One Year Ago Today
One year ago today, at probably this minute, I was rolling through Tucson AZ in my $10 minivan finishing the last leg of my 2650 mile three-day cross country journey. Day One was 850 miles and 12 hours from Delray Beach, FL to Baton Rouge LA. Day Two was the monster 1050 miles and 15 hours from Baton Rouge to Las Cruces NM. Quite a way to spend the weekend. Today was the last portion, Las Cruces to Vegas including two unbelieveably beautiful hours spent on US 93 between Wickenburg and Kingman.
I had sold my house, nearly all of my possessions and my half of a business in Florida, finalized a divorce and was starting a new adventure in my life. I left basically everyone and everything I knew to take a chance if you will on a cross country move to a place I'd been to twice that had a reputation of chewing up and spiting out event the saviest individuals yet offered the thrills and potential fortunes of no other place on the planet.
My circle at the time thought I was fucking crazy to give up my decent live in Florida, a place I loved and thought I would never leave, to go to such an evil place as Las Vegas. Ironically most of that advice helped me to decide to make the move.
Why? I found these people, like 90% of everyone I'd ever met, were not risk takers, they were too conservative on both a social and professional level, they were trapped in a sort of "I tell myself I'm happy but life is just a duldrum of routine." They were too worried about what other people thought forcing them to live and work and censor their thoughts towards others expectations. They were also afraid of the unknown and lacked a true passion towards anything.
I've just never been the 9-5 get married have 2.5 children buy a house with a white picket fence kind of guy. If others are so be it. But really I do question if not sometimes they are living a dream from the 40s and 50s that was passed on to them as children instead of finding something outside the norm that would be there true passion of being.
I grew up in St. Louis but as an adult have lived in Worcester MA, Minneapolis, MN, Secuacus, NJ, Delray Beach, FL and now Vegas for a variety of reasons. At 29 I gave up a decent career and moved to Minneapolis. At 31 I gave up a decent life and moved to Florida to wait tables, play golf and lie on the beach. Now at 40 I was doing again, giving up a decent life and career to start a new chapter in my life.
No I'm not a restless spirit but there came a point in my life that I never wanted to say what if. It had happened too often and my insecurities and fears were the reasons. That and I was always trying to fit in or live up to others expectations instead of being my own man with my own thoughts, and ideas, and desires.
Perhaps helping that cause were some life experiences; battling heroin addiction for much of the late 80s and early 90s, having my best friend die in my arms from said addiction, being diagnosed with and surviving cancer in 1999. I don't think life is too short that we have to do everything we possibly can but I do know that life is not worth living if you are going to be unhappy or not yourself.
I came to Vegas to start the exact same business I had in Florida. Once I got to Vegas I realized I didn't want to start that business. Eventually I decided to try and make a living playing poker and betting on sports. Again most people that I was crazy. My sports betting history was average at best and though I was a recreational poker player on and off for years my first ever live cash game was last March playing 1-3 NL at the Excaliber.
I have a little cushion from selling my business but its certainly not enough to consider myself retired. I will have to succeed in the poker/sports gaming world or at some point I'll will have to find a way to make a living. I hope it never comes to that but in life there are no guarantees, it can all be gone tomorrow you just never know.
I do know I wake up with a smile on my face every single day of the year. I do know the sunshines hear about 350 days a year. I do know that if online poker becomes dried up I can drive 12 minutes and find 40 games at least. I do know in those same 12 minutes I can be at a sports book watching any sporting event thats on a TV. I also know that if these things no longer appeal to me I can find many other things that do because I have the freedom from living in this great country to find my own happiness.
I'm my own man, I'm confortable with who I am and what I am. I don't have to lie or embellish or be ashamed or worry about being judged. I'm true to myself and I sleep like a baby every night. I might not have all I want at this point but I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have the realization and self awareness to be who I want to be.
I can only wish others are as happy as me. What I would say if asked is to live life and be yourself. Find out what makes you happy and do it. Stop living life trying to conform yourself into what you think others want you do be. Learn to communicate, which includes listening, and be honest to a fault. Set goals and work for them. Play above your bankroll on occasion. Get outside your comfort zone often so you can grow as person. Smile more. Complain less. Lose the sarcasm and cynicism. Be someone that is dependable and can be relied on but also learn to say no. Take a risk. Try something new. Drive home a different way. And hopefully go to bed every night and wake up every day happy.
I can remember the feeling I had one year ago today. The anticipation, the excitement, the freedom, it was true happiness. As I finish this today I have the exact same feelings. I have a huge smile on my face, my life is wonderful and I wouldn't trade it right now for anything. If my aces get cracked today oh well. I can only wish you all are, in your own ways, as happy as I am.