A few thoughts on 2013, a new beginning of sorts.
I started PablosPlace several years ago as something of a joke. I can remember teasing Traci about her 30th birthday party, and not wanting to give away the fact that I was planning a giant surprise party, so I’d thrown out a great many random ideas to throw her off of the actual plan. The plans were always egregiously absurd, with suggestions of items like going to the zoo, and playing poker there. Or it would include duct tape, a $20 bill, and well, you fill in the last part. It was just being silly.
But somewhere in the randomness, the whole PablosPlace idea spawned. In the beginning, I was just doing updates on the happenings of the home game, which consisted of a few of my friends that new nothing about how poker was really supposed to be played. We’d often play three or four sit and go games in a 4 hour period of time. But the game evolved as we grew as players, as did my writing abilities. I began to follow the poker syndicate with much more closeness than I ever had before, and I must admit, there was a keen fascination that bordered on love.
But that really all changed when Black Friday hit in April of 2011. Taking away online poker dried up my income, little of which actually came from playing poker. I just wasn’t that good at it. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t exactly turning much of a profit at it. But the writing opportunities that I had, and the fun that I had by playing with, and enjoying the activities of the Twitter Poker Tour, that just faded away. I was forced to go out and get a job to pay the bills that we had around the house, and the temporary Best Buy gig that I got myself into in June of that year has now turned into a more than a year and a half investment of my life, and something that may be the future for me.
So what my life is today is astronomically different than it was just a few years back, and I don’t know if it’s changed for the better or worse, but it’s decidedly different for sure. I work 40 hours a week now, in completely random hours that take up the majority of my hours. In my two days off, I find myself tending to family matters, either taking the children to different places as a taxi driver, or tending to matters that have been ignored in the house because of my absence for the other 5 days a week. What I woke up with a few days back was a realization that, I no longer have a real hobby. Outside of messing around with my PlayStation, there isn’t anything that I would say that I do outside of work and family. And it bothered me more than a little.
Last year I got sidetracked dissecting the top stories of the poker industry of the year. I put together a series of posts recapping my favorite stories, and right when I got to number 2, I stopped. I wanted to write about Michael Mizrachi’s year, and the year of Vanessa Selbst, but I just quit on it of some reason. I couldn’t even tell you why to be honest, other than, I just lost interest. In fact, I lost so much interest that I could hardly follow poker at all this year. It just failed to grab me. I watched none of the World Series of Poker on TV, other than watching a few hours of 3-handed play of the Main Event, before falling asleep as it lasted long into the night. I didn’t really read any articles at all, other than a few blogs by Phil Galfond that were spoon-fed to me as “can’t miss” thanks to twitter raving about them. But other than those little items, that’s all I really remember about poker in 2012. So I had nothing really to write about, unless people were really interested in hearing about how I completed story mode in Assassin’s Creed III, and even I wasn’t all that interested in that.
And so this blog has lain basically dormant for months on an end, as I’ve had little going on in life. The transition to Best Buy life as a full time sales associate, to a full time Consultation Agent with Geek Squad has turned my personal life into something that is really uninteresting. I’m bored out of my mind when I have free time, and I have no money to spend to remedy that situation at all. Traci and I have been struggling from paycheck to paycheck just to make things like groceries and gas in the vehicles a possibility. I’m making less money now than I ever have before in my life, and I really don’t see a way out of where I am. Much of that has to do with me and my simple lack of motivation. I feel utterly paralyzed.
That brings me to 2013. I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy. I’ve never sat down on December 31st and carved out a list of items that I’m going to change about myself before, or mapped out a series of goals that I want to hold myself to. But this year, I kind of figure that I need to do something different before I get myself into too much of a rut, and I don’t have the ability to do anything around the house other than lose myself and who I am as an individual. It’s a great fear that I have. So here it goes. A list of things that I want to accomplish in 2013.
1) I want to blog more. I want to make at least a weekly commitment to getting onto this site so that I can vent, and to keep myself grounded. Even if it’s v-logging, I want to have a place where I can collectively gather my thoughts and keep myself on track. I need to make the time to keep myself directed.
