The Long Short

Ok, this is a super long blog post, so halfway through I promise I will insert a cute picture of my cat Kiki because you will definitely need to take a kitten break

Last night hubs and I finally saw “The Big Short.” We have been trying to see this movie for a month and kept getting deterred. One time we were stuck in crazy traffic. Another time we were almost at the ticket window when he got a work call. Somehow last night the stars aligned and we were able to see it at the Pruneyard in Campbell which meant a yummy dinner at Orchard City Kitchen, poking around at Sports Basement, and then the movie. This is considered a pretty exciting Friday night in our world. #LateThirties

The reason I was dying to see this movie is I sort of lived it. Back in the day I worked for a sub prime mortgage company. I saw firsthand the whole thing crash and burn. It was a little surreal seeing this movie at the Pruneyard because 14 years ago I got my first job for a mortgage company that was literally in walking distance to the theater. I got a temp job when the market was hot (not sub-prime market). My job was to log in loan applications, pick up lunch for the department  (people were working non-stop so we got lunch catered every day for a while there). I eventually moved to loan set-up, entering loan application in the system and sending them to the underwriting department. It was not an awesome job, but they let me work 20 hours a week with benefits and a flexible schedule. I decided I needed to nip it in the bud and finish my B.A. I was working part-time and taking 18-20 credits a semester. Finally, in the summer of 2003 I graduated. It was such a relief, because I finished something that I really didn’t think I would finish.  And now, employers would be lining up to give me a job and pay me the big bucks, right? The diploma was the magic ticket, right?


It was not.

This was 2003 and the job market was not super awesome for someone with a degree in English and no desire to teach. Things started slowing down at the company I was at and it was clear to me there was no growth potential. A former colleague said there was a position at the place she was working at—a sub-prime mortgage company. I had no idea what that meant, but applied anyways

In 2004 I started working there. It’s funny because when you think of all the ugliness of what happened after 2008, I have great memories of that job. It was a good company, with good people. They threw me a Hawaiian themed bridal shower because I was getting married in Maui. Our boss had epic Halloween costume contest. One year, my department decided to be cops and inmates and my costume was Martha Stewart.

I saw myself having a future there. I started in loan set-up, then account management, and eventually became an underwriter. When it was good, it was good. Profit sharing, bonuses, 401k matching…And the Account Executives were making bank. In the back of my head it was a little tempting to think the next logical step would be becoming an Account Executive. I could make A LOT of money.  I was in my late 20s, newly married and had a clear idea of what my future had ahead of me.

It was spring of 2007 and I was in New Delhi for business. We opened up an offshore office there and I was there to help with the office going live. I felt like such a grown up, on business overseas with an expense account. I was staying at the Radisson and had access to their business lounge.  I worked the night shift and one morning I got back to my hotel room at 4am, checked my email and saw a message from my boss.

Just one line.

“Can you call me immediately?”

I felt a stabbing sensation in my gut. I was ready for this. There were signs. We started cutting way back on the types of loans we did. Our competitors were dropping like flies.

So, I called her and she told me that corporate made the decision to close our office. She said there may be opportunities at the Pleasanton branch.

I got off the phone. I was not in shock. But I felt numb. And alone. And thousands and thousands of miles from home.

Ok…I think it may be time for a

kitten break

Ok, back to the post.

I did get a position at the Pleasanton branch, but it was a sinking ship. We closed that office in the fall and the company eventually went under. I was 30 at this point and the future I so clearly saw ahead of me the past few years had faded away.

So at this point you are probably thinking, “Um, I thought this lady writes about running and biking and the Real Housewives. What is with this Debbie Downer story?”

Ok, ok. I do have a point–I will get us to triathlons. Seriously.

The past two years have been challenging in my tri-life. In 2014, I did some events but my heart wasn’t in it. In 2015, I started with a bang training like a boss for Oceanside, but after that race it was hard to get my focus and momentum back. For so many years, I had this vision of who I was going to be. I would be faster, I would get closer to a sub two hour half marathon. I would be a cycling beast. I would have rock hard abs. But, I was none of those things.

I felt lost. What happened to that person who did endurance events? Who signed up for events called the Death RIde, or jumped off a boat at Alcatraz to swim to shore? Who was I if I wasn’t this person any more?

Over 8 years ago when the industry in was no longer in existence, it was very much a “what now” time? It took some time…but I knew what I wanted to do.

I wanted to work in nonprofit. So, similarly to 2001 when I started my journey in mortgage, I got a temp job for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And 8 years later I am dedicated to this sector. Writing this and just thinking about that cocky 20-something drooling over all the dollar bills she could make kind of sickens me. And then watching the movie last night and seeing how much money people made while things were falling apart…I just can’t even. I love the nonprofit sector. I love being surrounded by passionate people dedicated to righting the wrongs in the world.

So, back to triathlons. So, if I am not going to do a crazy, bananas event, what is the point? Then I got an idea. What if I trained for something I have never done before? What if I trained for a sprint triathlon? I have done plenty of sprints, usually untrained, or they are part of my longer distance training. But I have never trained solely for a sprint. And it feels like I can stop holding my breath. The weight may be off my shoulders, Training for a sprint is do-able–consistent workouts, but not hours and hours of my time spent on my bike or running. I have not really consistently worked out since the Vegas ½ marathon in November, so it will be a great way to get my fitness back.

Wildflower 2016, I am coming for you.

So, I am not quite sure what the moral of the story is here. I guess, try to cut yourself some slack. Don’t get wrapped up in what that perfect, ideal version of you is and just find what makes sense for you.

Hmmm…this was kind of a long blog post related to such a short distance event.


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