I consider my trip to Cuba in December 2008 to be the beginning of my transformation as an individual. Since then, I have seen myself grow to heights not seen by many yet what I’m proud of the most is how much I have grown on a spiritual level. There are many people who like me, escaped the rat race and tore themselves away from the shackles of corporate slavery but that’s where their personal growth stopped. Don’t get me wrong – escaping a cage is an important first step as cage keeps physical body so preoccupied, it’s hard to put enough focus on spiritual growth. But what good is walking a free man going to do to you if your mind is still enslaved?
There are hardly any people alive today who would understand how much real power and enlightenment one collects on the way to real spiritual growth. On my travels, the type of people I seek the most are elders of native tribes for there is a great deal of wisdom behind every day of their lives and that type of knowledge cannot be gotten from books. Sadly, people of real wisdom are exceedingly difficult to find these days as money crept into their lives and with it came corruption of minds.
On my travels, I’m the only one who seeks out wisdom. I see so many people around, who like me escaped the rat race, but they travel to be able to make their Facebook friends jealous. That’s all they care about, that’s all they ever have on their minds. One day, when they’re of age and a new generation of rat race escapists takes their turn traveling around the world, none will seek them out to share their wisdom for there is no wisdom to be found in minds that are enslaved and don’t even know it.
It goes without saying that I was just as excited as the next guy when I quit work to travel. I honestly thought this was it, I thought achieving this was my ultimate success in life. And in all fairness, a huge success it had been. Luckily, though, all it took were a few months of my brand new life before I realized that my new found freedom was just the beginning.
Real freedom is not partial. Being free from rat race, but enslaved to gadgets, the internet and money is like pulling one’s head up from underground and thinking the grass you are seeing for the first time in your life is whole world at your feet. It sure is exciting being able to see all this grass and touch it with your bare hands, but if you let pride of making it to the surface blind you, you’ll fail to see all that lays further afield. For you to see that, you’d have to keep sticking your head further and further up.
Compared to the multitude of difficult and challenging steps one needs to take in order to free their mind, an escape from corporate slavery which frees one’s body is as easy as farting in water. Yet albeit hard core, overcoming these challenges is very enlightening and empowering. It is a long and windy road with many roadblocks along the way, but you’ll experience spiritual growth with each single step forward. And what does experiencing spiritual growth feels like, you ask? Well, it feels like having a super orgasm you’re not faking.
Our life is an endless sequence of undying efforts we put forth in a struggle to please others. In other words – much of what we do, we do to please others. We modify our behavior to subconsciously please our friends and relatives, we also do it to please those we don’t know (nor do they know us) but come across in our day to day lives, and we also perpetually strive to please those we haven’t even (nor ever will) come into contact with:
we struggle to pay our bills on time to please credit rating agencies
we struggle to eat healthy so we can improve our physique because then we will be perceived as more attractive by others
we struggle to earn good money so we can live in a house, drive in a car, wear latest fashion that will make the heads of others turn
we struggle to write interesting blog posts, twitter updates, facebook profiles because we want others to subscribe, comment, follow, brown-nose, circle-jerk, or otherwise become parts of our network of admirers
Here’s the kicker – most people are so obsessed with pleasing others, they find little time to please themselves (and I’m not referring to sexual self-gratification). Dedication to pleasing others seems to have become the life’s mission of the many of us. It’s become an obsession, a purpose, a meaning of life. We are judged by and gain social status based on how many people we impress throughout our journeys through life. The “what would people say?” is the very question that, whether consciously or subconsciously, pops into our minds and becomes the determining factor of the course of our actions.
I could also put it this way: we live our lives by responding to external demands in an anticipation of external rewards, such as acceptance, status or security, all the while sacrificing our internal needs. Instead of striving to be the best we can be, we act in response to seemingly urgent demands from external sources. The time, that precious commodity we have only a limited supply of is thus taken away from us to belong to somebody else by our own doing.
