he talk like this 'cuz he can back it up

When I was in my 20s, going to New York City was a pleasure trip. I knew so many people there from my old blogging days, exploring the city via subway was fun, and I even tried to move there before I turned 30. Eight years later, and it’s a totally different experience now. New York City is cramped, dirty, smelly, and rude. Most of my old friends from those blogging days have either moved away, moved on from me, or sadly have passed away.

Now, New York City is just work. I need to find a new city for pleasure trips.

Speaking of work, two new members just joined my team last week and I spent time getting them up to speed before promptly going on vacation for a week and leaving them to fend for themselves. That wasn’t the plan, but I had this time off on the books before they even signed their offers. Coupled with few hard weeks of management decisions and general chaos at work bringing on more new employees, your boy was burned out. The good thing is that this is honestly the first time I have taken a vacation from work and not had to check back in about something, and I plan on using every precious hard-earned minute treating myself to whatever I want.

When I was up in NYC for work last week, the COO and I had a little chat. He was giving me his version of a pep talk for making a recent tough recruiting decision, and was congratulating me on handling it with grace.

“You know, you are a fantastic individual. You really are. But I think the best thing about you is that you have no ego about it. You just do the work and show up and help out. And that’s the trait of a good leader.”

I zeroed in on that “no ego” part because I’ve never gotten that as a compliment before. I’ll admit that I have mellowed in some ways over the years, but I’ve also never really been one to be all that bombastic about my accomplishments. The work should speak for itself, right? And I’m fortunate that it has, especially since it’s gotten me this far. “No ego,” though? I don’t know. That phrase is still sticking with me.

Today is my birthday. 38 years old. I have a great job, I’m making more money than I’ve ever made before, and life is good right now. I’m able to fund my creative projects, give back to the community, and make an impact.

Ego or not, I think I’m in a pretty good spot.

Get your hand out of my pocket!

7 rings, 6 figures

2018 was a good year for me at work. I took on big problems. I stepped up and volunteered for new projects. And at the end of it all, I was promoted several times, got recognized for my accomplishments, and got a substantial raise that pushed me into an entirely new tax bracket.

And yet, it’s still not sitting right with me for some reason. What’s that about?

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t feel bad about the fact that I make more money. I work hard as fuck. I put in long hours and I get results. And I’m doing things which are helping make my employer money and increase our profile in the marketplace. So there’s no guilt around that. I deserve this, for sure. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I don’t really know if I’m managing it right.

Look…I can manage being broke. $20 to stretch throughout the week? I’m a gold champ in that shit. But now, $20 is just a cheap lunch on Tuesday. That’s a big leap, y’all. Usually when you’re broke, you just do what you have to do to solve certain problems, like getting rid of junk and old furniture because you decided to KonMari your apartment over the weekend and you’re tired of stepping over the heavy trash bags. Now I can throw money at the problem and hire a junk delivery service. And a regular house cleaner. And new furniture to fill my apartment now that I junked most of old furniture. Like, I just bought a new couch on my lunch break on a whim! I’ve been looking for a couch and sitting on couches in stores for months now, and *poof* — I snapped one up randomly that fell within my price range and measurements with zero research about it. WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Furniture purchases aside, I haven’t been balling out of control with the new salary. I’ve set up my bills on autopay, added more onto my student loan payments, and soon I’ll start putting more into my 401k. One of my friends even wants me to start looking for a house to buy. (I do not want a house, but that’s a whole other story.) I haven’t even told my mom about the raise yet because I already know what’s going to happen when I do. She’ll start throwing it in my face, trying to use it as a reason for why I don’t come home more or call more or stuff like that. She already holds resentment against her older brother because he made a ton more money than her and never visited or anything. He would help her out with money when she needed it, but she’d always say something like “your money doesn’t make you better than me” before begrudgingly taking it to get her out of a financial bind.

Right now, I make three times more than my mom made at the peak of her career, and I haven’t told her about the raise because I don’t need that to be another reason that she doesn’t treat me with any respect. Maybe I’m repealing the black tax by withholding that information, but I don’t see any outcome where she would respond positively. She already turned her nose up at me when she knew my starting salary at this job.

Now I make double that.

My birthday is coming up in a few days, and initially I thought about flying out to Puerto Rico for a week and spending it at a beach resort. But work crept up on me, so I just got a suite at a nice hotel here in town. I’ll treat myself to all the stuff I’ve wanted to do in Atlanta, enjoy a nice view of the city, and unwind and relax.

I see it, I like it, I want, I got it.

Bad At This

But like...who's good at it?

It's Sunday, and I'm tired.

I'm typing this to you on my phone from my bed — actually, I'm not even doing that; I'm dictating this to an app called Otter which will transcribe it into text which I then copied and pasted here so I could make light edits. After a week of meetings and interviews, that's about as much “work” as I really plan on doing today.

The concept of adulting has been on my mind a lot lately. I turn 38 in March, and I think about how when my mom was my age, she had two kids, a trifling husband, and a job that ran her ragged. I don't know how she managed it all because I only have one of those things and I feel like I'm still barely taking care of myself. I mean, I'm doing the things that adults should do — you know, pay bills, go to work, file taxes…shit like that. But I also feel like I'm failing in some ways. I eat out way too much and don't cook nearly enough. It takes me too long to respond to emails and texts. I might check my mailbox once a week. Hell, I said I would start these newsletters to y'all in January and it's damn near Valentine's Day!


I'm trying to will myself to take a vacation for my birthday. I'd love to visit Puerto Rico for a week, but then it's like, “oh, I have to schedule the time off,” which is not a bad thing — I've earned the time — but I'm also in the middle of interviewing and trying to build my team at work and my mind is saying “do you really need to go on a vacation now?” Because then I'll have to book a hotel and plane tickets…which reminds me I have to book plane tickets for two trips to NYC soon — one at the end of the month and for our annual gathering in May. That means I've got to make sure my mail gets held, the plants get watered, and that I don't have any other appointments scheduled during those times.

It's a good thing I'm already lying down, because thinking about all that just gave me a headache.

When did you feel like you were good at being an adult? Is this something that any of us ever really get good at being? Because I feel like I'm just winging it these days and I need a break.

Don't Call it a Comeback

Or do. I don't care. It's a free country.

Welcome to my newsletter! Again!

Since TinyLetter kicked me off their platform, I’ve taken a bit of a break and have decided to relaunch the newsletter here on Substack.

Substack is a platform for email newsletters similar to TinyLetter, but it’s better designed, the format is easier on the eyes for writers, and you can respond online or via email. I can even charge a subscription for the newsletter but…I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m happy if you just check it out and leave your thoughts.

(Or thots. I’m not picky.)

Like my earlier newsletter, I plan on writing about whatever’s on my mind at the time. I’m really inspired by the blogging spirit of the early aughts, and I want to keep that going in my own writing. Special shout-out to the one and only Melissa Beck; her writing on Patreon is so fucking good that it made me want to get off my ass and start back blogging like I used to in my early days.

To that end, some of the writing here will be NSFW, but most of it is perfectly fine for reading out loud to your boss (if you’re so inclined.) I’ll also keep doing the “Asides” posts, which are just lists where I just dump out whatever’s in my head.

Subscribe now, and new updates will come starting January 2019. See you then. ✌🏾

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