I have been a delinquent blogger. Life came rushing at me and the clock spun faster than ever. Here is a brief recap of my MBA, travels, and life.
In January, our cohort went to Seattle for a week to visit different companies. To name drop ;), we went to Amazon, Microsoft, and Zillow. If you wonder what Amazon is like, think lots of dogs and cubicles in huge buildings dominating a large chunk of downtown Seattle. Oh, and there is a banana stand! As per typical start-up office, Zillow had a ping-pong table and a candy wall. The exact set up at each start varies in the game table and snacks offered but follows a pretty rote theme. Zillow had exactly one employee over 35. Microsoft was a compound that had a whole division for startup incubation. Seattle is a fun city, lots of traffic, great food, and beaches. It was near my birthday and my bestie met me in the city for a rollicking mom-trip on the town complete with driving up and down big hills like a roller coaster .
In April, our cohort went to San Francisco for a week. This trip is a blur, out of the haze I remember a few pieces. We went to a start-up that is a security perimeter entity for the department of defense. These were the smartest people I had encountered yet, the room crackled with their intelligence. That’s all. The live wire of brilliance. We went to others like Salesforce, which I still don’t quite know what they do, YourMechanic, Intuit, eBay. Learned how little I know about computers, the web stack, and all things techie. About that time I was feeling pretty underwhelmed with my skills. The trip wrapped up on the last day with a man pooping in front of me on the sidewalk and my flight being cancelled. San Francisco is a joy of a city and I am excited to go back.
I wrapped up my first year of B-school with a free haircut by a river in Colorado.
My bestie had her birthday trip in Colorado going to Xavier Rudd shows. After slogging through three terms of reading, homework, stress, my partner making it through her first year of Law School, real estating, and trying to be a quality parent, I ended the year with solid grades and new friendships cultivated. My business of real estate had suffered from the bludgeoning schedule of the first two terms of school and my inability to handle both. Note to self, there is time for everything but 2 am may not be the best time for calling clients or housework.
The BEST! Four days of music, camping, and loving life in an Oregon forest. #hippygirl
In September, I went to CHINA! with about 30 other MBA’s. China had never been on my list of places to visit and I was on the fence about the trip. I am grateful I went and had the experience of visiting a diverse range of companies. Before the trip, I tried to educate myself through reading some historical non fiction and that paid off in my cultural understanding. The trip changed my attitude towards China growing a deep respect for the culture and their place in the world order.
We started in Shanghai, a bustling city. It was humid and we walked many places in our business attire. Most businesses we visited had a connection to University of Oregon.
Next, we went to Beijing. Beautiful. I highly recommend a trip there. The weather was fantastic due to a summit of African nations. The factories were shut down due to the summit and we had blue skies. I had researched long and hard the best air mask and never needed it. The Forbidden City was immense and I could have spent a year there. Plan accordingly.
I now know why the Great Wall is a wonder of the world. Breathtaking human endeavor. See it if you can.
We ended the trip in Singapore. Enjoyable, but at this leg of the journey I was ready to come home to my family.
Once back in Eugene, Oregon real estate got very busy. I did most of my business in the last three months of the year and ended up having 5 listings and a total of 12 sales. Woot! I plan on doubling that number to 24 sales this year. B-school has taught me so much about strategy, marketing, and myself.
This fall term flew by, as is this winter term. I am training for the Eugene Half Marathon in April, planning my graduation trip, and enjoying the little things like hugs from my son.
This spacious home is minutes from the McKenzie River with fishing, hiking and adventure out the front door.
Remodeled in 2008, four bedrooms and three bathrooms with an open concept kitchen for family gatherings and entertaining. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms on main. Family room and fourth bedroom on lower level.
On nearly a half acre lot with trees for privacy and quiet also RV parking and three car garage for all your hobbies and toys.
