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A lot can happen in a year!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Since the last time I posted here almost a year ago, I had mentioned I was going through a metamorphosis. I did a lot of soul-searching and reflection on it over several weeks, and I made the move. Before I do anything else, I need to extend a great deal of gratitude to everyone who's helped and supported me, especially my husband. Everyone needs a rock to lean on, and I'm very lucky to have one. Because of so many people being there for me, I've crawled my way out of the swampy water, shed my old skin and have spread my wings. Ain't they purty? Allow me to tell you all about their iridescent facets!

It was around the same time last year when I left the agency I began my real estate career four years earlier. The one I chose was a much larger one yet still a local independent - from three people (including myself) in my old office to nearly 500! It was a frightening experience for sure, but the change paid off in more ways than one. Not only did all of the landlords I regularly worked with follow me over, which I am still touched by that, but I gained quite a few new clients throughout the year! Since then, I had also earned my broker license, which I know is something that would not have happened if I stayed where I was. And, because I have that, I now have many more opportunities available to me, such as rental property management and sales. My managing broker feels I would be a natural at property management, and for the right client, I would cheerfully offer that service!

This was one of my doodles while I was studying. I tend to remember things not only by writing them down, but also by matching stuff to pop culture references.

Money-wise, yes, I closed the books on 2016, and I earned more money with Kale Realty than I did with my past brokerage, and I earned that only with commissions. At the other place, I was also their office manager, so a good portion of what I earned was income for administrative work. Now, the only stuff like that I do is for myself, and it's a lot more fun! One of the reasons I chose these guys is because they truly allow me to be independent - so I was able to design my own business cards, door hangers, signs, banners and holiday cards (which those, I was able to design them for my friends and family and not just for clients and prospects - I mailed hundreds!). Creating a sign for my retail storefronts - that was a huge achievement for me - the first time I officially got to use my broker license over being a leasing agent.


[Putting on my Realtor hat] This vintage Logan Square corner storefront rental with commercial zoning has tin ceilings, exposed brick and a full basement! Priced right!

In 2016, I passed quite a few checkpoints and crossed off bucket list items, all thanks to that big change! One of the first things that happened was I won a set of tickets from the office to the White Sox opening game. Oh, and these weren't bleacher seats, either. We were right behind home plate, and the tickets also came with premium parking and access to the VIP area - fancy bar, restaurant with carving station and fancy bathrooms! What, you don't believe me? Well let me show you!


Oh sure, the Cubs won the World Series, and ironically, they beat the team the Sox played against on opening day, and I'm not a sportsball fan anyway, but it was awesome to spend time here and living like a rich person! Mostly, I thought it was nice to do something my dad would have enjoyed and that made my perfect brother extremely jealous at the same time. And of course I needed a souvenir!

Other things I got to do, all thanks to my change in agencies, was take not one but three vacations! Sure, they were all minis, but two of them were with my husband, one on a plane even, and he hadn't been on a plane in 25 years! I didn't go to PSG, but I made it to Green Spirit Gathering at Circle Sanctuary instead - also knocking out one of my bucket list items - to see the Pagan cemetery and veterans memorial. That was very moving to me. The other two places I went were Wisconsin Dells and stayed at Kalahari in a 1BR condo suite and Las Vegas for New Year's Eve. That one was a special treat for many reasons that would take an hour to get into. But it too was a bucket list item, and it's our other anniversary!


A small sampling of my visit to Circle Sanctuary when I went to Green Spirit Gathering. Bottom photo (cropped) courtesy of Bob Paxton.

Now all of these wonderful fun times, sure, I needed them from working so hard. I even got an award as Broker of the Month for July (and was named an Agent of the Month in December!) I invested in myself in a number of ways, however, I felt it was important to give back for making things like this possible for me. So, I upped my donations and my time. This year, on top of donating a shopping cart full of food for Chicago Pagan Pride, I volunteered to work the food drive station. I was pretty beat up by the end of the day thanks to my back being out of whack, but at least I was in the shade and had a place to sit.


It really does make me feel good to receive something with my name etched in it. I refuse to use it though - I don't want to scratch it up! I'm thinking shadow box!

I also dedicated another painfully long day working as an Election Judge. I was there from 5am until I got home around 10:30pm since I went with another Election Judge to deliver the ballots. We didn't even know what was going on with the polls until we got in the car and turned on the radio. And of course, there were toys given out, as well as used clothes and money. I also continue to keep food in my car that I often give to the homeless at the off- and onramps.


Volunteering is hard work, and you're definitely not in it for the fashion, but it's very rewarding and fulfilling. That's my new friend and co-Election Judge, Marcus, on the right after we delivered the ballots. We were absolutely exhausted. We also heard the vote count at that point which didn't help the mood.

And yes - another new set of experiences for me was attending seminars and conferences. That wasn't much of a thing with my old place, and I can't imagine why not. They're fun, they're mostly (almost) free, and I learn a lot! Oh, and conference snack food is always a nice bonus! I decided not to go to Orlando for the National Association of Realtors annual conference, even though it included Universal Studios (and could have went to Hogwarts out of the deal!), but I only slightly regret it. I wouldn't have enjoyed it without going with someone else, and Ron wanted to save the money for Vegas. But for 2017, I may very well do that. The Illinois one I may choose to do with a rental car.


Seeing a trend here? Yes, lots of yumminess is involved in these things, and I even won a pony! (Sox tickets was still a way better prize, but hey - Shamrock has a permanent home with me!)

Since Imbolc is just a couple weeks away, and I am entering the sixth year of my real estate career, I'll be looking ahead to another year of goal-setting. Last year was obviously the year of new beginnings and new experiences, so 2017 will be the year of self-care, which of course is in addition to everything that's already underway! I've always said to listen to your flight attendants: Secure your own mask before assisting others with theirs. Therefore, I need to take care of myself better so I can continue to serve others! (And make more money, which money is nice.)


And this is actually one of the hardest life lessons of them all - good ole check yoself!

I've already started on that with my teeth, which that process is going to take a couple of months to be finished. (I dunno about going extreme and passing the tissue test, but after decades of smoking [which I don't anymore], all the dental work will make my teeth clean and healthy.) Next will be to put in more time at the gym, since I have gained a lot of weight with my back being so out of whack and physical therapy expired. (The Planet Fitness that opened by us last April has a hydro massage bed that really helps me feel better; they're very nice people there.) I'm not looking to fit into my high school leather mini again, but it would be nice to sleep comfortably. By the way: Ron and I call it the playground. Doesn't that sound less intimidating and more fun, saying, "We're going to the playground!" instead of "uhhh... I gotta get my fat ass over to the gym". To a kid, all the machines look like the playground, so why not?

And of course, in general, I'll continue to learn and grow. And by that, I mean I'll be having more fun working hard, ethically, and on my own terms - all while making people happy! Sounds like a plan!

So what are your plans for this year? How has your life changed in a year?

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Lori Dake is a life-long native several generations back, a mom to an adult son and has been together with her husband over twenty years. She is a real estate broker primarily serving the North Side and has also worked as a paralegal for several years. Sometimes, she’s a hardcore fashionista, and sometimes a concert shirt and jeans are more her style. Hobbies include painting while listening to 80’s metal, writing, participating in various forms of philanthropy and creating fabulous meals on a budget.


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