on breaking the bad habits and start flying efficiently. And, probably most importantly, I am thankful for him helping me distinguish a path for my career in the sky and on the ground. Something measurable. Something with milestones. Something to keep me motivated. I am thankful for him and his wife inviting us over for Thanksgiving today.
Who or what are you thankful for?
We’ve been in California for 14 days. I figured it’s about time I wrote about it.
Now, if you’re friends with me or the boy on Facebook, you’ve probably already unfriended us or are pretty close to getting to that point. We’ve been raving about the road trip out here, and lately, raving about all things California. Everything here is absolutely amazing. We actually have days off. We go hiking on Tuesdays and then get our lives together and in order on Wednesdays. Jezzie is happy here. The weather is fantastic, and reminds me of “winter” at home in Florida. And, for the first time since I moved to Florida with my family in 2005, I feel at peace. I don’t feel like it’s one foot in the door and one foot out. I don’t feel anxious about what happens next. I honestly could see us spending a good amount of time here. How long “good amount” actually plays out to be is yet to be determined, but I don’t have that anxiety about wondering what is next. We have a great balance here.
But, despite all of the happy posts and everything being amazing on Facebook and in the pictures, it’s not all sparkles and rainbows.
Rewind two weeks. We’ve been in the car all day having left Boulder in the morning, white-knuckle-driving all the way through Vail over snow packed highways, skipped Vegas out of sheer exhaustion, stayed in Baker, California, and now are back on the road.
As we’re getting closer to Lake Elsinore, the boy is searching on Craigslist for apartments or condos or homes or anything close to the dropzone within our price range. We make a list of four or five to visit, check them out, and are less than impressed. My phone has been acting up since Boulder, so we drive down to the nearest Apple store, in Temecula.
The Genius I’m working with on my phone freezing issues is talking to me like I’m four. Or deaf. One of those. A bit condescending when talking to me about how I need to shut my apps down. I’m on the brink of a meltdown in the Apple store. Which, PS, is totally not allowed because the Apple store is a happy place of wonderment and amazingness. But this Genius has about tipped the scale here.
Turns out I need to shut down my apps more often. Stop the hard resetting. Delete some apps and reinstall. Bam, no more freezing on the unlock screen.
So it goes, we leave the Apple store, with my pride a bit bruised by the Genius I was working with. We get on the on-ramp to 15 North and I start my little sniffle and single-tear-rolling-down-the-cheek routine, which usually leads to full on meltdown mode. The boy asks why I’m sniffling.
“We don’t have a place to live.”
“We’ve been here for like six hours.”
“We don’t have a place to live.”
“Babe, when I went down to DeLand, I didn’t have a job or a place to stay. By the end of the day, I had a job and a place to stay. We already have jobs. We’ll be fine. Skydivers take care of each other. It’ll sort itself out.”
So we check into a hotel that night. I don’t know if the town is like where my parents live in Florida and there’s just no zoning or whatever and there’s really nice patches surrounded by seemingly dicey ones, or if this is just what California looks like in general, but I’m uneasy about the part of town we’re in.
I cried in the shower that morning. Full on ugly cry. I didn’t want the boy to be concerned about me and I wanted to be strong and powerful and amazing since this whole California thing was kinda my idea. He hasn’t visited here before. When I came out for Chicks Rock, I was kinda scouting the place for us. He’s got a job, and from what we gather, they jump a lot here, but there are so many unknowns. At this point, all I wanted was a place to call our own. Everything we had seen on Thursday when we got in town was awful. Too small and really expensive or in a part of town that made me nervous, or the ones that were good didn’t accept pets. I had visions of being stranded at this hotel, blowing through our money that we saved up before we start working again. Thus, the meltdown.
After I pull myself together, we head to the dropzone to get the inside scoop on where to live. We were kind of flying blind when we first got here. We get a sweet hand-drawn map of the area, and John (the owner) makes a few calls. We head off to breakfast to devise a plan for how we’re going to tackle the day, when not even ten minutes into the meal, I miss a call from John. There’s a gal at the dropzone with a room for rent in her house, available immediately. Pets OK.
I dance around in my seat. The boy asks why I’m so excited.
We scarf down the rest of our breakfast, head over to the house, check it out, meet the roommates, agree that this place is awesome and the first 10 minutes spent with our new potential roommates is great, so we arrange for us to move in. They’re going to clean up the place and we’ll move in that afternoon, until then, we head back to the DZ to fill out paperwork, now that we have an address.
Cue sigh of relief. And no more tears.
Tonight? Our roommates are hosting a “Welcome Sydney and Barry to Skydive Elsinore” party at the house so some of the staff and jumpers can get to know us. I thought they were kidding when they were putting it together. I’m so excited to meet everyone I haven’t met yet! Next Thursday? Thanksgiving with the Hamiltons and a bunch of their friends and family. I’m hoping Barry and I can recreate the amazing stuffing we made last year and blow some minds. Every day we get a little bit of confirmation that we’ve made the right choice in coming out here. I’m excited to see how our lives develop out here. So far, so good.