Call me for a showing appointment. 541-255-2578
Week SIX is rolled up and I actually have about 20 minutes to recap. It is currently a whirlwind of assignments and due dates with a daily battle to eat lunch. Not that bad of a diet plan but a recalibration for sure.
Orientation was a long two weeks that had lots of teaming and sitting. My booty had not sat for two whole weeks for 8 hours in a chair since I was in school for the last degree. On the first day of Orientation I was all dressed up in a suit and high heels (torture devices). At the end of the day I twist my ankle and tumble-down four small stairs in front of fellow cohort members. At the bottom, I just took a moment and fully experienced gravity and my existence.
At the end of the first week of Orientation I had another experience that hurdled me back to middle school. I found a singular bathroom that is pretty rare. I was doing a small happy dance because I could use this space as a refuge if needed in the coming weeks and months. In my excitement I failed to take a full look of my outfit. I start my walk to my car across a small portion of campus and down one whole street block. At the stoplight and nice fellow says, “Excuse me Ma’am, your dress is tucked into your tights.” Death by embarrassment.
The second week of Orientation passed and all the excitement of the impending doom was about to burst. We were told so many times that we were going to have a ridiculous work load and to not freak out. Part of me let it roll off my back. Psh, I do all kinds of stuff, how hard could it be? The other part of me was shaking in my boots.
The first actual weeks of school unfolded finding a new normal of reading, homework and getting to bed at least an hour later than I need. I was put into a group and the five of us have so many assignments and cases together. These strangers are necessary for my success. We needed to get on with the storming and norming so we can perform. I am still not sure if we have fully stormed beyond my internal monologue but they are a smart, industrious group and thank goodness we are all in this together.
I had a ridiculously hard midterm on risk management using a decision tree in excel and a finance midterm that broke some people. I may have lost a small portion of my spirit on excel but there is no time for that. I had to quickly replace any feelings with studying for the rest of my classes. Did I mention I have three graduate level math classes? And it doesn’t end with midterms. Class presentations and papers are due and relentless. Throw in a new kitten, two different sets of house guests and real estatin’ (closed on two houses in October), it is surprising that tears only rolled one morning. Maybe I don’t give myself enough credit, maybe I should have higher expectations for my abilities.
With this brief moment for reflection I have the chance to think back to a guest speaker we had a couple of weeks ago. She founded a multimillion dollar company in her friend’s kitchen and had so many pearls of wisdom. My favorite piece of advice: don’t get caught on the “how” and instead go forward with the “why” of the process/ project. If I want to freak out I can focus on the how and the song just plays on a loop, how did I get here. How will I get it all done?
I am focusing on the why. I am here to learn how to create and manage my own real estate business and be equipped for any other business opportunities. I am here to meet inspiring people who chase down their dreams. And I am here because a chance opened up for me and I jumped at it. I am doing it, I am going for the gusto in life.
Well, not actually 40 but knocking on that door with increasing intensity. It is true though. I am going to start my MBA program at the University of Oregon in ONE week at 39. You know that song, Once in a Lifetime? And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. And you may find yourself in another part of the world…… that’s me. How did I get here?
p.s. that’s also how I dance.
My approaching middle age self-awareness has a verve for life that was hidden years prior in self-doubt and the search for true passion. The younger me was trying desperately to have a passion but I am not a one, true passion person. Picking one thing for all of my attention and drive is binding and repulsive. Could be why I have had an exorbitant number of jobs and used to really like moving. Learning that about myself took a while and left me feeling like I wasted a decent chunk of time worrying about not having a true passion. It also left my family confused because I always change my mind. I am a mutitpotentialite. What is a multipotentialite?
