My life as a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book

Two weeks every two months are spent in Hawaii. Luxury accommodations are provided, as I traipse through the islands. Snorkeling the reefs. Lounging by the beach. Eating seafood that was caught that morning. Liberally using the hotel’s spa services. All the while evaluating everything that crosses my path so I can effectively sell these services to high-end clients who want to go to and see this amazing state.

The other six weeks of the two months are spent in coastal LA. The vibe and flow of the people there. The warm weather. The quick jaunts to wine country. The sand beneath my feet. All the while making great money.

And I’ll need it. My home will be an expensive rental, I’ll need a comfortable and reliable car, and it’ll cost me a lot to live and pay the 10% state income tax. That, and everyone’s a faux blonde.


The hills of San Fran are calling, and so are my amazingly brilliant bosses. I’ll learn as I earn — and earn way more than measly slave wages — from some of the brightest minds around. Our philosophies vibe on topics galore, but I lack the implementation abilities to make things happen. They’ve got it, and they’re looking to spread the wealth of knowledge around to someone with a brain that’s as hungry as it is supple.

Editing books on the Gen X financial mindset. Predicting future earnings based on the current economic factors. Traveling to Boca Raton, Philly, and Germany to provide support to those who foot the bill.

And I’ll work my ass off for bonuses that I’ll need to pay for the home in an area that lacks the patchouli stink and doesn’t have bars on the windows. I won’t get sand between my toes, but I’ll have a firmer behind from walking the city’s slopes, views galore, and the opposite drive to the wineries. Again with the thumbs down on the 10% state income tax; and instead of blondes, there are hippies and hipsters sporting pink mohawks.


I wake up in Midtown to catch the subway or trek it into the city. My fast walking is the exact pace of all the others — a definite change from Chicago’s mosey. The tempo makes me dizzy, just as I am when I enter the office and swoon. Oh Ari Fleischer, you sexy beast. I mean, you wonderfully brilliant mind who I’m learning sports PR from.

I’d be dipping into savings for my monthly expenses if it wasn’t for my investment homes in Houston and Chicago providing cashflow. My internship lacks a paycheck (or provides a measly one), but I’m living the life that the fresh-from-college dream of. The connections gained might help my brother, but the experience definitely will when he gets there on his own.

I’ll have dinner with that friend of mine who makes me smile in the not-just-friends way, and we’ll swap stories with wide eyes and the enthusiasm we always share. I’ll spend the $20 each weekend to ride the shiny train to Long Island to spend a leisurely with Uncle Pete and Aunt April. I’ll become better friends with my dear friend’s dear friend, and we’ll meet for runs in Central Park.


2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and 2 stories are mine all mine. I kicked the renter out at the end of his lease, and I moved myself into the house I’m so proud to own. The walls get painted as I find the just-right colors in Home Depot’s Oops! barrel, and the floors I redo myself. I’ll get new kitchen cabinets once I find some more money.

My parents reside 15 miles away, the big airport is another 15 miles away, and the ocean with 80-degree water is 30 miles away. My sister and her kids spend the weekends making my house messy and swimming in my pool, and my brother moves in one dirty sock at a time.

I revert back to being 15 years old.

I spend the days at the gym, riding my bike in the park, and writing my book as I feel inclined. I eat at the Olive Garden a lot, and the people at the library know my first name. I probably even take a shift at story time, making funny voices when the characters change.

This freedom comes from the cashflow from the other property and my own frugal living. I’m breaking just about even, and I don’t care.


The sleepy fishing town wakes as I walk to the school. I teach writing and lit to army brats, but look where I freaking live! My salary technically blows, but nearly all of it goes straight to the bank!

I take puddle-hopping boats to the other islands each weekend, where the snorkeling and SCUBA diving is unlike anywhere else in the world. The wildlife outside my home includes colorful birds and curious monkeys.

The sand is whiter, the water cleaner, and the sky bluer than any I’ve ever seen. It’s truly paradise.


60 people gather to celebrate my birthday. Disposable cameras are passed around and show all sorts of happy, smiling people when I get them developed. These people love me. I can’t recall ever feeling this warm in my entire life.

Yet an inch of sludge covers everything, and the ice bits thrown by the wind smack my face. Prescriptions keep me from wanting to jump off the building. My quality of life suffers nine months of the year. I can’t recall ever feeling this cold in my entire life.


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