And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Affirmations, Code Platoon, Expat in Italy, GIFTE, Health, Insane Productivity, Long Read, Mid-Life Reinvention

Coding, Wanderlusting, or Both? Or Something Else?

That is the question.

I can’t make the move to Chicago for the Code Platoon boot camp. I wish I could, but I simply don’t have the fundage or the family to help me. My family… I will save that topic for another day when I’m more awake.

Speaking of being awake – let me go make my second cup di caffè in so many hours already. Be right back.

I’m back now.

Sixteen days later, now seventeen days…

In those seventeen days I’ve had chaos ensue yet again. I am tired of mental chaos – I am determined to kill it. Right Here, Right Now.

Let me explain the happenings of the past three weeks, starting with I

Sold My Car

Last year I was awarded a little sum of money so my ex-narcissist could renege on his commitment to pay alimony. Paying alimony is the least he could have paid since he helped me create a $130,000 student loan bill all while DESTROYING my career. More on this later, but let’s just say it’s real fun living with a narcissistic Leo. Anyway, with a portion of that money, I bought a nice 10-year old Peugeot cabriolet in Rome, Italy. It had been two years since I had a car and it felt good again.

Never buy a car with black interior!

Except.

In Italy, you cannot own a car unless you have residency, though you can own a house. You can’t get residency unless you have a permesso di soggiorno, and you can’t have a permesso without a visa, and you can’t have a visa without marriage, loads of dough, or for study. I had none of the above.

The car I bought was registered in my friend’s mother’s name. As time went by my friend thought that car was his. I literally drove that car myself less than a handful of times.

Over the past 15 months I have been in Italy during these time frames:

  • Arrive Fiumicino May 2, 2016 (bought car May 10)
  • Leave Fiumicino October 4, 2016
  • Arrive Fiumicino December 29, 2016 (I finally have a 6-month study visa!)

As you can see, I wasn’t even in the country for almost 3 months of the past year. My friend drove the car while I paid for the insurance, the taxes, the title, the car itself, the gas, the tolls, the maintenance, repairs, etc., etc., etc. In March the insurance bill was due yet again, and I wanted to sell the car because paying €850 ($1,030 at today’s exchange rate) every six months gets expensive. My friend said he was getting a job, needed the car, etc. So, against my better judgment, I paid the insurance. Again. Like a fool.

The job that was had was only one day a week. I think a grand total of €250 was earned before the job ended. Then there was another insurance payment due now, in the middle of August. I told him under no circumstances was I paying any more insurance for a car I never drive. The car must go. Get it sold. Now.

It took a month, but finally, a cute Romanian couple from somewhere in the Piemonte came down on the train and bought it.

Nightmare #1 over.

However, I’m desperate to change my life. You can’t even imagine how badly I would like to sleep in a bed again. I’m grateful I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach, but life is supposed to be lived and all I’m doing is existing, like a drunkard in a park.

This feeling led me to apply to Code Platoon’s boot camp.

Code Platoon

On August 3, the date I began this soliloquy, I sent an email to the director of Code Platoon:

It’s over 100° still (and has been for the past couple of days), and being without air conditioning I’ve turned off everything that generates heat – including the computer.

Here’s what I’m thinking. I would really like to come and do the boot camp the proper way, but I cannot afford to change my ticket, worry about the visa, find something affordable to sleep in, etc etc etc.

When I applied I thought I would be able to stay at my uncle’s house as my mother told me I could when this came up last year.

I don’t want to throw away the opportunity, but with the way everything is right now for me, I just can’t commit at this time.

I am returning to the US on September 26, so maybe the next go around I can figure out how to make it work.

The result of this email was nine days of emailing back and forth trying to make it work so I could attend the boot camp virtually from Italy. There is pre-work that must be completed before attending, and everything was going just fine until one day I couldn’t maintain a connection to the server in New York (I assume that’s where it’s located). It turns out that the best internet speeds I can have here is up to 13 Mbps download, 0.95 Mbps upload, and doing a series of pings I have lost packets. That one day turned into seven consecutive days without being able to do learn.co’s boot camp prep due to not being able to maintain a stable internet connection.

Pathetic speeds on August 19, 2017

Frustrating.