Around November I was watching my life collaborator study for the LSAT and that fire in my belly for school rekindled and started smoking. What am I doing? Starting my own business was the tip of the iceberg. It was inspiring to watch someone you love go after their goals. I decided to look into an MBA. You know, the ROI of it and all. So I met up with one recruiter from the school to pick his brain with an idea I might apply next year and it was cool. We each had vetted each other and sat for a decent convo over coffee. I do have a couple of inventions, a handful of business ideas and some lofty ambitions. So I met with another recruiter, it really was only a recon job but they were both so supportive and advocated for my application that I jumped through those hoops, nothing stellar but a lot of putting myself out there. Then I waited. Patience and I can have issues. I couldn’t make my next plan or list accurately without knowing for sure what the school’s decision was.
Soon the letter came for my life collaborator and it was a wind of excitement blowing through the house. No letter for me, still working that virtue. What if I didn’t get in? What if I did? I have been to college, plenty. And have had all kinds of interviews, try-outs, performances, but that mental nag was working my doubt like a parasite nesting. Then I got THE email. I didn’t think I would be so emotional. It is always nice to feel accepted. YAY!! I got in.
How do I pay for it? How do I continue my real estate business and attend school? How will I find time to be an engaged, good mom? What if I am too OLD? What if my style/tattoos/beliefs/sexual orientation/politics/life choices make me stick out or make me not fit? What if I am not smart enough? How can I possibly handle more on my already full plate?
I have no idea how I am going to do it all but I am all in. All in with my gritty resolve, quirk, sass and heart. And I want to share this journey. I have a feeling there may be others out there going for the gusto in life or at least thinking hard about going for it. I have had some great life experiences and some heartbreaking ones all peppered between my beautiful & ordinary existence. And the main lesson I have learned is LIFE IS TOO SHORT. What am I waiting for? Letting the days go by. Not me, not today.
Do you ever think you have processed and healed over some major life event and then someone you know goes through something similar and all that old junk resurfaces? Why is that? All the work done to go forward and yet the old hurt can knock you right back to the start. That’s me today. I noticed that the fall is not as far anymore but still upsetting.
When I had my son, I felt very isolated. Part of that was my fault. I did not have a strong friend network, the relationship I felt so secure in wasn’t actually and I did not know how to ask for help or get my needs met. Part of it was my location. I actually was physically isolated down a dirt road three miles from pavement. It was a beautiful jungle and we had a brand new home that was built while I was gestating. I stayed in that house.
Once my child entered the world, the stress of life became severe. The gravity of the situation with trash and resources, my mortality, had me bed ridden for the first few days. I could play it off as just giving birth but my head was swirling with the responsibility that was now before me. Providing for my baby and rectifying all that I was not. I felt I had to prove to the world my worthiness as a mom. But the only person I had to prove that to was myself.
And this is my problem. How can I be good enough for myself?
My memories are skewed and my heart is hurt from the challenges that our young family faced that I could not scale. I did the best I could with what I knew but I was barely hanging on. I am not sure if this is normal. I don’t really know normal. Maybe if I had friends I could talk to and hang out with, I would have found out that having a baby is a game changer. My mom had her stories but they didn’t fit with my experience. On the outside it all seemed to work but on the inside I felt like I was withering. One distraction that started when my son was 6 months old was running. We ran. All over, for miles. Planning my run for the day with my son took up space in my otherwise lonely mind. Busy and lonely. If anyone looked close enough, it was all very apparent. I think being lonely is what killed my marriage. We were each so lonely in our existences that we could not bridge the gap. We did not even acknowledge the gap. The gap eventually became so wide I had to leave. Not before I found someone else who looked at me. The order of operations was all wrong. And I will be branded the “bad” one probably until one of us dies.
And I still feel for him and worry about him. I went forward with the relationship outside of the marriage. We are still together and it is full and loving and I am grateful for everyday we have together. And with that gratitude comes a guilt. For I have so much. I thought I had worked through much of this but it seems I worked around it. My work around is what allows me to be pulled back when a friend going through something similar reaches out. I see all my missteps and all I could have done different.
When my son was weeks old I told him the story of how he came to be. How I dreamt of him and waited for him and planned for him. I also apologized for not being enough. This “enough” is haunting. Where does it come from? And why does wield such power? I promised him I would change.
