Welcome Revelations

20 days ago I abandoned my career as an Engineer in search of something else, something unknown. I would like to say that my world has been turned upside down, but it’s more true to say that it was already upside down, and that it has now turned the right way up. For the first time in my life I feel truly free.

There are two simple statements that have been resonating with me of late. Two simple statements that can be heard loud and clear by anyone, but take great attention and contemplation to fully understand.

The first is “Just Do It“. Here and now. This really is it. Right now. Next year we will all be older. Soon we will be dead. There are many things I want to do in my life. My biggest hurdle has not been an inability to achieve my goals, but rather an ignorance of my options and a fear of change. What will I do without my high Income? Will I be able to get another Job? Where will I live? These questions only served to keep me still. To keep me stuck in fear of change and perpetually failing to really live the life I have. The future is uncertain. But regardless, it is always possible that I might fail at what I don’t want to do anyway, so why not at least try and do something I really want to do? Why not pick that thing I want to do, and Just Do It?

The second is “Live and Let Live. I spent too many years in hate. There are many people in this world, and many different ways of life. Yes, there is one and only one truth about life, the Universe and all that is and will ever be, but who am I to think that I am right in what I ‘know’. I may see many beliefs as silly or unwarranted, but who am I to tell anyone what they should or should not believe. We should express ourselves and our thoughts, and we should listen to others, it is the best way to grow in self. But we must learn to just love each other regardless of what we each choose to believe, be it out of introspective conviction, faith, science, ignorance, whatever. I have found great peace in the past weeks by learning to just accept anyone for who they are, regardless of whether they are willing to accept me or not.

These last few weeks have seen me completely lose who I thought I was. I now know, with absolute certainty, that money and happiness have absolutely nothing to do with each other. All of the best memories I have made over the past year have been in the last few weeks.

My First Game of Jenga

My First Game of Jenga

A Road Trip Break

A Road Trip Break

Playing Jenga for the first time. Having a secret party under a bridge. Watching the clouds from a mountain top. Road trips. My friends bucks night at the pub. But most of all, what has brought me the most peace and happiness is people. I have met many new and amazing people.

Craigs Bucks Night

Craigs Bucks Night

Secret Event @ Undisclosed Location

Secret Party @ Undisclosed Location

I don’t know where I will be in 4 months. But wherever it is, it will be somewhere I want to be. Otherwise I wont stay.

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I Want to be a Fire Truck

When I was a toddler I wanted to be a Fire Truck. Then when I was a little older, I wanted to be a Lawyer. Then when I was a bit older again I wanted to be a Cabinet Maker, then a rock star. Now i’m an Engineer.

Image Credit: bit.ly/1gKy8pG

Image Credit: bit.ly/1gKy8pG 

My point is that it always seems we should have some idea of the direction in which we want to/are meant to head. But really, we probably don’t. Ultimately the majority of us just fall into place, somewhere that our education has dictated we belong, or somewhere that our connections have placed us. We then just keep turning up. We stop asking questions. Wait for the next pay packet. Then figure out how to spend it.

I can’t accept this.

I overheard a conversation on the train this morning, on my way to my desk. A lady was telling her friend about how her child seems to have figured out what he wants to do with his life. He wants to be a physio because he is good at maths and sport. It seems to me that as adults we expect that our children should be making decisions so young as to what they want to do with the entirety of their lives, and that it is expected of them to do that thing they decide on so young, their entire life. We scare them into thinking that if they make the wrong decisions they will be stuffed.

Perhaps life is more about the journey than the destination. Perhaps we should concentrate on enjoying the right now than exposing ourselves to stressful and unenjoyable situations in search of some ultimate goal or job that we don’t know yet if we will even enjoy. The workforce is so far removed from the education system that we are simply not giving our youth realistic expectations.

I am no wise old Wizard. I’m just a young man, confused and lost, starting off on my pursuit of happiness. I feel though that my wisdom is growing. Money no longer controls my thoughts. Though money is necessary in this life, and I do aim to make my own, passion, people and love are taking over my mind.

If I could, and I hope I soon do, speak to the (ultra) young people (i’m still very young) currently going through school and being asked to make decisions for their future. I would tell them to do whatever it is that makes them happy, and do it better than anyone else. Choose subjects based on what you enjoy and not on what prerequisites a particular course at university might have. If you are doing classes that you don’t enjoy in order to get into a University course. You’re probably not going to enjoy the University course. Success is personal. If you’re measuring your success based on someone elses opinion of you, you’re doing it wrong.

