Seasons come and seasons go. We are currently in transition from a season of Success to a season of Exploration. The season of success was defined mostly by societal norms of making lots of money and reaching the top of your career field. While I achieved this it did not end up being particularly fulfilling to the soul and the income seems to get spent nearly as fast as it comes in no matter how big the stream. I found myself becoming increasingly depressed with the prospect of punching my ticket for another ten years or so in the daily grind. It is amazing how we can fool ourselves into thinking we are actually making a living when in reality we have become nothing but drones on a treadmill with our vision being shaped by the media. Not being a conformer at heart I found my view of retirement as the goal was becoming a vacuous perspective. On the one hand it seemed to be slipping away given the hits we took in the housing market and recessions and yet, the way forward as defined by the tunnel vision of success was to see only a distant and dim light (future promises) at the end of the tunnel. One thing seemed readily apparent; plugging through another ten years of the routine was obviously not going to make THAT big of a difference and I wasn’t too sure just how much “life” there was going to be left in me by then.
If… IF… you wait ’till you’re 50… to start living? To start injecting passion, risk and adventure… the “stuff of life” … I got a lil’ bit of news for you… less than 2% of 2% are gonna do it. By the time you’ve ticked off 50 summers, you’re so set in your ways, and so locked down by the ingrained fears and “what ifs”, the likelihood of you changing the things you’ve been doin’ wrong for half a damn century, exists somewhere ‘tween not likely and ain’t gonna happen. The emotional inertia created by the fear and stagnation drilled into you by the system has become so much a part of you that it’s insurmountable by most. — B.K. Gore
So, if you find yourself following a path that is leading nowhere you really want to go there is an obvious solution. STOP, conduct a little situational analysis, and head out in a different direction. This is where the risk and adventure part come in…the “stuff of life” that makes it worth living. Sometimes you come to a fork in the trail and can make a choice. At other times there is no fork and you simply have to go “off-trail”. This is one of those off-trail times. Fortunately, I have experience in this sort of thing…Rhonda can provide a variety of stories about some of our off-trail experiences and we are still here to relate them 😉 The really cool thing about going off-trail is that although you have a basic sense of direction you really don’t know what is around the next bend or over the next hill. Occasionally, you find yourself in a box canyon and have to backtrack but usually there is a way through although it may not be obvious and may require some extra effort.
This is called exploration and people who did that in years past, e.g. Lewis and Clark, were called explorers. You won’t find that listed in the career books these days but one of my life long aspirations was to be one. My vision was modeled more after Star Trek; To boldly go where no man has gone before, but although I reached the rank of Captain it was only a desk I piloted, not a starship. Nevertheless, life is what you make out of it and sometimes you have to grab at the opportunities you have in front of you before it becomes to late. Many quotes have been penned about opportunity lost.
Halting forward progress on the path of life and redirecting is not a simplistic thing the further down the path you find yourself. We are fortunate that we have made some significant reductions along the way which have made the redirection easier; sold the house a few years ago so no mortgage tying us down, moved into a one-bedroom apartment last fall so already have a small footprint in terms of possessions, and still more or less debt-free. This allowed us to re-purpose some assets, submit the Letter of Resignation, and in the spirit of “Go West, young man” purchase a team of horses and a Conestoga wagon. Next week we “hitch up” and head out. 😉