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The year is coming to a close, and I’ve had a pretty eventful year. Although I’m not one to do a bunch of year-end commemoration in either internet or real life, this year’s been big enough and the shit I’ve done has been stupid enough that I thought it would be nice to recap some of the awesome. Without further ado: the five ill-advised but awesome things I did in 2011.

1. I quit my job

I liked my co-workers and the actual work I did, but ultimately – I was not a happy camper on the career path I was on or in the place I was living. So I did the (incredibly stupid) thing and quit one day. I tried to give as much time to my employer as possible (I think I gave two months’ notice), but still: I needed to get the fuck out of there. This had the potential to be really awesome or really not-awesome, but it’s turned out to be pretty awesome. I may be slowly draining away all the money I worked hard for on an ill-advised leap of faith, but dammit, I’m happier than I’ve been in years. That’s what counts, right?*

2. I left the US for the first time

My parents did not vacation longer than a half-day’s drive for most of my childhood. For obvious reasons, really – plane tickets are expensive and driving with kids in the car fucking blows. But the end result of not traveling anywhere further than about 500 miles away means I grew up with a wicked case of unsatisfied travel lust. After quitting my job, I fucked off to another continent for a little over a month. This wouldn’t have been so bad had I stuck to the developing world, but I chose to go to Europe, effectively draining my bank account about five times faster than, say, Thailand would have. Nevertheless, it was fucking awesome. A month long vacation? Highly recommended. Then again, seeing how I’m still pretty much unemployed every day is like a vacation to me, so I technically hit the six-month vacation mark a few days ago.**

3. I moved across the country, to a city I’d never been to, with no job lined up

Look, this was really fucking stupid and if I pull this one off without lasting damage to my credit report or sanity, I’m the coolest motherfucker that ever lived. But seriously, I lived in central Florida. You ever been to central Florida? It’s the asshole of the universe. Before you say “But MJ! Rural Alabama exists!” just trust me, I’ve seen rural Alabama. It’s got nothing on central Florida. By comparison, my new city (which I think is objectively awesome) blows every other place I’ve lived out of the water. Plus, I like having a real winter of sorts, and the food is amazing. Yes: weather and food. These are the incredibly relevant things you should consider when planning to uproot your life.

4. I bought a sweet pair of boots

I know what you’re thinking: why is this ill-advised? Well, when you’re planning on quitting your job, screwing around on the most expensive continent for a month, and then moving your shit cross country with no job lined up, dropping a hefty chunk of change on a new pair of boots is basically the last thing you need to do. You need every penny, and good boots? They’re expensive. However, I did my research, got an awesome pair, and now my feet are nice, toasty and dry in spite of the winter. This has made a big enough impact in my quality of life that it makes the list, no matter how underwhelming it may be to you.

5. I mailed my stuff across the country, rather than do the U-Haul thing

Credit for this idea actually goes to R.,*** who did most of the moving-our-crap research. USPS and FedEx, super cheap, to a short-term storage unit. What could possibly go wrong? Oh yeah – getting lost in the mail, water damage, crazy postal-employee-damage, stupid storage unit employee damage, you name it. Frankly, the whole idea is kind of Baker-act worthy, but damn. Do you know how much it costs to move? And driving a moving truck: fuck that. With the money we saved we could have replaced the shit that broke or got damaged easy, so I signed up. And we only had about three things, all minor, break.

We did do one smart thing and kept our valuables in the car, where (in theory) they would have been safer. However, our car got accidentally set on fire while we were undergoing Ill-Advised But Awesome Thing #2,**** so although we’d moved everything out of the car prior to leaving the country when we loaded up and hit the road***** we were pretty nervous. But whatever, we and our stuff made it intact to our final destination.

So that’s it. I’ve had an awesome year, filled with a bunch of dumb shit that miraculously worked out in my favor. Let’s see how long my luck holds out, shall we?

*Check back with me in six months when I’m lamenting my lack of job and money, and see how I feel about it then.
**Suck it, working people, with your jobs and your money! I can sit around in my underwear all day and drink at noon! Woooo!
*** Before anyone asks, yes R. was present on the Eurotrip and really all the awesome things with the sole exception of Number 4. What can I say, the man is not a shoe-shopper.
**** Yes, really, actually on fire. Story for another time.
***** Yes, we really, actually drove a car that had recently been aflame across an entire continent. Before you start asking what’s wrong with me, re-read this post and ask yourself if it’s really worth delving that deep into my psyche.