Achieving freedom

To be alive. Not to simply exist, but to be free and in control. To be behind the wheel of my own future. To face the uncertain world and flip it off with complete confidence in self.

Over 3 months ago, I started this blog a different man. A man knowing that change had become desperately necessary. Things were not good. A miserable engineer. A desk monkey in debt and swimming in other issues. Reluctantly complying with and singing the ‘professional’ song, I was too close to cracking.

Today my bags are packed, my arms are outstretched, i’m smilling wide and i’m ready to run. The trail is fuzzy and uncertain, each decision a fork in my path. Each day a new opportunity for risk, a new chance to create something beautiful.

I have no idea who I am, but I am happy. I am my own man and the only person making decisions that effect my future. Tomorrow my world turns completely upside down. My old desk now belongs to another. Tomorrow I meet my new colleagues and drive up to Falls Creek (the snow).

We all need to worry less. Life is one big risk. It can and does all go to shit occasionally, but we only get to live it once. Whatever you want to do. Just go do it. Cut out the bullshit and get down to living.

My primary objective is now to live. I want to see and explore. Jump with both feet in the deep end and just see where I end up. Anything is possible. But we have to be prepared to take the risk.

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The Home Stretch

Monday morning, on the train, on my way to work. Next week I don’t need to do this anymore. It feels surreal. I don’t really know what to think. I didn’t really sleep at all last night. Just lay awake worrying about what im meant to get done this week knowing just how near impossible it’s getting to continue sitting and pushing buttons.

Yesterday I grabbed all of my work shirts except what I need for this week and cut all of the stitching away so that I now have a whole heap of raw material. Its up to my little sister now to convert it into a pencil case. A nice memento of time behind a desk.

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This time next week im heading up to Falls Creek to start my next (more exciting) adventure.

Now a fully grown adult. But still scared of the world.

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.

A Motivational Hit

It is easy to stay still and get comfortable.

It is much harder to get up and run after something more. It takes drive, motivation, passion and a will to win. It takes the guts to face uncertainty and to drive the outcome that you want to achieve. No one can claim to be perfect, no one is, has been, or ever will be. No one has ever known what their future held. Anyone that has had a dream has had to work in order to achieve it. But sometimes we need a little bit of motivation along the way.

Motivation can be hard. Uncertainty has often clouded my thoughts and slowed my progress, though I keep chugging forward. I have taken my big steps backwards. The biggest backwards steps have been in decisions made without education and in desperation, with the hope of immediate gratification. Fact is that immediate gratification does exist, but it is rare and takes an educated and experienced mind to identify its possibility. My mind was neither educated or experienced in the matters at hand at the time. Now it is, and my losses have been recovered. I am now the closest to my dreams I have ever been, though they are still so far away. I still don’t know how I am going to get there and I have no idea how long it is going to take.

I ask myself frequently “what is your dream?”. Every day I seem to have a different answer, though they all revolve around two concepts. Freedom and Happiness. My dream (though it may change slightly tomorrow) is “to get myself into a position where I am happy and free. Free to decide what I want to do tomorrow, and where I want to go, without worrying about how I am going to afford it or how it will turn out, and to eliminate the fear of the future“. Pretty simple dream really. I have not a moments doubt that I will achieve this dream, I just don’t know how or when. The last year has been a roller coaster, the two biggest mistakes have occurred and I have now dug myself back out of their holes. But I need a little motivation.

Lately I have been turning to youtube for motivation. There are a lot of good videos, full of inspirational quotes and imagery (like this one) that just remind me that I am good enough and I do have the power to achieve anything I want to achieve. So I figured that I could share a couple of quotes here that have resonated with me recently and kept me moving forward. They may be cliche, but they have been effective.

“The Man who says he can, and the man who says he can not.. Are both correct” – Confucius

I have heard people say that they can’t do that thing countless times. I used to think that I couldn’t draw, until I started drawing. I used to think that I couldn’t maintain a blog, until I just did it. I used to think that I couldn’t quit smoking, until I told myself I could. Now I am telling myself that I can be happy, I can live an amazing life and not regret a day. And so it will be.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!” – Rocky Balboa

I wrote this in the back of one of my recent workbooks. I would read it every time I opened the book and right before every time I closed it. It reminded me that even though I was in a huge amount of debt and struggling with other serious personal issues, if I did not continue to educate myself and continue to think up new ideas, I would never get ahead. Now i’m back at the starting line, it’s time to get ahead.

I’m going to win.

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 😉

My Unspoken Fears

In about 2.5 months now my professional life is ending and I am being thrust in to the world with a fresh start. Whilst I maintain an optimistic long term outlook, it is a lie to say that I am not scared of my short term future. I have grown accustomed to a lifestyle where money is no issue and have spent what I want when I want.

I know now that I will never earn my millions working for a boss, and that my time, my imagination and ability to innovate are my greatest assets. What I really require for long term success is my time. So I must learn, for the short term, to live on much less, whilst finding a way to experience my country and the rest of the world at the same time.

I do not know where I will be living in June and I do not know where I will be working, only that I will not allow myself to be homeless and that I can and will get a job. A job that I will enjoy. Out of university it was more important, especially given the fears that were embedded in our brains about the difficulty of finding employment to just get a job, as opposed to find a job we enjoy. As a result I jumped at the first opportunity. Though I have learnt so much, which I can and will ultimately use in my own life to benefit me, I now find myself miserable in a job I have no passion for.

I now know that the work force is kind to those that are willing to work and that are willing to put in just a little bit of effort to do a good job, but I do not know what it is that I will truly enjoy, only that in time I will find it. I am anxious and I am scared. Perhaps fear is good for me, maybe I need it, maybe it will trigger a true transformation in my life. I know I need it. It has been a long time coming.