I dragged my feet on this post for a week. My actual one year of pulling into Fort Worth was July 13 (last Monday), and my actual one-year of working where I work now (Virtuoso travel network) was July 15 (last Wednesday). Why the gap day, you might ask? Well, when we got to Ft. Worth, we had an arrangement with our apartment complex to leave our keys in this mail slot. That never happened, so we had to go get a hotel room, crash there, wake up in the AM (I was supposed to go to work, but had texted my new boss and looked like a total f’n slacker in the process: “Sorry, can’t make my first day, thx!”), get into our apartment, set up some shit, and you know … the whole deal with moving.
That was a year ago last Tuesday, basically. It’s been an interesting run. Care to discuss?
The Caveat Up Top
Every year of a person’s life is interesting (you’d hope, right?) and has ups and downs associated with it. Nothing below — both good and bad — is supposed to make you think “Damn, he’s killing it!” or “Shit, he’s looking for sympathy!” Neither is true. I like to write, and I like personal stories, and I don’t mind sharing ’em. That’s all this is.
Some of the Pros
- Fort Worth is a cool city: I come from the Northeast, and I’ve been to two weddings there since I lived here. Everyone at these weddings always says, “So, how do you like Dallas?” They are not the same city. I live like 40 miles from Dallas; that’s basically NYC to Westchester, for any NE snobs reading this crap. I’m sure that even as recently as 2012, if someone told me they lived in Fort Worth, I’d be like “Oh, that city that shares the airport with Dallas?” Naw. It ain’t like that. Fort Worth is probably closer to Austin in ethos than to Dallas: it has a hipster hood, a bunch of craft breweries/coffee shops, a super-walkable downtown (which you’d probably never expect in Texas), and a generic civic mentality (bike share, walking trails, all that). It’s also the 17th-biggest city in America, and it’ll probably rise on that list in the next census. I fully expected to show up here and be like “Whoa, hot and conservative north Texas…” It wasn’t like that at all. It shifted every preconceived notion I had about it.
- My hallway: This ties with the above. My hallway has eight apartments or so on it, right? (I’m not at the “buying a house” life stage yet.) The other seven are mostly transplants (only 1-2 apartments with native Texans), and 3 of the 7 are gay/lesbian couples, retired professors, etc. In short: very liberal feel and not what you’d assume is a typical Texan ethos, even though I live in a county that’s probably gone red since LBJ, and probably about 30 years before that too. That probably helps.
- My job: I go back and forth sometimes on this, but as I’ve gotten older, I feel like everyone goes back and forth some days/weeks on their gig. Let’s be real about one thing here: in the past 11 months, I’ve been to Las Vegas, Belgium, Toronto, and Vancouver for work. That’s cool. Once at ESPN I went to Aspen for X-Games, and once at PBS I went to Philadelphia on a train for an educators’ conference. If “seeing new stuff through your gig” is a value (I believe it is), then right there you gotta score my job as “better than average.” I think stuff gets off-task in my gig, just like any gig (as I said above, because I value redundancy), but overall it’s good. I haven’t said that about a job in a while, so I’m feeling positive about that.
- Cost of living: I’m from NYC. My wife is from Miami. I honestly doubt giving the potential ceiling of my professional ascendency that I could ever afford to truly live in one of those places. I wouldn’t call myself a HENRY (Google that if you don’t know what it means), but … I like having money run a little further than it did in 2012 (last time we lived in NYC).
Some of the Cons
- Drama: This has nothing to do with Fort Worth or Texas really, but this has been a f’n dramatic 12 months. Some of it isn’t my story to tell, so I’ll omit those parts, but there’s been stuff with family, the whole notion of “real adulthood” (job I might stay at for a while, potential of buying house, clock ticking on kids), me trying to overcome my general feelings of being a worthless POS, me trying to drink less/eat healthier/work out more, and everything else that comes with day-to-day and life and shit. The first year of Minneapolis was hard because we didn’t have a lot of money and it started turning out that the grad program I went to wasn’t all I expected it to be (is anything?), but that year had a lot less drama, or so it felt. (We also got married within that year.) The first year in Ft. Worth has been fun and interesting, but oftentimes dramatic.
- Friends: I’ve actually probably done better making friends in 1 year here than I did (personally) in 2 years in Minneapolis, but I could use some work here. Here’s the thing, if you’re a Myers-Briggs type person: I guess I’m ENTJ or something. Does that sound right? My wife is essentially the polar opposite. So while I like a lot of experiences and activities and plans, she doesn’t necessarily. She is content to kind of do her own thing or read in the apartment. Sometimes I don’t want to do that. This creates an impasse. I need to get better at managing that impasse — we’ve been together six years and I’m still not all the way there yet — but I also feel like I need more activities, more friends, more things to do. That comes with time, I guess. It’s also a bitch to make friends after 30, although I ain’t complaining. Just gotta go heads-down and get to work on it. I’m thinking about another young professionals group and a beer kickball league.
- It’s Hot: The summers here are semi-brutal, but I guess you trade up on the winters as compared to the Northeast. I’m going to this work conference in Vegas in August, and when I land there — in a desert — it’s gonna be cooler than back here. Yep. My wife and I are trying to go hiking more as an outdoor weekend activity, but maybe July in north Texas isn’t the time to start.
- I sometimes feel off the rails: You ever feel like maybe you don’t understand what your bigger purpose is? I feel this way a lot recently. Maybe I shouldn’t care. It feels like … I have a good job, I have friends all around the country, I’ve made some friends here, I think people like me at work … and yet I still worry about my value and my bigger purpose. Maybe I’m restless. But at the same time, I can’t necessarily define something that I want to do or be known for that would make me feel like, all zen or something. I turn 35 in November. (Seems like a bigger deal, but really isn’t.) I feel like I have a couple of years to figure this out. For now, I just gotta try to be the best me I can. Isn’t that the whole thing?