Last week, I reached my ten-year anniversary of being 100% invested in Precious Metals, as described in Wednesday’s RANT, “TEN YEARS IN HEAVEN AND HELL.” Who knew it would be the most important decision of my career, and likely, the defining moment of my existence?
That decision was the most far-reaching of my professional life, as my move to Denver similarly defined my personal life. And it occurred five years ago, this week.
Having grown up in Long Island, I am a red-blooded New Yorker. I went to college in Albany – the state’s capital – and spent 15 years living just outside Manhattan – in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Hoboken, New Jersey – leaving only for a brief 12 month stint as an oilfield service analyst in New Orleans, Louisiana. Until five years ago, my friends, family, and social life were all situated in New York – most notably my summers in Montauk, as discussed in my December RANT, “PEACE OF THE ROCK.”
There are many aspects of New York to love – in Manhattan, the Outer Boroughs, and Long Island – as well as the East Coast in general, which I’ve traveled from Maine to Florida. Despite this – and my Brooklyn lineage – I was never a “New Yorker at heart.” What I enjoy most is peace and tranquility, plus a reasonable standard of living and laid back people not constantly fighting “turf wars.” Not that New Yorkers are any “better” or “worse” than others, but living in a crowded, expensive, weather challenged area – lots of rain, snow, humidity, and cold snaps – one builds a tough exterior, clearly visible to outsiders. In fact, New Yorkers – and Philadelphians, Bostonians, and other inhabitants of most Northeast cities – are famous for it.
The idea to leave New York emerged when still in college, when I crazily considered joining a salmon fishing crew offshore Alaska to avoid the weak Wall Street job market. Once in the Manhattan work force, I spent a considerable amount of time prospecting for jobs in Charlotte, North Carolina, to no avail. Only until I returned from New Orleans in 1999 did the concept of moving seem feasible, but the following three years were the busiest – and highest-paying – years of my career, so I stayed put. Moreover, once I got engaged in 2002, I knew such a move would have to wait.
My first trip to Denver was in 1999, when I began an annual tradition of skiing at Steamboat that didn’t end until I moved here eight years later. Additionally, as an oilfield service analyst, I took several trips in the early 2000s to oil conferences – Colorado is a natural gas producing state – and even oilfield service internet companies before the “tech wreck” in mid-2000. It became quite clear that my life’s desires could be realized here; and that, before realizing Colorado is the second sunniest state in the Union, after Hawaii. Peace, quiet, low cost, great weather, world class skiing 90 minutes from home – in comparison, Vermont is four hours from Long Island – and a modern, clean, accessible city. Moreover, the citizens originate from all around the nation – drawn by the aforementioned perks – so I felt right at home, as opposed to Louisiana, where I felt like an outsider.
When I left Salomon Smith Barney in February 2005, not only was I dying to leave New York – and Wall Street – but feared Manhattan after my experiences with the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 – first hand, as an employee of Cantor Fitzgerald on Floor 105 of the South Tower – and 9/11, from blocks away at Salomon’s Tribeca headquarters. My goal was to get as far as possible from likely terrorist targets, reinforcing my desire to move to Denver. In fact, I almost made it here in the Fall of 2005 when offered a PM analyst job at a mid-tier Denver investment bank, subsequently withdrawn by management due to “second thoughts” about entering this taboo sector.
Frankly, I’m thrilled that job didn’t materialize, as I now have little respect for that firm, and am much happier with the career path I took, which circuitously took me to the RANT I’m writing today. When my wife and I finally made the move in May 2007, it was the most exciting time of my life. We drove here in just under four days – seeing much of the country along the way – and bought our dream house in the suburbs – halfway between Denver and Boulder – smack dab on the second tee box of a local golf course.
In our five years here, we have made many friends, acquired our wonderful dog Giselle, and built a simple, peaceful life. Diana is no longer a commuting attorney, but working in her true field – ballet – and my commute is 15 stairs down, 50 paces across, to my home office. We feel safe and secure in Denver, and have truly become a part of it. Hopefully, some of you will consider such a move, too, which I’d be happy to facilitate!