realizing THIS is your only chance really puts decisions into perspective

I think probably the best days of my life were spent doing menial tasks, but with complete freedom.  For example, in college I had several jobs.  I did some free lance web design and even some tutoring, but my main job was as a cook.  I spent at least 4 hours a day back there behind a hot flat top making orders as fast as my arms would allow me.  It was hot as hell, the work wasn’t glamorous, and I doubt anyone could care less who was back in the kitchen making their perfectly prepared meal.

Those days were great though.  I barely made any money, but I had all the freedom in the world.  I would get off work, take a shower, and head to the gym or to go grab a beer with friends.  The other guys I worked with back in that kitchen were great too.  We would sit back there for hours a day, but the time flew by because we were busy – and keeping each other entertained.  Later I became a manager at that same establishment, but I would still return to the kitchen during a rush just to get a piece of the action.  I never minded the labor, the repetition, and some strange since of satisfaction from seeing the results of my labors right there in front of me.

Today, I have a job most would argue is “more important”.  I guess I work for more expensive clients and a mistake would cost people a lot more money, but sometimes I don’t think that I get one ounce of satisfaction out of it compared to the days of my kitchen existence.  Honestly, some days I just sit at the computer and do work that I doubt will really add much value to the company.  I know what I am doing is necessary, but damn I do miss the days of seeing my finished product right in front of me.  These days – sometimes – I don’t even feel like doing what I do.

This job gives me security though.  If I stayed with this company, making great money, I could literally retire by 35 if I wanted to.  I could pay my house off in the next 5 years.  I get offers for interviews almost every week.  What I do is really in demand – even in the rough economy.  Sadly, I am fairly sure it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.

What I really want to do is one of two things: own my own business or travel and write.  I want to open a restaurant or start my own business consulting firm.  Something about working for yourself just provides unlimited satisfaction in my opinion.  I just have to work up the security and balls to drop everything and make the leap. Give up security, give up insurance, give up a nice paycheck – all to pursue a dream.  Hell, its what I talk about doing all the time, but putting those thoughts into action is a lot harder than just saying it.

I’ll put my time in.  Make a plan.  Build a security net.  But I realize that doing those things can take forever, so eventually I’ll have to make the leap and do it while I still have the fire inside myself to do it.  I keep reminding myself that this is the only chance I have to live my life – so everyday I spend wasting it on a false since of security is a wasted day.  The time for action was yesterday – I have to really think about what I want out of life and do it.  Now is the time.


8 thoughts on “realizing THIS is your only chance really puts decisions into perspective

  1. jon

    In terms of writing, it seems to me that the blog is a terrific way to begin. I’ve also always had the secret desire to write. Can you imagine the freedom of ‘working’ anywhere in the world — no scheduled meetings (or very few), complete freedom – and being paid to express ideas that are meaningful to you.

    I’ve never had the ‘stick-with-it’-edness (or perhaps the confidence) to continue to work on a writing project in a way that was likely to end up in a book. The great thing about the blog format is that you can get yourself going, and begin writing. The idea that others will read your blog posts (for me, even if it’s a small number of people) is really motivating. I think that with any endeavor, getting your ‘hands dirty’ is an important first step. The blog is a great way to get your hands dirty, don’t you think?

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      I agree totally. That is one of the reasons I keep a blog, even with just a few readers, is to write. I get to live my little dream a few weeks out of the year when I travel and of course write about the experience. I’ve read a few blogs where people really took the leap and just dropped everything, travel and write about it. They write a book and blog about the experience and even make some money off of it.

      It seems like someone like you would have a great opportunity to do just that. You have instant credibility because of your background and knowledge in academia. I’d read your book.

  2. jon

    Thanks. —
    You know, I was thinking – if you really could retire at 35 with your current job — that’s not a bad option. My cousin retired pretty young (may 45) from a job in I.T. He now spends his time on things that he’s passionate about (he’s really active in the Sudan genocide issue- getting companies to divest from Sudan …). He’s a smart guys, and seems to have a great life. If you could retire at 35 and really not have to worry about money.. jeez, you could write, and do anything you want. Total freedom I think.

    (i was just thinking that the restaurant dream could turn out to be more time-consuming and stressful than you’re anticipating– maybe not – i have no idea. But if you’re on a road toward super-early retirement, that’s nothing to sneeze at either).

    1. Atticus Finch Post author

      Yeah, you’re right about the restaurant thing. What I was really thinking about was the simplicity of the days when I was just a cook. Actually owning and running a restaurant (or any business) is a ton of stress and work almost non-stop. I’m sure it is also rewarding, but I don’t think that is my ultimate goal. My real goal if more just “freedom” to do what makes me happy without the stresses of life (money, etc.)

      As far as retiring at 35, I probably could actually retire at that age assuming I maintain my current earnings/expenses ratio plan – I live a fairly minimalist lifestyle… But having the “ability” to retire and “actually retiring” is a whole different story. I guess I’ll play it by ear as that day gets closer and closer. The picture gets more and more clear as I continue plan and write about it.


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