I set myself free from the clutches of corporate slavery and started to roam the Earth a free man. But the journey didn’t end there. As I found out soon after, there was more to self realization than freedom from corporate lifestyle. A major next step in my personal growth came to be with a realization that I was a slave to gadgets. What is freedom from one set of shackles good for if you slip into a different set right after? The outcome is the same – you are a slave – only this time your shackles have cute paintings on them. The knowledge I have gained from this experience was – if it dictates your life – you’re enslaved to it, even if it’s something you enjoy and would voluntarily go for.
It was the same type of feeling I felt when I started hating photography even though I loved it my whole life. When surviving as a professional photographer became tough and I had to take gigs I did not enjoy, it was taking the fun away from the whole thing and I hated every minute of it. But as soon as I left pro photography and started taking pictures as a hobby, capturing only what I had genuine passion for, the love and joy for photography came instantly back.
3 – It Gets Worse
Then came the challenge from hell. I was able to set myself free from corporate slavery and gadget entrapment, but having gotten this far – further than most people do – I couldn’t just stop there. I had to poke where it really hurt. There was still one set of shackles and this set holds grip so tight and snug, its existence is not admitted to, not even by the most self realized individuals. It’s the internet.
We the generation of today are so addicted to the internet, it’s not an addiction anymore. It’s part of our daily lives. Everything is on the web, is controlled by the web and is determined by the web. It only gets worse if you’re a person like me who makes his living on the internet. When you’re at that point, then internet gets to decide your every next step. Running an online based business requires one to be constantly on line. Monitoring traffic, responding to online requests, moderating comments, looking for security holes, patching security holes, analyzing server logs, tweaking server settings to improve performance, optimizing database structures, upgrading to stay on top and writing fresh content are just a few of the daily tasks a webmaster has to go through on the daily basis. And that only scratches the surface. It’s the tip of the iceberg the highly competitive world of webmastering represents.
Because of that, despite my apparent freedom from corporate slavery and gadget entrapment, I could not consider freeing myself from the internet as my whole life depended on it. Worse yet, the idea that the internet could be a set of shackles I have not identified yet was not even admitted in my mind. Afterall, how could internet, a tool that makes our lives what they are, be ever considered a tool of enslavement?
Yet that is exactly what it is. For example – while on my tour through Asia, I could not consider a trip to Myanmar because of scarce availability of the internet and heavy censorship throughout the country. If I found myself unable to access any of my sites, I would be unable to monitor them. As a result, if there was a malicious activity on any of the sites, I would be unable to respond before it wreaked complete havoc on the server. And the stress of living with the possibility that there could be something undesired going on with my sites while I’m unable to check and see whether my concerns are founded or not would drive me insane. Hence, a trip to Myanmar was a no option.
Willing to admit to it or not, considering how far I got with my journey of self awareness, it was only a question of time before the shackles the internet represented were identified and ultimately admitted to as such. I’m still not free from this set, but success to every mission begins with giving the problem a name, calling it for what it really is, admitting that it is in fact a problem regardless of how difficult this admission is to make, and if you’re able to do just that, you’re off to a good start. The rest is about putting thoughts into actions but action is what would never come to be unless you square up with it on the mental level first.
The Curse of Pleasing Others
It took me two years to thoroughly identify and admit to each of these sets of shackles. Two I was able to successfully shake off, third I’m still dealing with and as the struggle rages on, I came to understand what really was behind all this. It’s the struggle to please others. It’s the very thing I mentioned right at the beginning of this article. This constant struggle to please others so we can feel relevant is what makes us so selfish. It’s what destroyed true community spirits and replaced them with faux community life we know today.
One would have to visit remote tribes that live far away from civilization to see what community spirits mean. Elsewhere it has long been dead. When you see the hunters leaving the village for a day to hunt, gatherers leaving for a different part of the forest to gather wild edibles, those who are sick or injured staying in the village along with those who look after the fire, bake bread or weave baskets that would be traded off with other tribes. At the end of the day, each bit of food the village as a whole produced is put together so everybody can eat. Hunters don’t just hunt for themselves and their families. They hunt for the village. Bakers don’t just bake for themselves and their families, they bake for the village. Everything is shared – work and food. And when whole village is fed, they gather round to celebrate another day of good life together – as a community.
