Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Change isn't easy...

During the process of uprooting my life in Chicago, I've learned some valuable lessons, the most important of which I already somewhat knew: change is one bitch of an adversary and it fights you every step of the way.  Change isn't easy and most people avoid it for that very reason.  Small changes are enough to throw most people off kilter; you change your parking spot, your commute to work, you move apartments, and it takes time to adjust. 

I have spent the last six weeks working feverishly to create my own change, at times even questioning my own rationale.  Every aspect of my life, from top to bottom, is about to change dramatically.  And for some reason, I purposefully signed up for this insanity.  Leaving Chicago after more than five years and resigning from the only company I have worked for post-college has been extremely difficult.  And, planning a two month trip around South America immediately following my departure from Chicago has, at times, been downright stomach churning.  Below you'll find my shotgun guide for what it took and how long:

Shotgun Guide to Change
-Refinance condo (3 months)
-Remove rooftop deck and replace roof on entire condo building (2 months)
-Rent out condo (3 days)
-Move all worldly possessions 350 miles away and place in storage (5 days)
-Move in with sister, girlfriend and pooch in 900 SQ ft. apartment (3 weeks)
-Resign from newly promoted position at Tribune Media Group (15 minutes)
-Create blog to document life from scratch (3.5 weeks)
-Learn how to blog on recently created blog site (ongoing)
-Research and plan two month trip around South America (ongoing)
-Purchase of countless trinkets and gear needed for traveling an entire continent (ongoing)
-Visit travel doctor and get all necessary immunizations/antibiotics/malaria pills (2.5 hours)
-Visa for Brazil and all required documents (2 weeks planning, 1 hour waiting)
-Visit dentist to ensure all teeth are legit before losing dental coverage (3 hours)
-Cancel auto insurance (1 hour)
-Sign up for a new cell phone and new cell phone plan (1 hour)
-Create multiple new banking accounts for travel and rental unit (2 hours)
-Sign up for basic health coverage while traveling and unemployed (1.5 hours)
-Sign up for auto-pay on mortgage, car loan, credit cards and insurance (45 minutes)
-Ensure proper funds to pay all of the above while gone (ongoing)
-Change mailing address and contact information for all financial accounts (1 day)
-Convince parents that all of this is STILL a good idea (ongoing)

Above are the highlights, but the actual list is long enough to make your head spin.  Am I crazy?  Maybe.  Or, just perfectly sane in an insane world.  If you are looking to make your own change and want to avoid an ulcer or complete nervous breakdown, I recommend giving yourself at least a six-month head start.  Eventually, smaller details fall by the wayside and the bigger picture comes into focus.  I have had very little time to plan my future throughout this process. But sometimes, as has proven to be the case with me, escaping your past is one of the only things that will lift the blinds on your future.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure.  The rest of the site should be up and running soon.  Thanks for your patience.


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain


  1. Wishing you happy trails in your new adventure. I look forward to reading all about it.
    - Elaine (Head) Edwards

  2. Clay,
    Bravo to you. Change is a bitch, but often brings out what we have struggled to let out. Be prepared to feel like things are never quite done, but the important thing is to hold to your beliefs and values. It sounds like you may have let yourself ignore the things you have, in the past, really enjoyed in life. Perhaps you were busy at work or relationships or life (which can get busy, quickly), and just let it slide out of view. Now you want it back and it takes persistence to do so.
    I look forward to hearing more about you, returning to you.