What a Difference a Year Makes

I realize it’s not New Years yet, but the last 365 days have been truly amazing. I had thought the previous year was good, but it pales in comparison. There were hard times and wonderful times and the net result is a change I am so excited about, I needed to share it with the world.

So it’s actually a year and a couple of days now that I am writing this, but it was less than a year on Saturday…Lets get started.

One year ago at the beginning of September, 2012, I had been working for a Boston startup for a couple months and eager to move to the US. I was living in Amsterdam because I still didn’t have a buyer for my apartment there. And in the first few days of September, I found that buyer and he signed his intent to do the deal. He had a few weeks to back out, but I was hoping for the best.

In October, he signed the final papers and I was no longer a resident of the Netherlands. The place was sold well under what I paid invested into the place, but it was done. A few days earlier the movers came and packed my stuff up for the trip across the Atlantic.

At the end of October my stuff had arrived in Boston and waited for customs to sign it through…unfortunately a hurricane stopped by at the same time. Thankfully my stuff at the Port survived, as did everything else in Boston.

By November I was moved in and getting started with being a Bostonite. Things were pretty good. I wasn’t ecstatic about my job and I could see my boss wasn’t ecstatic about me, but I wasn’t sharing that fact with others. I had taken a big loss to get here and wanted to do everything to make it work. At the same time I started acting on the decision to get out there more. My parents helped me with the move and I knew the one thing they would want was to see me not alone.

December rolled in and that means going to San Antonio for Christmas and New Years. I couldn’t take the amount of vacation I had become accustomed to now that I am back in the US, but I had a good time with family nonetheless. Unfortunately, the most wonderful person I had found online and exchanged a few emails with went dark.

That perfect woman came back online in January but I spent much of the month doing a lot of sniffing and sneezing. Ugh, sick. Not too sick to work, but sick enough to hold off on meeting this woman. To make things a bit worse I am seeing that most of the content I am creating at work is never allowed to see the light of day. Frustrating to say the least.

February started really well because the mystery woman wanted to meet. I was still getting off the cold. And I knew within a few weeks I was going to be jobless. Then on the weekend we decided to meet up, the biggest snowstorm in decades decides to visit Boston. Slam! Over 3 feet of snow in one day and the city stopped. Things are not looking good.

Then we met. February 10, 2013. A cold day. A quiet day. Transit was stopped but we both slogged our way to Boston Common. On the steps of the State House, Toni and I said hello and then we walked. And we walked. And we talked and walked. And walked and talked. I think we ended up going 6 or 7 miles. Seriously! Through the Common and the Public Garden for a few laps, down to the Fens, through and round past the MfA, had a bite to eat at Sweet Cheeks, and then walked a little bit more. Things are looking up.

March comes along and one month into this budding relationship we do another massive walk. 12 miles around JP. We loved it. And then she tests me: swing dancing. If you know me, you know dancing is not something I would ever choose…but I do it…and I pass the test. Whew!

With the beginning of March also comes my enrollment in the Startup Institute Boston. I would spend the next 8 weeks getting indoctinated into the tech startup scene here in Boston. I was a newcomer to this market, so having this guided tour would help immensely. A few weeks in and I tell Toni about my situation. I realized this relationship was turning into something significant and stopped the interview process in San Francisco and Seattle. She didn’t run away. We got closer.

April includes a weekend in Vermont and things progress both romantically and in SIB. I am already realizing that I am in the best time of my life. I also hear Matt Barba talk to the SIB group about starting Placester. We have a conversation afterwards. And another. And another.

April of course wasn’t all good. April was also the month of the Boston Marathon. Which is when the bombs went off. April was the month of the massive police action tracking down the suspects of the bombing. April was the month I realized I was scared that Toni might not be alright and I wanted to desperately spend every day with her.

April was the month SIB ended for us. We did our expose and graduated. And a few days before SIB ended for us, I had my offer from Placester: Developer Evangelist. Exactly the title I wanted, and I had a strong feeling that this time I would be allowed to actually do what the role implied.

May was a big month…but then every month since February has been big. We are getting serious about moving in together. We are getting serious about each other. I fly with Toni to Detroit to meet her family. I had no idea families could include so many people. I am almost convinced they hired a few extras to try to scare me, but of course they all love me.

June means I am over a month into my role at Placester. This is amazing. This is a company that respects what I do, values my input, allows me to speak and work with the CEO and the other execs. This is very different from my previous startup experience. I do great things and they are made public. I love my job and I love Toni. The two most important parts of my life are aligned and everything is good.

July…it all continues. Placester continues to be awesome. My role at the company is valued. Toni and I are spending every moment of every day together. She even comes with me to Seattle to meet my parents and my friends and everyone loves her.

August is the month that brings us to a full year. August was the month that made me realize how much had changed. August was the month I felt at peace with so much in my life and the month I move in with Toni.

Our lives have intertwined. Our stuff sits next to each other. We have a very comfortable home in Charlestown and are looking forward to our lives together. And yet we are cherishing every day.

I had an epiphany a few days ago. Much of my life I have regretted the silly decisions I have made: not paying attention in school, procrastinating here and there. Today that regret is all gone. Every decision I made, every delay I had, every step I took brought me an inch closer to Toni and that fateful day on the State House steps.

All regret is gone. What a difference a year makes.