In cases like these, where real community spirits still exist, people don’t do things to please others. Hunters don’t go hunting to show off that the buck they took down was bigger than one their neighbor got. They don’t put fragrant aftershave on to appeal to women late at night. They don’t need to build their house taller than their neighbors’ – because they are a community. They don’t do things to please others, they do it to survive. Their way of life may seem savage to us, but when you get past this narrowminded point of view (most people never get there in their whole lives), you’ll see that they make far more sense than us.
Granted, one could bring up an argument that without the struggle to please others, we would not have progressed as a civilization. And it is true. People train to be good at sports to show off, and they invent things for the same very purpose. If it wasn’t for this insatiable greed and selfishness, people would retain the community spirit and with it, would lose the desire to get more admiration than their neighbor. Nothing pisses an individual off more than success of their neighbor. The hatred this feeling evokes drives a desire to steal that spotlight off for themselves. Some do it by getting more creative, some by backstabbing, but they all have the same common denominators – zero community spirit with surplus of greed.
It is also important to distinguish between a real community spirit and fake community involvement as we see in modern societies today. People get rewards for their “community involvement” – you could even find lawyers who offer legal advice “pro bono” yet the real reason why these people got involved in the community in the first place was… out of selfish greed. It’s because they knew people were watching and they knew it would be noticed, hence they did it. It was once again a case of doing things to please others. In other words, it’s an engagement in activities one would not do if there was absolutely nobody to see them.
Are You Living to Please Others?
Imagine a scenario from a cataclysmic movie comes true and whole civilization is wiped out with you being the sole survivor. Imagine you look out of the window and there is absolutely nobody out there. You walk outside and keep walking for days on end and there is no one but you. Would you bother putting a make up on and dying your hair before heading out? How about this scenario:
Being a girl and the only survivor of a major cataclysmic event you stumble across a chest. You are happy to have found it cause you could use some clothes and shoes before cold of the night takes over and blisters on your feet get too painful. In one of the compartments you find really sexy high heels, shiny latex miniskirt and ripped up tank top held together with safety pins. In another you find manly looking coveralls, rubber boots and checkered flannel work shirt. Which set would you take to keep fed and hydrated? Which set would you take if no catastrophic event took place and there would be people out there the same way they are now?
One more time with the catastrophic event scenario – if you found a notepad and a pen and decided to keep a journal, would your journal entries be the same as your facebook updates today? Go back to your facebook, twitter, blog or whatever else you use and read the last 5 entries you’ve made. Read them now after you have just read my article about the curse of pleasing other and see if you can reflect on yourself and find yourself in it. Have you written them in a way so as to earn extra brownie points from your peers you anticipated to read it? It takes a strong person to see forest for the trees. Are you her or him?
Do not confuse genuine compassion of one human being towards another with selfish desire to drive up one’s ego by pleasing others. They are not the same thing. They are only parts of the same spectrum, but are at exact opposites of it.
We, the men and women of the 21st century grow up completely disconnected from our inner selves. We have lost the ability to speak to our souls and understand what dwells within us. Instead of looking for our place on the planet Earth, we look for attention. Instead of discovering our purpose in life, we live to show off. We dedicate more time and effort establishing our social status than we do anything else. What we choose to wear, what we choose to say, what we choose to write about, where we choose to go or what we choose to do – we do it, admittedly or not, with foremost interest in boosting our own image in the eyes of others.
It is all about the struggle to please the society, because we have come to believe that the society will reward us by recognizing our “contribution” to it. We want admirers, we want fans, we want our name to be in a newspaper or on a TV screen. We want people to talk about us and most of all – we want them to envy us. We are not interested in things that may advance us independently, on a personal level, unless we get a chance to show it off and gain media coverage while we’re at it.
You don’t see people retracting to the wilderness to live as hermits in order to gain closeness with nature and a better understanding of their place in the awareness. You only sometimes hear about them because if they do something like that, they do it as an attempt to gain fame. To them, albeit claimed as a primary reason of their move, the potential of inner personal development by taking the step is secondary to the social status a “sacrifice” of this type would reward them with.
Finding someone who wouldn’t desire the public to gasp for the air when they hear their story is nigh impossible in this day and age. Those who take steps that appear to have been taken with intentions to grow as individuals take them with loud announcements to the world via internet or other media. I truly find it hard to accept that a person who keeps posting Twitter updates once every hour about his journey to self discovery is merely interested in finding his place in life.