So, really, the moral of my story is enjoy now. Now will never come again, and if you spend now worrying about then, when then comes, no doubt you will be worrying about the next then. Don’t get lazy, keep pushing forward, keep doing what you love, keep drawing, building, creating, writing, reading, traveling etc. If you’re not doing what you love, then you have simply not thought hard enough about how to get yourself there. In Australia, there is no excuse, everything you could possibly need is at your fingertips. Go out and get it. Quit complaining.

Btw, as of right now, I have:

  • 7.17 days;
  • 172.10 hours;
  • 10,326 minutes; or
  • 619,560 seconds left until I am no longer an engineer.

In one and a half weeks from now my life will be entirely different.

Corners, careers and a moment to hold on to

30 days now until I finish my engineering career. Less than a month. Wow. It has been an incredibly difficult year, but the next episode is only just around the corner.

My work ethic is pathetic (perhaps my fate is in poetry) at the moment. It’s not something I’m proud of. I feel terrible about my present performance. I need to be doing so much more so that I don’t leave problems behind me for someone else to deal with.

Looking at what needs to be done, it seems perfectly fair and reasonable. Without doubt it could all be achieved ahead of time. But I am not a robot. I am Matt. A big kid. When all passion is lost, all enthusiasm has been drained by a desk, the drive to achieve has been eliminated by the realization that hard work and crap work as an employee result in almost identical personal outcomes. The ability to sit and work crashes and burns.

It’s in times like these that I must hold on to the future. My time will come. It is only just around the corner. It is in one month now that rather than hold on to the future I will be holding myself in the present. The first sight of snow for the season. My first ride up a chair lift. The first run down a slope. Sunrise from a mountain top. ‘Hopefully’ a lady under my arm. Life on Falls Creek. My endless ‘now’ will be my moment to hold on to.

One more month. I need to subdue my overwhelming urge to scream, yell, smash and destroy shit for only one more month. My strength is in understanding that no matter the events of the next 30 days, soon I will be on the snow. The stresses of this life will come to pass. Soon.

Three (more) Things I Am Grateful For

Over three weeks ago I watched this TED talk which inspired me to think harder about some of the things in my life that I am grateful for. Three weeks ago when I first posted on the topic of gratefulness I found it quite difficult to come up with three things. Times have been dark lately. This time however it seems much easier. Things are looking up, more so every day, and as such I get to pick three things that stand out among a much longer list of things I am grateful for. So here it goes again.

Three (more) Things I Am Grateful For

1. The Snow    

In just over a month now I make my way up to Falls Creek, where I get to stay for the entire Snow Season! This, coming from an 8:30 – 5:00 desk job nearly 2 hours travel from home is such an enormous and welcome change. The reality of the situation has not hit home, and likely wont until I get there. I get to spend every day outside on the snow and among people. Even if I am to work full time hours, I gain a minimum of 4 hours to myself everyday to have fun, be social and work on myself. I can’t wait.

2. Failure    

Had I not failed, and fallen as far behind as I have, I may never had made the decision to escape the professional trap and start my life journey. Now, although I don’t know what comes after Falls Creek, I am determined to do everything in my power to really live my life. Because we only have one. Ask yourself, is your life boring? Or is it an adventure? I am also grateful for the debt I found myself in, which is now nearly gone. Having so much debt has really hammered home the value of money. Fact is the significant majority of mine has been spent on things that have actually been harmful to myself. Now I can really begin working on becoming a wealthy man.

3. My Education  

We really are exceptionally privileged in Australia. It can be hard to understand when this is the only way we ever experience life. I have received a top notch (though it never seems so at the time) education. Now I also have further education in the form of real world experience. Although I am now choosing to leave the profession I educated for, I do not regret my schooling in it at all. Conversely, I found that University really taught me how to think for myself, and ask the right questions. When faced with something I do not understand, I have all the tools available to me to investigate and learn about the subject. It is no longer a matter of what can I do, but what do I want to do. I have the resources at my disposal to do anything.

Thankfully this wasn’t so hard this time. Next time, I expect it to be easier again. Next time I will be on my snowboard. Almost every day.