As a parent, good enough works. Dinner was good enough, the house is cleaned good enough but intrinsically hanging on to being good enough seems like a massive effort. I know there is no way to have everything together. It is not possible. Entropy is a universal law. I abide by universal laws. Yet, the grip of being good enough is tight around my neck. Like I need to prove it.
I have weeded the cause of my worthiness down to a few things. My sperm donor’s inability to have a meaningful relationship with me. My only child tendencies to set the bar extremely high. My chaotic and loving childhood. Instead of blaming addiction or emotional ignorance, I turn it inward to my having some flaw, something about me that is not good enough.
Maybe on some level I feel like a quitter and failure who put myself first and that I was so selfish in my choices. My happiness became paramount and that was not okay. I wonder if I have some karmic debt that I need to repent for my happiness so I can unload the guilt.
On good days, I am a fighter. I fight for my life and joy and work hard to maintain and share it. On bad days, I’m the asshole on the rock yelling to everyone how much I suck and don’t deserve all that I have. Watching and feeling someone you care about hurting because of you is hard to get over. And that is such a dick thing to say, I feel your pain that I caused, sorry about that.
My friend will figure it out for herself. Things will be okay. And maybe things should change from good enough to okay. It’s okay. We are all okay. And things can get better. When I am knocked down by issues I carry, it is not as hard to get back up. My job is to be happy and honest and put that into the world, for my son. I owe him that. I owe myself that.
Statistics abound and often inaccurate but I am going share this little gem, 70% of people moving out of their state are moving to Oregon. This means that we have a lot of people buying homes while out-of-state.
Why would people move to Oregon? You may be asking yourself. There are plenty of reasons. We have water! We have trees! We have lots of space and nice people. Outdoor folks have so many choices for adventures, mountains, beaches, camping, and hiking. In Eugene, we have the University of Oregon. Go Ducks! Those a but a few of the reasons I moved back to Oregon.
I have had three different clients now that purchase from out-of-state. This process is totally do-able. Title & escrow officers are super helpful and it can be pretty smooth. The main issue I find is managing expectations. If a client has only seen photos of the home it is hard to get a feel for the little things. This is why I do video tours.
So I had video tours yesterday of three homes in the Eugene area for new clients and I just want to share about the first tour.
The home is close-in country about 15 minutes from Eugene city, horse properties all around and about three wineries within a two-mile radius. Horseback ride to a wine flight, my kind of afternoon.
It can be difficult to tour, talk and video without making the viewers sick. These are live tours, usually FaceTime and I don’t want my clients nauseous after we hang out. To combat my worry I brought along my lovely assistant to film and I open doors and sweep my arm across the master bedroom landscape. Kind of funny in my head, not so sure for my clients.
Well our tour is going as well as can be. We have seen all the interior and I have pointed out the little unique features. We head outside to look at the yard. This property has acreage and looks like animals, my guess sheep. There is a great yard for the kids but it is close to a road that is busier than the listing Realtor said it would be.
We head over to some outbuildings, storage and stuff. There is a shipping crate. Now, I have a desire to get one of these and make something fabulous. Like a tiny home or a bunker or some craft storage. I am not entirely sure what I will do with one yet but I want one. So of course I am going to open it and take a look at how the sellers use it.
At this point in the video tour is going on 10 minutes. We are talking about the container and my clients are saying they would assume the sellers would move it. I reach for the handle to open it and see on one wall a bunch of tools, so I am narrating that it looks like tool storage. Then BAM! The female owner is in the shadows of the container looking at me like a deer in headlights. I SCREAM, thinking she is a ghost or an older version of the girl from The Ring. She looks blankly back at me and my assistant has caught all of this on live video and is not sure where she should point the phone. I try to recover my wits, explain how beautiful the sellers home is and introduce myself. The owner is quite nice and I may have startled her. We all think it is pretty funny.