To rephrase – all we seem to care about is our social status. We do things to please others and want everything we do to be seen. Screw inner growth if we can’t brag about what it took us to get where we are and how we struggled to pull it off. We desire nothing more than to be envied. We want it so much we determine the steps we take based on the likelihood and the amount of envy we get in return. We want a job others will envy, we want to drive a car others will envy, we want to have a body others will envy, we want to have done something others would wish to have done before us. It’s falsehood in disguise. We think we are advancing in lives, but all we’re doing is pleasing others. By doing so, we’re letting others to dictate our lives as the directions we choose, we choose based on what social status they would reward us with. We have lost touch with our inner selves and become, in simple terms, strangers to our own souls.
I had it all clear in my mind. I knew this was it for me and my lifestyle of a corporate slave. Everything came nicely together, I had not a slightest doubt that spending whole life in servitude so I can enjoy myself when I’m 65 was an awful lifestyle choice. The challenge I was facing now was to choose the best place to start my worldwide travels. It was a challenge, but it was one I was happy to face because it provided me with the most amazing feeling, the feeling of freedom and independence.
For the first time in almost ten years I felt like it was me who’s in charge of my own life. Nobody had absolutely no say about my next step. It was going to be my unconditional choice. How awesome is that? This true freedom of choice opened up my eyes to accept new horizons and I’ve realized that I spent near a decade of my life living conrtolled by somebody else. I had to get up when the alarm clock went off, not when I felt like, I had to go to the office regardless of how beautiful a day it was outside, even though I’d much rather spend it by the lake, I could ask for a vacation but had to do it with advance notice and only had so many days I could use – everything in my life was being determined by someone else, not me.
And here I found myself with firm grip on my own life, independent and free, no longer the property of my employer, my government, my family or anyone else. There was just me and my goals. I was choosing directions, I was choosing speed, I was choosing terms of service.
By becoming a corporate slave you give away your independence and freedom almost entirely. While I was employed, I wasn’t the person I was dreaming to be. I was the tool of my employer. I was there to take orders and deliver the product as per the requirements. The value of my life was given a price tag. I did what I was told so I could collect the paycheck and spend it according to the current community standards. There was no real freedom or independence in my life. My purpose as a corporate slave was to please my masters – the employer. Being a corporate slave, I obediently obliged which is what slaves do to avoid being punished. Corporate slaves, same as normal slaves in its true meaning live their lives in fear. The fear of being punished by being fired, or otherwise put into an undesirable situation.
The actual difference between a slave and a corporate slave is that corporate slaves have their minds locked up, not their bodies. Even though physically imprisoned, actual slaves were provided with food and shelter – corporate slave must provide their own shelter and their own food out of after-tax money they receive in exchange for their obedience. Unlike an actual slave, a corporate slave who loses his shelter must still come to work and follow his/her orders or else he/she could be punished.
The saddest part is that corporate slaves not only lead themselves into this imprisonment, they even ask and strive for it. Their life’s joy is provided by the reality shows on TV. And so their whole life becomes a rat race. They work during the best days of their lives, get taxed and whatever they’re left with is spent on things. The culture of consumerism controls their spendings by keeping them on high through advertising and media exposure.
Most corporate slaves are voluntary prisoners. It is not possible to lock someone up in a cage physically nowadays so setting oneself free is a matter of choice. However, most people will stick with slavery and turn independence and freedom their backs. Cage is the world they are familiar with. Walking out could be risky. And so they spend their lives instead of living them and will die without realizing how much they could have accomplished in life.
It is hard for me to hold it against anyone. I was exactly like that only a few months back. However, I’ve allowed myself to step back and look at the bigger picture from the distance. And when the first glimpse of bigger picture has offered itself, I have followed it to see what the rest of it is all about. I have not stopped until I got clear idea about what the world outside of the cage looked like. Like other corporate slave, back then I felt comfortable in a cage too. It wasn’t the life I would have wanted for myself, but there were forms of security in place that kept me inside. World out there could be dangerous – at least that’s what the media says. Staying inside of the cage offers some protection from this wild, wild world. And if you do what they say, there will always be a place for you in a cage.
