It’s interesting how many times I’ve noticed themes in my life. Right now the theme is entrepreneurship. Even more broad than that, it’s a theme of awakening my mind, taking control of my life, and fulfilling my calling. I’ve felt a real need for this over the past few weeks. Not long ago, I was content with my job, and life seemed fine and dandy. Then I remembered a goal I’d set almost two years ago when I first became a full time slave of the corporate machine. The goal was to liberate myself within two years, to spend my hours following my dreams instead of prostituting my talents for things I had no passion for. Do we not too often devote ourselves to something we hate, hoping to, at some future time, free ourselves for that which we love? Lately I’ve been of the opinion that this future time of fulfilment is an illusion. Now is the time to live the life we want to be living, and if there’s a will, there’s a way. The words of a Newsies song come to mind:
Open the gates and seize the day
Don’t be afraid and don’t delay
Nothing can break us
No one can make us
Give our rights away
Arise and seize the day
Back in December I was faced with the difficult decision of choosing between a well-paying job doing something I’m not passionate about or teaching music (something I’m passionate about) at a high school for a lot less money. Part of me now wishes I’d taken the latter offer, though I knew I made the right choice. Aside from getting more real world experience and sharpening my skills, Teresa and I agreed that we needed the cushy job in order to get out of debt and pay back my parents (who were coming upon difficult financial times) the money they’d given us to help purchase our house. Just a couple weeks ago, we gave my parents a substantial sum of money (having to give it in cash and hide it in a card so they’d actually accept it). It was at this same time that I was beginning to have strong desires to quit my job and try something entrepreneurial. Thus giving up the money was a challenge, because I knew how much it could help in the cause of my liberation.
Still, as the days went by, I got to the point where I couldn’t sleep, because the thought of going to work in the morning was too depressing. Not that there was anything wrong with my work. As far as real jobs go, it was very good. But I just knew that, come morning, I’d spend my most valuable hours working for someone else, and almost the rest of my hours in commuting, house choirs, family responsibilities, etc., leaving me few precious moments for following my dreams. Of course I realize that such has been the fate of untold millions of men since the world began, and I should be grateful for what I have. And yet, if there’s a better way, should we ever accept a less than perfect fate?
I asked Teresa if she’d be okay with me quitting tomorrow. She voiced her concern that this wasn’t wise, as we’d just given up nearly all of our savings, and we didn’t have a ready alternative for making money. Though soon she caught my bug, and a night or two later, she said, “Steve, if you want to quit your job tomorrow, I support you.” But by then, the powers of Lord Bore had worked me into saying, “No, let’s wait till September. We need to build a savings.”
Then a funny thing happened on Friday. First, before I went to work, I checked the analytics on a little project I’d begun months ago, a website that could potentially bring in money. To my surprise, the site had reached a new record of hits by a substantial margin. Turning the site into a source of revenue appeared more plausible than I’d imagined. Then I got to work, and I got laid off. The company was falling upon difficult times, and with the bringing in of a guy whose expertise outshown my own, I’d become expendable. This certainly caught me by surprise, but it by no means depressed me. In fact, I sang for most of the way home. How Teresa took the news was another matter, though she now shares my vision.
I began this post with saying that my life happens in themes. To me it’s clear that my feelings of needing to be independent, my challenge of giving up my savings for a greater good, the sudden growth of my website, and my unexpected unemployment, are not coincidental but have been arranged by the master storyteller, who has reaffirmed to me that my time does matter on this earth, that now is truly the time to seize it, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
So what am I going to do exactly? I don’t know. But I do know that whatever it is must meet three conditions: (1) I have to be in charge, (2) I have to work at home, and (3) I refuse to work more than twenty hours per week. My time is mine. I will not give it up so easily again. Sound crazy? Good.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. And thus all progress depends on the unreasonable man” (George Bernard Shaw).