The tour of this home ends, I return the key and we head off to the next house, laughing. The seller’s disheveled white hair, blank stare, and frozen posture is a little haunting but all in a day’s touring.
There is usually a surprise when touring homes and I was not disappointed. Real estate keeps you on your toes. Moving from out-of-state and buying a home before you get here is very possible. I would love to take you on a video tour anytime. Just know I am a screamer when frightened.
As I look back on my first year away from school, I am contemplative. Reflection makes a great teacher and some habits do not go away no matter what you do. I have a teacher streak in me that does not disappear in my new profession. I have handouts for my clients that I use a highlighter on so they can really see the property tax amount. I have a teacher tone I use when needed and my ability to herd humans into a designated area is still sharp.
Watching my teacher friends & family post on FB about winter break, snow days and grading is not enviable. I do not miss the long hours lesson planning and grading homework. I still put in long hours but I don’t lesson plan in a sense, it is named “marketing” now. And I still do a type of grading, I have many documents I organize and share around looking for mistakes that I need to fix. But it is different.
Some things that are similar between my former and present professions like the team aspect. In teaching, you are part of a team. You share lessons, time, energy and students. You need the latest info and which kid is having a rough go. In real estate, I am part of a team with the lender and escrow officer. We strategize and talk about our shared clients and how to close the transaction. I still have administrators watching me, they are now called principal brokers. They help with my questions like admin does.
Getting to know clients is a lot like getting to know students, only it happens much quicker. I see and hear all the problems in the 2 month period of buying a home. And I really get the inner workings when I sell a home. In the classroom, it took a good 4 months to really hear about the students private world. I still deal with crying, blaming and procrastinating. There are a lot more gifts I give out now and a lot less gifts I receive.
But I am on the other side of being a classroom teacher. Some days I feel like I gave up on kids and education. Other days I feel like I served my time, gave my love and it is okay for me to strive towards a different future. Looking back over the last year, I have read more books in one year than I did in three years combined while teaching. I took more personally enriching classes just becuase I wanted to. I volunteered more at my son’s school. And I worried less.
It surprises me when I think about starting my own business, not knowing when or where my next paycheck will come from, not having health insurance, this is all less stressful than the toll of worrying about my students. I have not cried once in the shower in the last year about a student who is abused. I have not had one sleepless night wondering if a student is safe. I have not said once in the last year that I cannot do something with friends because I have to grade papers.
Friends. I actually have time for them. And they have all kinds of jobs not just teaching jobs. I can socialize at any hour I want because I am in control of my day and my time. And this is my biggest joy. Being in control of myself. When teaching, I was in control of my classroom (inside joke) but I had to answer to the bells and school schedules. Now I make my own appointments and keep them. I have no bells telling me it is time for lunch. That fear of “how am I going to make money” is quieted by my freedom to figure it out on my terms.
I miss those sweet/ stinky/ornery middle schoolers. Their bubble of energy and fits of spazz. Their growth spurts emotionally and physically. They kept me young and goofy and weird. I may have accelerated aging since I left the classroom but nobody on the outside comments on my grey hair. I miss sharing my love of science and the natural world with young humans putting the pieces together. And I miss when they get something for the first time, that spark. And I miss the dances. A lot. I got the best moves from middle schoolers.
I hold all this in my heart. And I am grateful for my chance to change my mind and try something new. Teachers are brave and they are giving. And some days I feel selfish for leaving. Selfish for wanting more money and to be compensated for how hard I work. Selfish to leave behind my friends & family who are still in the thick of education. Ultimately, I am selfish. I needed to put my needs first and my needs were about my family and my future. At the end of the day, no one else is going to put me first. That’s up to me.
A retired teacher once told me when I said I left teaching “some of the best teachers leave.” That stuck with me. Not that I was the best, but that people leave. It doesn’t mean I am bad or a quitter. I just left. And like leaving any relationship it hurts some days and is really exciting other days and some days I have all my emotions at once.