I walked out. I dared. I exposed myself to the fresh air and the sound of the ocean. I felt the touch of independence, felt the touch of freedom and chose to soar on my own wings. I can go as high as I wish, take a turn whenever I see fit because it’s me who holds the reins. And this time around I’m not letting go easily. I’ve done it once and it cost me 10 years of my life. I know what I want and I’m gonna take it. My life belongs to me so from now on, I’m rowing my own canoe.
I do realize that freedom and independence come with responsibility. There will be no one to make decisions for me, now one to blame. But I’m ready and willing to accept this responsibility. It will be like the old days when I lived on my own terms. I’m back to my old me and I’m ready to kick ass. My first task as a free and independent man is to choose my first destination where to start my travels. It’s gonna be awesome.
The path to my early retirement and the spiritual awakening were waiting to happen. It started with my trip to Cuba in December of 2008. Visiting Cuba was my dream for as long as I can remember. Most of all, I really wanted to visit Cuba before it changes. I knew that US presidential elections that were about to conclude in fall of 2008 would bring the imminent change way too close. For many years I have suppressed my deep desire to travel but when US elections were around the corner, I realized it was a now or never situation. Time was against me, Cuba could change any day and if I were to experience it before big change, I had to act. The goal was to go before elections take place, which I never accomplished, however I still had at least a few extra months as even after winning elections in November, new US president would not be taking over the Oval Office until 2009. And even then, there were way too many seriously pressing issues which needed attention of new president so likelihood of a ban lift on travel to Cuba taking place this early was small. I still didn’t want to put the trip off any more than necessary and flew to Cuba at the beginning of December. It was amazing.
I only spent one week in Cuba, but it was my first trip after 7 years. I felt happy and uplifted like I haven’t in years upon years. I have forgotten how it feels to have an exciting day, to make whole day an adventure, to explore, to experience, to live. This had such powerful impact on me that come mid January 2009, I left for a weeklong trip to the Dominican Republic. This was even more extraordinary as I was in the traveling mood already so I made each day of my stay there richer with adventure.
These two trips within less than 2 months got me hooked on travel again. I still lived my corporate lifestyle, but took every opportunity I had to go to new places. Living in Alberta, Canada, I went for a brief two day trip to Jasper in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and started making arrangements for a big trip to a country I wished to visit my whole life – Iceland.
I left for Iceland at the beginning of June of 2009 and combined my trip with a one day stay in Toronto, Ontario where I have never been before. It was an amazing day as Kensington Market opened for the season that day so the area lived with many people, street performers, dancers, musicians, free hugs and everything else that makes you feel… awesome.
I spent amazing 10 days in Iceland and was blown away by sheer beauty of that country. It was 10 days of nonstop adventure and major spiritual uplift. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the things I’ve done – these were the best days of my life since… university. That’s right. It started coming to me that within last year I have done a lot of traveling and I haven’t felt that great for years. While I was traveling, I felt alive and happy.
I traveled to the Rocky Mountains two more times, this time making each trip last at least 3 days. I drove down the scenic highways across the mountains from Jasper to Banff the first time, making stops along the way and doing a lot of hiking to spend two awesome days in Banff afterwards. On my last trip to the Rockies I went all the way to Roger’s Pass in Canadian British Columbia where scenery is so eye popping I had my breath taken away nonstop. Again – I’ve done a lot of hiking and enjoyed every minute of it.
While trips to the Rocky Mountains were not trips abroad for me – being a Canadian – those were still trips during which I explored and had an adventure and it made me feel alive. So within less than a year – from December 2008 till July 2009 I have traveled to three foreign countries (Cuba, Dominican Republic and Iceland) and took three more local trips within my own country of Canada (Jasper National Park, Banff National Park and Roger’s Pass in Canadian Rocky Mountains). On top of that I have also visited Toronto which I truly loved and met some amazing people even though my stay was only brief. This travel reignited my dying Spark of Happiness which was nearly out due to corporate lifestyle I have succumbed to, but not entirely. Complete spiritual awakening after so much travel that re-ignited the spark was just a question of time and come July 2009, I was all there.