I Got That Job – A Big Step in The Right Direction

I don’t really know what to think at the moment. I’m happy. I’m excited. I have taken control of my life back and am on my way to somewhere I want to be. Though wherever that ultimately is I will only know on arrival.

I just had the call from Falls Creek (Snow in Australia), and in less then 2 months now, I can confirm, I will be on my way up to work for the whole snow season. This moment feels truly liberating. I have escaped the corporate world, likely never to return (as an employee at least), and have started my next phase. The phase were I really get to live my life.

I am no longer worried about my immediate future. I just need to continue existing as an engineer for another 50 days.

Progressing Towards A Life Of Travel

7 years of primary school, 6 years of high school, 4 years of University and 3 years professional experience as an engineer, and in 57 days I throw it all away. 57 days from now (38 days of actual work) I have my last day working as an engineer. Only now, after all of my schooling and workplace experience do I truly feel that I am prepared for life.

It’s a lie to say I am not anxious or scared. Uncertainty looms over me. However the closer I get to my final day, the more optimistic I become. My attitude and anxiety fluctuate wildly day to day, but the overall trend is in the right direction. Currently I am reducing my debt so rapidly that it is looking like I will actually have a bit of cash behind me when I leave. I’m smiling more frequently now. I have always been optimistic. Though now I am optimistic with a much grander view of potential.

I do not believe life has any purpose. I don’t believe that we are meant to do something with our time and I don’t believe there is any higher power. Besides maybe one that has evolved independently from us and left us in some form of colossal petri dish as an evolutionary experiment. I do believe that we all have the ability to experience joy, that we all can (and do) experience suffering and loss and that we only have a finite amount of time on this earth live. So why do so many of us not ever really live.

There was a quote (likely fake) going around facebook for a while supposedly having come from the Dalai Lama which regardless of its validity really hits home to me. It is said that, when asked what surprised him the most about humanity he replied as follows;

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money in order to recuperate his health. He is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he doesn’t live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama

My life to this point I do not regret a day of. Because my experience, my successes and my (more numerous) failures have made me who I am now. I no longer fear life. I no longer live in anxiety with a fear of the future. I no longer advance myself and my skills for the benefit of an employer. I now live for me. I now live to experience. To travel. To smile, be happy and enjoy the company of the people I meet.

This weekend is potentially a pivot point for me. I have an interview with a company called Merlin Entertainment. The specific role I am applying for is to be a lift attendant at Falls Creek (Snow in Australian) for a whole season. But the potential within this organization are incredibly far reaching and exciting. Wish me luck. Though I don’t think I need it 😉

What is success?

What is it that is really important in life? What is success?

Perhaps like me you have had a privileged childhood. I went to a public school in Australia doing very well in my final two years. At the time, as young kids, we were pressured in to believing that our performance at school would directly effect our ability to become successful in the future. All of high school became nothing more than a race to the highest possible final score for fear that otherwise we would be doomed to fail forever. The threat of not getting in to University loomed over our heads as if it were our direct path through the gates of hell.

I got the good grade, and took my express ticket to University excitedly, graduating 5 years later (with a gap year for travel) with a degree in Engineering with Honors. According to the ideals of my educators I was on the fast track to success, the golden child.

Straight out of University I got the Job. Immediately getting paid in excess of anything I had hoped for. 3 months later, pay rise. 9 months later, another pay rise and promotion. A year later, another pay rise and a merger which saw me take on a much larger role within a much bigger organisation. Three months ago, another offer for a much more sophisticated, senior and technical position. Great. Right? So why did I just resign?

If I could go back, I would not change a thing. I have gained invaluable experience and am more prepared than ever to now take on my life in the way that I deem it to be successful. It just so happens that my idea of success is not spending the majority of my life pushing around fancy paper from behind a desk.

Success is not defined by anyone but yourself. To me, success is a life of happiness, a life of experience and adventure, a life that can never (in my case at least) be achieved whilst holding down a full time career. Success to me is also (in part) in wealth. Though, contrary to what we are taught to believe, wealth is not found by working for an employer. True wealth is found in ideas, in believing that you have the ability to achieve whatever you want and then having the guts to go after it.

I only hope that I can help as many people as possible realise that you really can do/be whatever you want in life. Start now. Today. If you wait for your current distractions to end, others will just take their place. Take risks, jump in. When you fail, learn and try again. Keep trying again.

Any one of us can do anything. As long as you believe it.