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I stared, speechless, at my monitor for a long, long time, and felt every shard of Christmas Pink Flamingo Shirt Santa Hat And Holiday Lights T-Shirt and separate individual color of the swamp-choked morass that had built up and congealed around my heart over the past year begin to whip past the window of my mind’s eye in a sudden, accelerating whirlwind. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t remember how to feel happy, overjoyed about something. Eventually, I just started to silently cry, alone here in my room. No sound, no sobs. Just wordless, hot tears rolling down my cheeks until the screen blurred and I could read the number I stared at no longer.
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I took that $500, and I darted straight past kid-in-a-candy-store and right into Christmas Pink Flamingo Shirt Santa Hat And Holiday Lights T-Shirt mode. I researched components. I studied the market on eBay and compared it to other sites. I took averages of prices. And then I started placing careful bids, waiting patiently for the fringe auctions to let a piece go at well below market price. When I couldn’t find the exact thing I wanted, I diverted to a competitor brand and tried my luck there. I was in no logical rush; a week before I’d thought that computer would be out of my reach for literal years. I could afford to wait for deals to present themselves if I just resisted the impulse to impulse-buy… and eventually, they did. In the world of auctions, patience is king; in business as a whole, it’s exclusively the party who can and will walk away. I walked away from a lot of options as soon as the bid went too high. Weeks passed, then months, then nearly a full year. But far more than that? Slowly my life began to change itself in other, seemingly-unrelated ways, too. In between auctions and as the months passed, I started to write periodic pieces on this website I’d found called Quora, and those pieces started to get some real attention. I finished and e-published my first-ever short story on Amazon at the end of 2016, putting myself and my work “out there” for the very first time ever. I buckled down with the help of my more-administrative-minded best friend and together sent out some feelers for public speaking (motivational true-storytelling about surviving cancer and living with undiagnosed high-functioning autism), and I actually got my very first paying gig doing a speech at a nearby university. I started to actually shake out of endless grey limbo for the first time in years and began the real work laying the foundations of an entirely new life and new career, as a writer and as a speaker.
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And it can truthfully said to be all because of that first out-of-nowhere secret santa gift of a Christmas Pink Flamingo Shirt Santa Hat And Holiday Lights T-Shirt and a gift card, from a giant corporation who had only the slightest idea I existed at all. That blind-thrown gem transmuted for me a real, tangible handhold to grab onto and stop my downward sliding in a way and at a time in my life when little else could have… and I’ve been more than determined to put the work in myself from there to keep on climbing back up and out again.