I was so entrapped within the corporate lifestyle, I started to believe in it myself. Deep inside I knew I was missing something, but I did not allow this feeling to come through and spoil my pursuit of money. My life was all about work, all natural desires suppressed, all corporate desires nourished. All I wanted was to accumulate possessions – to get financing for a fancy car, to get mortgage for a nice house, to get the finest plasma TV with high end surround sound speakers, et cetera, et cetera. There was no excitement in my life, I did not even see the purpose in it, but I believed in the lifestyle that brainwashed me to be that way.
The change of thinking came out of the blue. I have heard of Early Retirement but it was something distant to me. Perhaps I didn’t think I was the chosen one or lucky enough to retire early hence even though I was aware of early retirement, I never looked deeper into it. And even though early retirement had precious little to do with my change of attitude and outlook on life, it was closely related. I needed a definition to all the questions that arose in my mind and early retirement was a suitable answer.
I guess even though my attitude had changed so much all of the good fairies abandoned me cause they couldn’t stand that miserable person I have become, there was still one guardian angel left who believed in me. It was a day of no significance. Just a random day in the middle of the week, I came home from work, got on the internet to take care of my online affairs and spent more time than usual browsing through pictures of places and people from different parts of the world. The spark of independence and enjoyment that nearly got suffocated from the fumes of the corporate lifestyle I have submerged myself into caught second breath and I started to question the purpose of living for work. I started to question the purpose of working during the best days of my life and waiting to enjoy life until I have retired. I started to question the possessions that were surrounding me and their role in my life, I looked at past decade of my life and evaluated everything that’s changed – how my health deteriorated, how my acting deteriorated, how my spirit deteriorated, how my personal goals and contributions to the global society dwindled. It both shocked me and brought new hope.
This was a day of my personal spiritual awakening. It had nothing to do with religion. It was an eye opener that turned the zombie I have become back into a living thing who once again saw his place on Earth, his purpose in life, but most of all – a chance to do what I was meant to do… enjoy every minute of my life instead of hating every minute of it. For the first time after almost 10 years I have felt the touch of light. I was lost both mentally and physically and all of a sudden I found both the path to walk on and the river to drink from. I was out of the jungle of sharp bushes that were tearing me apart, I was out of the bog that was sucking me in, I was out of the pests that were feeding on my flash, I was liberated.
As I gave it to the pressure from my family to quit being a wandering bum and get a job, I started to change. I did not realize that, as it was a slow-moving process, but gradually, bit by bit my mind was getting twisted by the corporate bs. I have fallen into the lifestyle of a working class slave who voluntarily participates in repetition of his day to day tasks. I did as I was told, I collected my wage, I paid my bills and repeated the cycle over and over again. Every now and again I would meet with my buddies over a beer, we’d have some laughs and do something cool, but overall I was a working class man who turned himself into a slave for the best part of the week so I could collect the pay at the end of the month and exchange it for things. The lifestyle of excitement has dwindled away, the lifestyle of collecting possessions took over.
Of course you don’t see it that way when you’re stuck inside that corporate cycle. I didn’t see it that way until a decade later, when I had a personal awakening and got a chance to look at my past 10 years from a distance. Deep inside I felt that something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t find a name for it and opted for denial instead. There were signs all around me, but I chose to ignore them. I know what kind of toll this lifestyle took on me. I was aware of that fact that I’m miserable and grumpy all the time and that I treat everyone like crap, even though I never used to be that way. I didn’t know why I started acting that way, but instead of looking for answers, I blamed everyone else. It was all their fault, everybody is in my way, everybody wants to take advantage of me, everybody is there to piss me off. That’s who you turn into if you take away excitement from your life and focus on a lifestyle based on possessions. Corporate madness will change you so you won’t even recognize yourself.
The further ahead you get, the more possessions you accumulate, the more you get yourself locked in place and dependent on possessions you bought. If you finance a car, you have years of payment ahead of yourself you can’t escape. If you take a mortgage to buy a house, you will sentence yourself to living in this town for a minimum of next few decades carrying the burden of debt. But the worst thing is – corporate lifestyle will wash you up so badly, you will believe in it. You will believe in the system and will see acquisition of each new possession as a step forward in your life. This gradual downturn will continue for as long as you see the light at the end of tunnel – retirement.
