Monday, March 21, 2011

My Cold Dark Heart

I like my coffee cold.  Like, extra cold.  Filled to the brim with ice cubes and maybe a Splenda or two.  I always tease that I like my coffee like my heart: cold and dark. 

But, as we all know, I have a pretty big heart.  I try not to listen to it too often (right now it's screaming at me and I'm trying to decipher its immature babbling), but it's definitely not cold or dark.  Perhaps a little broken and neglected, but it makes its presence known on occasion. From that place comes my love for my friends and family and my need to take care of everyone around me. 

Now I sound like the immature babbling idiot because I just got back from a fantastic trip to Chicago for a little St Patty's Day done right.  And by right I mean filled with friends, family, boys and copious amounts of green beer.  It was a magical and relaxing weekend; just what the doctor ordered after the last two months that have aged me two years.

Every time I get on that plane at O'Hare on my way back to LAX, I get weepy.  I love my life in LA for a few specific reasons.  And this place has, while occasionally making me utterly miserable, had a hold on my heart for the better part of a decade.  Its magical weather, inspiring views and my crazy wonderful friends have made this home for me.

But I'm at a place where I must let go of a few things.  Dreams, visions of my life, hang-ups and relationships.  I'm growing up and getting rid of childish notions is key every once in a while.  If you had told me five years ago that this is where I would be today, I would have laughed.  And perhaps cried.  But reality has a way of creeping up on us sometimes. 

And that means moving closer to my family.  Getting back to a place that makes sense.  Where the food is good, the alcohol is flowing and I can get a good job.  But it also means moving away from my life here - everything I've created over the last six years.  All the things I've learned about myself and everyone I've grown to love. 

So my heart is breaking a little because letting go is never easy.  But deep down (deep, deep down), I truly believe two things.  The first is that everything happens for a reason.  And the second is that God may close doors, but always opens other windows.  I know that whatever my decision may be, everything will work out.  It might be scary now, but it will eventually be better than ever. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Networking Is Hard

Or rather, it's hard for me.  I'm an introvert.  (What's that snickering I hear??? Yes, an introvert.  I'm most comfortable by myself or with a small group of people.  It takes me a while to open up. I promise.)  And introverts aren't drawn to careers that require networking.  But in this day in age, just GETTING a job requires a significant amount of networking.  It's not all about what you know, but about who you know.  Especially in commercial real estate.

One of the huge advantages of continuing to work while getting my MBA is that I have been able to make connections and learn about the industry I'm passionate about.  From the brokers that I work with and the people I've been introduced to, I should know where to go to look for a job by now.  I've been preparing for this for the last eighteen months. 

But when push comes to shove, and I'm a mere five months away from graduating with my fancy degree and needing an even fancier job, I'm having a hard time calling on those connections.  That requires emails, asking for things, putting myself out there and having difficult (and possibly akward) conversations about my least favorite topic of discussion - ME. 

But somehow, I have to make it happen.  I can't waste this moment because it will never come around again.  I've wasted enough time getting here, and I have the perfect opportunity to really propel my career forward.  I'm in the driver's seat because I have a job and a whole slew of people cheering me on.  So despite my hesitations and fears, I'm writing those emails.  I'm making time to talk to new connections and giving my resume to anyone who will take it. 

And this isn't just a business school lesson, it's a life lesson.  Hopefully I can translate all this hard work (in school, at work, with friends) into a really great opportunity.  My issue is really the name.  Networking has a negative connotation in that it infers (at least in my mind) someone using another.  Everytime I think of the word, I picture a bunch of corporate stiffs in awful cheap suits, swilling happy hour wine and scarfing cheap appetizers on little napkins.  When that's not what it's about at all.  It's truly about relationships.  Making friends.  And I seem to that easily enough.   I can definitely drink happy hour cocktails with the best of them.  Maybe this isn't so hard after all. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coming Down Part 2

Now that I'm not going 100 mph and not working on school work and projects and going non-stop, I'm coming down.  This usually happens when I'm finished with a semester and I have a few extra hours a day on my hand.  But this time I've just come off a whirlwind 7 weeks of real estate boot camp, extra classes and crazy group projects.  I'm barely getting over my stress-induced head cold and I've been given a minute to breath.  And all of a sudden, I feel like all the emotions I've suppressed for the last two months have come bubbling up to the surface at once.

It's just me, laying around the apartment.  Listening to music, ironing my work pants and putting away paperwork that's been nagging me.  I still have a paper to write and textbooks to read, but I'm taking a moment to slow down. 

And I'm crying.  Because I'm overwhelmed with all these crazy emotions I've had to keep bottled inside while attempting to conquer everything else in my life.  After all, this is why I keep myself extraordinarily busy and over scheduled. 

I can't help but think about how much it hurts that my father never calls. Or that I'm unbelievably anxious that I'm going to be done with business school in a mere five months because after that, I have no idea what this life holds for me.  Or that I'm unbearably frightened by the thought of leaving the only person I want to wipe away my tears.  The possibilities for the rest of my life are endless and amazing and I can't wait to meet them, but the task of trying to wrap my head around all of it is a bit overwhelming at times. 

The last year has been unbelievable.  And I have no doubt the next twelve months will be equally astounding.  But part of me wishes I had just the slightest of clues as to where it's going to take me.  I feel as though I'm walking blindly towards my future, with a firm faith that everything will be alright, but with very little reassurance. 

The bottom line is that I need to stop taking myself so seriously; everything works out for the best in the end.  And usually when we least expect it.