The other frustrating thing was I was still unconvinced that I could get a job at the end of the boot camp, though I would have tried. But how could I have gotten a job from Italy in Chicago when I’ve been out of work since May 2008 and I’m now 51 years old? I do like programming. But my intuition is telling me this probably isn’t my answer.

Finally, last Saturday I sent another email to the director of Code Platoon:

I just found out that there is nothing I can do about the internet speed here. They are building a new fiber optic line and they say it might be ready in December. In Italy, it’s the infrastructure, so going to a caffè won’t help me.

I think it’s probably best given I can do nothing to improve the speed and stability of the internet to wait until the January class.

After I received his reply I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. It’s incredible the amount of stress this boot camp was causing me. In the end, I would not have applied to go if I would have known that my uncle would not allow me to stay at his house in Chicago.

Nightmare #2 over.

During this timeframe, I stopped working on my MMSTB, because I needed all the time to figure out algorithms, get them tested, submitted, etc all with a terrible connection. Plus, I’m not convinced being a travel agent is what I want to do either. My vision of being a Luxury Travel Advisor equates to sitting at a desk all day long taking on loads and loads and loads of liability from litigious Americans. For what? $8,000 a year? I want $600,000 per year.

E quindi, I need to know…

What Am I Going to Do When I Grow Up?

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m in some deep dark depression because I literally cannot think of a single thing that I like to do except go on cruises, and I can’t think of a way to earn that $600,000 taking cruises.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and/or listening to personal development books since about March or April. The gist is to find some way to make money doing something you love to do. I don’t love to do anything. Why not? The assholes in my life might have something to do with it. Psychology plays another large role.

Here’s how my life has played out so far:

  • Born to a mother who didn’t want me and to a sociopathic father
  • Married a psychopath, had a son, divorced psychopath
  • Married a narcissist, had a daughter, divorced narcissist
  • Remarried narcissist – realized daughter is sociopathic
  • Divorced narcissist again
  • Made “friends” in Jax Vegas who are all either alcoholics, sociopaths, narcissists, swingers, AND/or floozies – there are a couple of exceptions
  • Had a relationship with an alcoholic sociopath
  • Alcoholic sociopath disappeared in the middle of the night and I went into a nervous breakdown that lasted a couple of months
  • Got into a relationship with an Italian man, and sold, gave away, donated, and threw away everything I owned to move to Italy without a visa (didn’t know I needed one) to find out he was still living with his WIFE

Maybe I’m just dead inside to protect myself from any more pairs of testicles. Literally, if you’re a man all I see is a saggy pair of balls (a Mary Green quote – may she RIP). No offense.

Working on My Psyche

I read a book this spring called You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. It was like most other books I read. I read it and then went onto the next one. I then listened to You Are a Badass at Making Money – same author – while on my walks. Again, I listened and then went onto the next.

Then it got hotter than Hell and walking was impossible, as was breathing, so the reading stopped and the bubble popping game began. I would literally lie on that wooden-saggy-cushioned-low-to-the-floor-midget couch slash my bed of the past eight months all day and night popping bubbles. That took some dedication because the wood that goes between each cushion on the seat of the couch goes up into my lower back pinching a nerve so my left arm goes numb starting from my pinkie finger up. Yeah. It was a delight.

Here’s what’s interesting though. Jen Sincero and the MMSTB founder (Meredith Hill) both swear by affirmations and quantum physics (which I was introduced to about 10 years ago in Seattle). I finally decided, again for like the ten millionth time that I’m not insane. Here’s the definition of insanity in case you need a reminder:

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I guess I’ve been insane. I don’t want to be insane anymore. Therefore I’m doing something different now.

The Beginning of the Rest of My Life

For starters, I read (and am doing!) Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires. In a nutshell, you learn where you are on the Universal wavelength so you can get yourself higher up the chain. There are 22 levels with 1 being the best – Joy and 22 being the worst – Fear. I feel I’m around 17 – Anger. Honestly, I feel I’m at about 5 different places on the list, maybe I’m actually at 11 with Overwhelment. Anyway, this book helps you move from where you are to where you want to end up through fun exercises.

Jen Sincero and Meredith Hill recommended this book, so it’s where I am beginning.