You will voluntarily allow yourself to become a corporate slave because of the vision that one day when you’re 60 or so, you will be able to reap benefits of your whole life’s hard work. You will see yourself with mortgage paid off, owning your cozy house with a nice car in a garage and grandchildren outside playing with your cat. You see this distant picture and it’s good enough to keep yourself voluntarily enslaved. The enslavement makes you grumpy and miserable, but you see possessions accumulating and you see the retirement coming closer, so you don’t give up.
I was exactly the same way and when I saw one of my colleagues retire, I thought she lead the perfect life.
I was brought up the wrong way. As I was growing up I was being repeatedly told that one has to work hard to make money and that I will end up living a miserable life if I don’t. Many a time I would achieve results by working smart, instead of hard, but in each such case I was immediately put in place and had my self confidence destroyed. In a long run, this treatment has taken its toll.
When I started the university, I sliced myself away from my parents which allowed me to think for myself and do what’s right for me. It was during my university years when I traveled a lot, it was those years I still consider the best years of my life. Many of my peers couldn’t wait to finish high school so they can go to work and start making money. Money for them was the means to obtain items they all dreamed about – such as their own car. While that was a tempting scenario, I saw job as something that ends one’s youth and with it everything that’s fun in life. You get stuck in a 9 to 5 corporate lifestyle, you come home from work, read the paper while you’re munching on a giant slice of bacon, then turn on the TV to watch stupid soap operas with your feet up on a sofa, and go to bed to do the same thing over the following day.
I saw university as extension of youth. Sure, I would not be able to drive around in my own car, but I would not get stuck in the corporate lifestyle which once you start, typically lasts until retirement. Those extra years of not being able to buy anything cause I wouldn’t be making money was worth it, because it meant that I would be able to do things I care about, things that bring excitement into my life, things that impart new vigor to the mind. Life was good. I hitch-hiked through most of Europe, met amazing people, took part in monumental activities and it lasted until I got my university degree five years later.
End of university marked return to parents house. I didn’t stay long cause it was killing me to have to stay with my folks whose frame of mind was somewhere back in the industrial revolution. I escaped this torture quickly, but as much as I wanted to continue traveling, I was instantly told to look for a job and reminded how badly I was gonna end up if I neglect it. My mind gave in, I applied, attended an interview, got hired and the nightmare of corporate lifestyle become my life.
“The feeling I experience when I resist temptation is really nice. But the feeling I experience when I yield to it is hundred times nicer.”
It is a variation of a famous quote which says that “I would rather regret things I have done than the things I have not“. Granted, I have modified the quote to make it more usable on girls. I was young and felt attracted to girls the same way any other teenage boy is. And even though I primarily used the quote as unfailing pick up line to help me score with a girl, the quote worked in my every day life as well. For as long as I kept repeating it to myself, my life was exciting and I enjoyed every minute of it.
As I have dwindled from travelling and living an exciting life into getting a job and living a mundane life aimed at collecting possessions, I have forgotten all about the quote. As a matter of fact, even though I used to live by this quote every day, after I had switched my life around and started living the corporate lifestyle, I had not thought of it once in almost a decade.
It was not until I awakened, pulled a plug and realized I have been living in a dark for almost 10 years that the quote jumped back at me. It pushed the tears into my eyes. I did have encounters with girls during my dark days, but never once has this quote popped back into my mind. Corporate lifestyle blinded me to a point that my mind did not see what was happening around me. The moment this quote came back to me was the moment I realized that this new path I am choosing is the right path.
There’s a lot of uncertainty accompanying any major lifestyle decision, especially if it involves an extremely brave step of quitting a job in which you are well established. Not many people find this type of courage as it entails losing everything you have worked for during long years of employment. What comes after it is unclear and can go either way, but it takes brave steps to achieve big things in life and I’ve had enough mediocrity in my life for 10 years.
So here I come again. I may regret this major change in my life and the fact that I am leaving everything I have worked for behind in order to step into the unknown and travel the world, but I’d rather regret what I have done, than what I could have done but didn’t.