Complacency, the most evil of diseases. In this life there are diseases that destroy the body, some that ravage the mind and those that cause death. Complacency destroys something much worse, your soul and your spirit that drives your will to live happy.
There is a great quote in the movie Black Hawk Down. If you fully understand it you should be shaken to your core. The warlord Abdullah 'Firimbi' Hassan:
says "You Americans don't smoke anymore. You live long, dull and uninteresting lives". What an amazing truth. Most of us live long, dull and uninteresting lives!!
I am not asking anything original here but how does that happen? As kids and young adults we have dreams and goals. I wanted to be a garbage man. Do we stop trying to achieve them because they are hard to attain? How is it that we stop challenging ourselves and easily fall into a routine of mediocrity. We take a job or start a career that pays us $X then accept that as our limit and horribly learn to live with it. Listen I am as guilty as the next guy. I have been healthy and I never had the excuse, yes the excuse of marriage or children that so many people use as the barometer from which to hide behind. "Well no I can't, I am married and have kids" is such a bullshit answer to even the easiest of questions. When you think about it you are BLAMING your kids for your unhappiness right from the start. Kids pick up on that. Want to leave the job that is low paying and you hate? Well no I can't, I am married and have kids. Take a vacation lately. Well no I can't, I am married and have kids. Go to the gym, run or take up a sport, learn a language, go back to school what ever you choose? Well no I can't, I am married and have kids.
Some guys they just give up living
And start dying little by little piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up
Then go racin' in the street
- Racing in the Streets, Bruce Springsteen
Truth be told I am the absolute worst offender of this disease. I have never been married and do not have any kids and I have been relatively healthy. I tell Bama this and she reassures me that I have done more then so many people. (I do love this woman) This may be true in some cases however I know I have wasted so much time. I believe we all think that just do not say it out loud.
"The only thing worse than death is a regret filled coffin
So try before you die or always wonder what if?
- J. Cole – Crunch Time
As a Bartender and Waiter we allow ourselves to be paid below minimum wage and then make a living on the expected generosity of the people we serve, all the while our employers get wealthy off our hard work. We drive Fords and Jeeps, they drive Mercedes and BMW. Then we fool ourselves into boozing every time possible because we tell ourselves "this is the service industry lifestyle". What a piece of bullshit! Now I did have a great time in my early adult years working as a bartender. My pockets were flush every night and I had youth and limited responsibility on my side.
I remember Joe Vipari, the seasoned bartender at the old Fallsway hotel tell me one day. Ken you little shit. Spend as your going to spend but all you need to do is put $10 every night away that's it, just do that kid. This guy was the real Wealthy Barber.
Well a few years as a bartender/waiter turned into 15, and I decided it was time for a change. A tough choice indeed as this is the life that I knew and loved.
Working as a Computer Programmer and Webcasting Producer I had to start from the bottom and for about half of my previous yearly income. What the Fuck was I thinking. Now I am in an office space working with some decent people but the dickhead to decent person ration was about 25/1. Little did I know this ratio would only increase. The skills people had or acquired the worse they got (and the less work they did). Now we worked for a salary however as a salaried employee you worked 10 to 30 and sometimes extra per week with NO pay. This phenomenon is justified as "dedication to my craft" and the hopes and promises of future riches that seldom appear....except for the company owner. You allow yourself to believer you are successful because you have a salary and schedule flexibility but that is a mirage. As you gain experience and your salary increases there is a tipping point where you stop challenging yourself and go through the motions so as to not LOSE this great setup. Look around the office that your working in. How much work are you really doing. Yes people are busy being busy but what are you contributing really? I had an interesting run. I went through so many companies that collapsed during the tech bubble.
Microforum (re brand after massive layoffs).
Nitromedia (closed, job loss)
Mediconsult (closed job loss)
Mediatropolis (re brand after massive layoffs)
STARTCAST(sold to Bell Canada then closed with massive layoff).
After a few years away I tried to jump back in with Thomson Reuters (short contract terminated), The Streaming Network (The only job I have ever quit as they are probably the douchiest group of people I have ever worked with.).
Along the way I met some amazing people, learned so much its hard to fathom, did make some good $$. After a rocky start I learned that yes, I can change but I needed to believe in myself anyone who told me otherwise I just had to tell them to fuck off!! I think we all need to tell someone to Fuck Off once in a while. Anyways a nice 14 year run
Then it was off to Central and South America for some volunteer and travel. A little over 2 years opened my eyes like never before. You want inspiration. Stand shirtless in the blazing sun atop a glacier in Antarctica on Christmas Day. That is a "man I can do anything" moment!
Now its on to Oil and Gas with eyes wide open that anything is possible.I have the support of Bama as difficult as this is for both of us but its something I need to do. New skills and opportunities await. The skills learned you get paid for, not with promises but with $$$. Overtime is paid
1.5times and its encouraged. The work will be hard but once gained the
doors of opportunity are unlimited. I just have to do it. ** its tough to grasp that you finally find or in this case reconnect with the absolute right girl, but in order for us to move forward I have to leave. Karma you are a tricky bugger
Now how did I waste so much time. We things I could have accomplished during the previous years. Get my degree, hell get an advanced degree, learn a trade, learn multiple languages. Travel to more places, run a marathon, read war and peace, give to the community...you get the picture, well at least I do.
...and of course there are next steps along the way.
Now this is only a career based post. There are so many more elements to consider. However Complacency you do creep in when I am not ready. I know people who have more money then they will ever spend but always say they are broke. Friends addicted to work only because it makes them seem busy and important nary a smile on their face but always with a drink in their hand. People who have adult kids living in their basements and complain the do not do anything. People who say they can not afford to do anything but are buying their 4th tv, second mobile device while driving around in their new car wearing their new expensive leather coat. People whose main friends and relationships are virtual through Facebook and live lives of "maybe" and "One Day". The posting of tweets on Facebook via Hootsuite then sending a text to say "read my post" becomes the ultimate time waster. Do I really need to see a picture of your sandwich or read an obtuse moralist opinion on something irrelevant? (Anyways that is for another time)
This is no reflection on any one person but myself and how I am trying to change. Keep my eyes and ears open to the world no matter how scary things become. You need a goal and you should do anything to reach that goal. Will it be easy, probably not but if it was easy then everyone would be doing it....maybe I should have been that garbage man.
Have you ever wondered about the guys who are doctors that know 4
languages, are happily married with 3 kids, Climbed Mt. Everest, has a 3
degree martial art black belt, does great charity work and well you get
the picture? How is that possible eh?
Anyone who knows me has heard me spout off about Dr Susan Jeffers who wrote Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways Give it a read
**Interesting side note, the Regrets of the Dying and 25 of Life's Regrets
FINALLY, I am not having a nervous breakdown or mid life crisis (whatever the hell that really is), well at least I don't think I am. I find writing therapeutic and I write the thoughts the come into the strange inner working of my brain. I write about what I know or have perceived to have learned along the way. I am going to write what I think and if it offends anyone well OK. I am not going to delete something or say someone hacked my computer then delete it. Its out there for the world to see.
Deaths Coming, Life's Foreplay. Remember that!!!