Reaching, Climbing

goals, life

Last Friday was my final day at work. According to my facebook profile, I am now "happily retired." As of today, I don't plan to do another day of "traditional work" in my life. That's not to say that I'll be sitting idle playing tiddly winks. I want to build things, to dedicate my life to independent study, and to get really, really good with building communities. I don't have time for any of this "work" stuff that somehow pervades our entire culture, choking our inspiration and sapping our energy away from the things we'd rather be doing.

I'd suspect that if you're being honest with yourself, you'd realize that you don't have time for it either.

A few people have asked me "is it scary?" and I'm not going to sugar coat it. Hell yeah it is -- forsaking the path and forging ahead is super scary. It means that if I fail, I've got nobody to blame for it but myself. I mean, I'm not going to fail, but that incessant little doubt is there in the back of my mind, always nattering away.

So on one hand there's that. Yup, it is scary, but on the other hand, it really, really isn't. Why not? Because I already had that life. I built it, with some help, but mostly on my own. I did it once, and I can do it again if I decide I need to. That's why stepping out on a limb and trying all of this isn't petrifying.

Worst case scenario, I can reestablish myself as a successful software engineer who delivers exceptional value. Worst case scenario, I can reach out to my old contacts, and I'm sure at least one of them would be excited to work with me again.

I met a guy on the bus a few weeks ago. He's a prosperous chiropractor in the UK, who has built his own little back-straightening empire locally. He's got a ton of patients who love him, and he makes solid money. But on our bus ride, he expressed to me that despite his success, he wasn't all that excited about how his life was turning out. He wanted to travel full-time, and he had the money to do it, but he was afraid of giving up his little empire back home. He was afraid of giving up this thing that he had fought for. This thing that he had slowly put together, brick by brick, by his own sweat and tears.

My attitude is that if you've done it once, you can do it again. As anyone who has redone a project will tell you, the first time is always the hardest. The first time through, you don't know what you're doing, and you're bound to take missteps along the way. But you're also learning how to do it. The second time, always goes much smoother, because you have the benefit of hindsight; you know what worked and what didn't, and you can focus your efforts only on steps forward. That's not to say you won't have hardships the second time around, but they'll be fewer.

And let's not even talk about the third time you build something.

The point is this: if you want something out of life, go and take it. Don't let the status quo stop you, because the status quo is always going to be there. That's what it is -- it's the mean you can regress to if everything else goes pear-shaped. It's the safety net of charted territory that in your bones you know how to navigate.

If you fall, you already know how to rebuild what you had, but you can't fall until you start reaching higher and climbing.


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