Marin County, CA

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Mt. Tam – thanks Mike Z

I lived in Marin for quite some time.  What a wonderful, gorgeous piece of Heaven on Earth it is there.  Breath-taking vistas and views at most every turn.  No matter how many times you look over at San Francisco in the skyline, each and every time it is fresh and new.  Kinda like how I feel about the NYC skyline too.  I love seeing it.

I was blessed with the initiative and fortitude to buy my first house there at 23.  I moved to San Francisco after college in Washington, D.C. and paying such a high rent made little fiscal sense to me.  I had been buying stocks since 16, so liquidated those, got a loan from my mom and my boyfriend got a loan from his dad.  Into the world of real estate I entered at that ripe young age.  Earlier, I had tried to talk my mom into buying a condo in Georgetown for college but real estate investing was too scary for her.

I never looked back on this purchase as it fueled the rest of my life.  In those days, it wasn’t about fix and flip but about building equity.  By the time we sold that house, we each had enough money to walk away from each other and do as we pleased.  We made a small profit of around $20-30K but the rest of the money we received was from building equity and paying down a chunk of that mortgage balance each and every month.

This experience is why I look at many people buying real estate today with dismay.  They are looking for the quick killing.  They are desperate if they have to sell at a “loss”.  They are foolish – plain and simple.  Real estate as an investment is not a guarantee as with any sort of investment.  It’s either your home – a place to live and raise a family – or it’s an investment.  You do not mix the two.  If it was your home and you have to sell at a “loss” – compare that to what you would have thrown away on rent.  It’s a cost of living, not a loss.

Anyway, I didn’t even mean to write about real estate, but a pending trip back to Marin got me to reminisce.  I’m not even sure I want to go.  Many of my old friends are still living there with very little forward progress.  That thought alone bores the hell out of me.  Sure, there is comfort in visiting things that do not change but also very confining.  As I go out on a limb to the vast reaches of the universe and explore so much new territory, reeling myself back in and visiting people stuck in the old isn’t very appealing to me.  I know each of us has our own paths to follow but watching others stagnate is really hard for me.

One of my soul mates, Chris, who I have now known for 20 years is still a struggling singer who has never left Marin.  He is so gifted, he should have rose to stardom and been touring the world ten times over.  Instead, his own shit got in the way of every successful lead put into his path.  It was disheartening to watch that from the side lines.  Now, after 20 years he is finally starting to address his own issues.  I suppose better late than never but still.  He is the reason I moved to Los Angeles.  When, after many years, I realized he would never step up his game concerning our uber intense bond, I left.  Of course years later he came crying at my door acknowledging the intense love he felt for me but couldn’t act upon then.   Our timing was always off.  One year I gave/lent him $1,000 to go to rehab for pot.  He genuinely seemed ready to turn his life around and I vacillated on helping.  In the end, I decided if that money could really help him be a better person, I’d take the chance.  Sadly, it didn’t do much and he clouded his life up again in literal smoke.

Another friend Mike is the life of the party.  He is a barrel of fun and can make anyone laugh.  He’s a trainer after about 20 years, still living in a rented apartment with a platonic room mate not being able to make ends meet.  He is awake and aware but something holds him back from making any move past where he is currently at professionally or personally.

Same story with Paolo, working an hourly job at a manufacturing company living in the same rental, going to the same bars, listening to the same bands, drinking the same drink.  Well, I drink the same chardonnay but I do it from various cities around the world.  LOL.  Not that it makes me any better than anyone but I think this life is about exploration.  I know, my thing, some people like the status quo.

Or, I can go visit my friend in prison there.  He chose not to stand up and speak at his trial even though he was innocent.  Yes, he was black mailed by the D.A. to not speak, but I tell you what, any fool trying to black mail me away from the truth, better step the f**k out of my way.  I’d take my chances with the truth versus cowering in the corner any day.  No man is my authority.  He sent me the prison visitor paperwork and I threw it aside after filling out the first three lines.  The thought of driving to some desert spot in Cali behind barbed wires isn’t appealing at all.

IDK, maybe I’ll skip this part of my journey.  Going back into the old isn’t calling me at the moment.  I’m ready for new positive adventures instead.

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