Secondly, I began re-reading You Are a Badass again last night AND I’m doing what she says. I woke up this morning and wrote out my two affirmations 10x each. It’s odd. Real odd. But I’m leaving insanity behind for the unknown, uncharted waters of my future. These are my two affirmations:

I am incredibly successful, elegant, and a person everyone wants to know.

Good, right? How I want to be that person!

My other affirmation:

My heart is open. Love pours in and out.

I can’t wait to see what my exercise is for tomorrow.

Insane Productivity

I continue to work through this program, which is intense. So far, I’ve given up on social media, clicking email every two seconds, ditching my bubble popping game, and leaving my cell phone at home when I leave the house. Also, I shut off my electronic devices before bed. All I get is my Kindle to read. Like the good ole days when I was earning 75000x the dough I’m currently earning.

Week 5 – Sunday Planning

Last week the program taught weekly planning where on Sundays I plan out my whole week based on my BIG 3 Goals and put those activities on my calendar. There’s more to it than that, but you get the gist.

Here are my BIG 3 Goals:

  1. Health – Lose the equivalent of 30 pounds. I say equivalent because I’m older now, and I think it’s going to be a combination of losing fat AND gaining lost muscle mass. I am 51, remember? This goal encompasses eating right (in Italy – this is the toughest part), exercising, and getting my mind right.
  2. Income – For starters, I want to recover what my ex-narcissist did to me last year. But, according to Darren Hardy, I should shoot for $250,000 per annum. Regardless, my goal is for regular, sustainable income so I can get out of this colossal fuck up I did of my life by coming here. This is even tougher than eating right while in Italy. I have no idea what to do to make money. I have no money to throw at making money. THIS GOAL IS FRUSTRATION NUMERO UNO FOR ME!
  3. Relationships – I have none. I want some. This is another goal I don’t know what to do or how to achieve. But I will figure it out. I suppose I can write note cards and mail them to people I meet. Does Italy have postage stamps? I have no idea.

Week 6 – My Value

This weeks program is on determining your hourly wage. Since I have no wage I decided to use $600,000 a year because I wanted to be a maritime attorney, and in Florida I haven’t met an attorney who charges less than $300 an hour.

MY HOURLY RATE
$600,000 Annual income goal
÷ 2,000 (annual working hours)
= $300 per hour

My hourly rate is: $300
MY MINUTE RATE
$300 Hourly Rate
÷ 60
= $5 per minute
x 10 = $50 per 10-mins
x 15 = $75 per 15-mins

That puts into perspective the cost of a 10-minute Facebook session, doesn’t it? It’s like opening up your wallet, taking out a $50 bill, and ripping it up into a zillion little pieces. With this one realization, the bubble popping game was relegated to the trash bin of my iPad. Finito with bubble popping games, email checking, and boredom crushing facebooking.

Since I’ve paid for the MMSTB I figure I might as well put in the time and effort to get through it, regardless if this is my path or not to those 600 thousand smackers I want every year.

Make Money Selling Travel Blueprint

I am still on Module 2 (working on this module for over two months), which is figuring out what your “medicine” is and how you can help your ideal client. You have to know what pains your ideal client has and how you can turn those pains into pleasure. This is really abstract for me. I want to work with people who have the means to travel. People who don’t nitpick. Every. Single. Thing. People who want to come to the land of Antiquity to eat, drink, and discover. How do I find these people? Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here.

What are their pains? And who are they? I’m confused.

My first idea, Vacation Boutique, is too broad for me. I was having an impossible time wrapping my brain around who exactly in the luxury travel market is my ideal client. So I decided that Vacation Boutique will be a parent company of whatever my working company will be. Will it be Sip & Savor Italy? Will it be Bespoke Antiquity? Who knows.

All I do know is I will finish Module Two today!

Here’s the Thing

I don’t know if I want to do travel (though I love travelling), programming (though I love WordPress development), or something else entirely like designing little dog paraphernalia (though I have no design experience) or coaching women (forget about the testicles already) to get out of their rut. If I can, I KNOW anyone else can too.

I leave you with my current thought of gratitude – I AM GRATEFUL I HAVE A SHOWER TO GET INTO IN 5 MINUTES!

Buona Domenica (Happy Sunday)

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