Does stuff have you stuck?

I met long-time online friend Allie Siarto, co-founder of a social media analytics company, the creator of Entretrip, and a wedding photographer on-the-side, at a DC coffee shop near my apartment. She ordered the Yared, a large mug of orange juice steamed with lemons, limes and honey, and we talked business, careers and life. One of the questions she asked was, “Does stuff have you stuck?”

Allie told me the story of how she and her husband bought a house in East Lansing, Michigan, one that needed a bit of tender loving care, but was generally a great house. There was one room in the house, however, that she really wanted to renovate – the kitchen. Of course, anyone that has a house, or watches HGTV, knows that the kitchen is the most expensive to renovate. And yet, Allie really wanted a new kitchen.

So she kept working. She kept working at things she didn’t like to do, and let one deal go so far that there was little room to back out. The more claustrophobic her work became, the more the kitchen came into focus. Clippings were saved, ideas were paved. And the closer she got to new granite countertops, the more she wondered. For the sake of a future kitchen, should she be so unhappy now?

There’s something to be said for sacrifice. But you should also look at your needs and wants, your values and desires, and ask yourself, “Does stuff have you stuck?”

Allie backed out of the deal with no room to back out. She and her husband rented their house, kitchen and all, and moved to the East Coast; it’s temporary, but with opportunity. They found an apartment in Dupont Circle, a two-bedroom on the cheap, a favor from a friend-of-a-friend. All of the apartment owner’s things are still there; she uses his umbrella when it rains. And someone else is living with all of her things in Michigan.

She shrugs. This is where her story ends.

She smiles. This is where her story begins.

the notebook is a bunch of short items on my current obsessions.