The Battle Ahead

Well folks, I’ve been on this leave for about two months now, and it has definitely been one hell of an eye-opening ride. I’ve certainly discovered a lot about myself along the way, and I hope you’ve in turn perhaps learned something new about yourself as well. My time is nearly up now, and so I must now prepare the more practical plan for my next step on the horizon. As I’m doing this, I want to be able to incorporate all the great things I’ve learned throughout this experience. So naturally, this means taking a quick dip into the pools of reflection and summarization.

In retrospect, there are a lot of things I might have done differently along the way of my self-reflective journey… but there are always different choices, different paths, that you could have taken. The important thing is to understand and remember why you took the one you did. And for me, the important thing to remember is that I even started this journey in the first place. Because taking that first brave step towards self-confrontation was a choice in itself that others might not have made. But I made it. And I did so because I have a drive in me, a desire to find my own path, beat my own drum, and avoid conforming to the world’s idea of normalcy.

One of my favorite bloggers, Ramit Sethi of iwillteachyoutoberich.com, wrote that we all once had that urge to be unique. But that over time, ‘we settle into a world of normalcy where being ambitious is “weird” — and even if we are ambitious, we’re not sure what exactly to do to turn that ambition into results.’ Well I did find myself in that world, having unknowingly succumbed to a life of normalcy, and then waking up one day to realize I’m nowhere near being who and what I thought I wanted. And now that I know what’s missing, and I have tapped back into my old familiar ambition, I’ve struggled with that very big question of what to do with it.

Well first things first. Before even tackling the question of what to do next, I found I needed to reassess what I even define as success. You see, the world of normalcy implants a lot of ideas in our heads. And one of those is the idea that in order to be successful, you need to find a steady stable 9-5 job that pays well, has a impressive sounding title, and lots of room for growth to an even higher title with even higher pay. Or as Robert Frost, one of my all-time favorite poets put it, ‘By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.’ This is exactly what my family taught me to aim for, what my childhood community taught me to aim for, what I told myself to aim for.

And guess what? I discovered that’s not actually what I really do value as success. Go figure! In digging into what actually makes me tick, what rewards I seek, and how I measure success, I’ve discovered that my definition of a fulfilling lifestyle is a much different picture than that previously drawn for me. My picture is much more flexible, creative and diverse. My picture involves various sources of income, from a variety of enterprises, none of which fit into the simple 9-5 model, but all with these things in common: more flexibility of schedule, more opportunity to try new things, more creativity, and above all, more ownership and control over all these.

From this, I began to sketch out what my next steps will look like, what enterprises I will seek, what sources of income I will generate, what my daily schedule will look like, and so on. I’ve been discussing this with a number of you already, so I won’t get too into the details. Suffice it to say I’m very excited for the endeavors I’m aiming for next, and will be looking forward especially to the opportunities they will provide me for spending more quality time with all of you (both in doing them with you, or in having more free time to spend with you). Though I know it will not be easy, I am hopeful for what this will bring.

That said, the one piece of this plan I would particularly like to share with you all is how I’ve been redefining my idea of home. Throughout this journey, I’ve been talking a lot about the discovery that my current residence is not much of a home to me. Nor have I felt that sense of belonging anywhere since I last lived in Davis for college – which explains a lot about the extreme feelings of nostalgia I still harbor there. So in taking this next big step in my life’s journey, I’ve realized one piece of the puzzle will be to relocate to a place I can develop and identify as home.

However, as with every other part of this exploration, I’m finding this to be much easier said than done. Oh it was easy enough to figure out where I’d want this home to be, and who I’d want to share it with, and what elements I’d need present in order to create such a home. But the hard part comes in making this dream a reality. As I hit roadblocks, and face differences of availability, I find myself forced to consider alternatives. And as I have been teaching myself to remember, such struggles are opportunities in disguise. So with my perfect image of a perfect new home fading, I have begun constructing a more practical solution that might even better serve my next endeavors.

You see, my friends, I plan to be homeless. That word does sound quite ugly though, doesn’t it? So let’s say, I plan to roam. I plan to be a citizen of the world, a resident of this community, a tenant only of my own ambition. I plan to inhabit an environment befitting of the more flexible, creative, and diverse lifestyle I am planning to build for myself. And this will in turn help enable that lifestyle even further, as such a lifestyle will no doubt be less lucrative at first, and this living arrangement will save me considerable monthly expenses.

And so, as I close out this blog entry, I appeal to you my dearest friends who have been such invaluable companions on this latest and hardest of life’s journeys. In a few months, I will be moving all my things to storage, stocking up my car with the essentials, and crashing from couch to couch in my own version of the starving artist lifestyle. In this next stage of my life, I entreat each of you to continue opening your hearts and sharing your thoughts, just as so many of you have already so generously opened your doors and shared your homes.

A few months from now, and after parting ways with my current employer once and for all, I will be living a very different lifestyle from anything I’ve previously known. This will be a very big shift for me, and though I am almost literally bouncing with excitement, it will also take a great deal of adjusting. With this in mind, I beg you all not to distance yourselves or let me unknowingly distance myself. I am prepared to fight for the life I want, I’m prepared to fight the world’s concept of normalcy – as a fight I know it will be – and I am going to need my army of friends and family around me to keep forging ahe. I can’t thank you all enough for being my dear companions on the journey thus far. Now please say you’ll stay with me as I embark on this next journey, and the battle ahead.

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