2) I want to move up from within Best Buy. When I started working at Best Buy, I really thought it would be a short stop-gap in positions, and that something else magnificent would present itself in the poker industry, or somewhere relating from that, and that I’d leave the retail gig behind. What I found was that the retail industry was more fun than I expected, and that the environment was therapeutic in a way. But in order for me to make it work for my life, I need more income from it which means that I need to move up the flag pole. There is decent money in management within the industry, and with my years of management experience, I have what it takes to become a good leader within a respected company. Now it’s up to me to sell myself on how underutilized I am in my current role, and how the corporation would be better off keeping me than letting me move along to another gig. If I haven’t transitioned to a higher ranking gig within Best Buy by my two year mark (which hits this June), then I will leave the company in search for something else. If they are unable to recognize my talents, then I will find someone else who will.
3) I want to go on a vacation. Last year Traci and I went to New Orleans through our time share that we own. We bought it nearly 4 years ago, and I still maintain that I’m 50/50 on whether or not it was a good purchase for us. But what I can say is that without it, we would not have taken the family to Sedona or the Grand Canyon, we wouldn’t have made the family trips to Las Vegas, and we wouldn’t have the memories that were created which I’m holding onto as so near and precious. I’m proud of those vacations and I look very fondly on them. We have the points that we’ve paid for, and I have the vacation time through my current gig. We will use them this year. And I want to start planning for that one immediately. Traci and I discussed a stint to Las Vegas as a quick getaway, but we kept on shooting dates down because of small things getting in the way. I need to let those small things go, and simply book a date and say, “I’m going. I hope you come with me. Cause I’m going. I need it.”
4) I want to find a hobby. This one is really vague, and I’m going to need to work on this one through my blogging, which I don’t really want to become my hobby. I want to have something that is just mine that I can retreat into and derive enjoyment from. I don’t want to lose my family from doing it either, so it has to be something that allows me to juggle my personal and professional life some. I have an inkling that it may be being more involved in the philanthropy of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and raising funds through Team Traci. This past year we raised just over $5,000 through our efforts, and I think that we’re just scratching the surface. I have some fundraising ideas that I would really like to try out, but I’ll get into those in subsequent blogs. I’ll need to transition away from poker as a hobby just because in my current map, it’s just not financially viable. But as I can squeeze it in, I still love playing the game, and I’d like to do that. This category will be receiving a ton of attention.
5) I want to be a better husband, and a better father. I want to spend more quality time with my family doing family things that bring enjoyment to every member of my family. I think I do a pretty good job for the most part, but I really want to change my attitude here at the house, and be more involved. I’ve spent too many hours in front of a television screen hitting baseballs over the fence, shooting jump shots, and running around playing faux adventure games that have garnered me a grand total of NOTHING productive. They’re wasted hours. I want to hang that up as much as I can when I’m home, because I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be a dad, and to be a husband. I owe that to my family.
And now here comes the 2013 and beyond part:
6) I want to start the path to becoming financially budgeted. This year, Traci and I mismanaged our budgets a great deal simply because we had to. We just didn’t have enough income to pay all of our expenses, and we cut back in several areas of our lives. We do make enough to stay afloat, but if life were to throw us a major curve ball, we’d be a real sinking ship. We’re a small catastrophe away from being a sunken ship financially, and we need to bring ourselves out of this mess that we’ve created for ourselves. The good news is that we actually carry very little debt. We just can’t seem to get ourselves into the black on a consistent basis. I want to start changing that this year, and to keep an active log of our expenditures, trim them as necessary, and balance our income so that as a family, we’re leveraging our income to provide more financial independence, and create a strong savings to live off of. This one will take some real planning.
7) I want to buy a house. It won’t happen this year. But I wanted to put it on this list for the purpose of gearing myself up for the things that I will need to do in order to buy a house. I don’t want to be a renter forever. I want to own somewhere, someday, and I need to lay out a plan that will allow me to be able to do just that. Creating a business plan per se, and structuring that plan around this eventual acquisition will be the real goal here. I want to do that this year.
8) I want to take the family to see three things: 1) Washington D.C., 2) Disneyworld in Orlando, and 3) an North East Coast trip that involves visiting with my sister in Philadelphia. The plan needs to be set in motion to really make this one happen. We need to see how we can budget for this, because traveling with a family of 6 people is just not cheap. But I think that we can make it happen in the next couple of years, and the planning for that has to begin now.
I’m sure that these will evolve over the course of the year. And if I can keep myself honest and continue to blog at the rate that I’d like to blog, then I think that I’ll keep myself grounded and focused. I don’t think that any of the above items are beyond reasonable expectations, which means that I will hit each of these goals.
I want to see that 2013 was a memorable year. I owe it to my family. I owe it to my friends. And most of all, I owe it to myself.