I wanted to wait until my site transferred to its new home using this 100th post as my debut article. I’ve had some delays in getting there – technical issues, timing issues, or just life issues. We’ve all been there.
Then the Sandy Hook shooting occurred.
26 people. 20 kids.
As Arianna Huffington said on HuffPost, the shooting is shocking…but not surprising. And that remains the saddest part of the story, it’s no longer surprising.
This isn’t some grand benevolent plan that seeks to teach the spectators and horror survivors some lesson that makes us all stronger over time. That particular plan is kind of lacking in benevolence.
No, this is a product of an uncivilized society still trying to figure out how to earn the title – civilized. Because we are clearly not there yet. We cannot proclaim to be a civilized society when our kids can’t go to school without threat of being gunned down in their classrooms. That’s not a civilized society.
We haven’t figured it out yet, but we will. Hopefully, we all don’t kill each other before then, but I remain optimistic.
In my adulthood, I’ve come to accept my mortality. It’s one of the main reasons I feel I can say whatever I want to. No matter what is said by whom, we’re all headed for the same destination.
We all deserve our time though. It’s our most valuable asset, and yet many are robbed of this asset every single day. Even with that unfortunate fact, the time that we call youth still remains a sacred asset.
Terrible enough that men and women are robbed of their time way too soon, but now our kids can’t even take their time for granted. And of course this just isn’t in Newtown, CT, but all over the world, and in other cities in America like Chicago where school age children are being shot there at an alarming rate.
As sacred as we hold the innocence of youth, it is still not protected from the fact that death is the guaranteed shared experience that will eventually bind us all together. Obviously, myself included.
So the best way to honor those robbed of life, is to not take ours for granted.
I had to stop delaying publishing this post.
Life Is Not Strictly Linear
I believe life is not a linear event. It ebbs and flows as we learn about ourselves, our environment and the people around us. We are in a constant dance between an infinite amount of variables, not the least of which is ourselves.
Yet, the expectation is that our careers remain as linear as possible. We are expected to choose a skill, trade, profession, etc. at an early age, usually as a teenager; hopefully rise in that trade as we spend our most valuable asset, time, and hope to be rewarded with the chance to spend our final remaining years on earth with enough financial resources that we can finally choose how to spend that little remaining asset of time we may have left in the bank.
But as many of us know, life has a way of not panning out the way we initially planned or hoped.
And then we die.
This is not morbid. It is not pessimistic. It is in fact, the truth. A fact much of the nation is learning to face for the first time. For many others, this is far from news.
It is one of the few true certainties of this universe that we actually know, yet one of the subjects we spend so much time avoiding. Our ignoring of the fact, does not make it any less certain, and in many cases, can bring about the inevitable faster than we had ever hoped.
I do not plan on watching my life play out similarly. The time is just too precious.
Obviously, this is not everyone’s path. Just the one taught to us in school.
How I Spend My Time Today – My Job
I am currently employed by a large national financial organization. I get paid to build relationships and ethically make my organization as much money as I can.
That’s the bottom line – I get paid to increase the bottom line.
I do it well, and I have spent approximately 10 years of my life doing this for three major organizations. I am 31 years old.
In 10 years, I have increased my initial compensation as an entry-level trainee about three-fold when you include annual bonuses. I am grateful that I can provide a home for my family, and should one of us get sick, we can find the resources necessary to pay for our health care.
Other than that, I feel I am dying a slow death every single day.
I sit in beige cube staring at two computer screens crunching numbers and being preached to about shareholder ROE. I deal in a lot of false smiles and firm handshakes. We pat each other on the back and worry about the next “shift in company direction.” Our behaviors are tracked, because the target ROE for our shareholders can be reverse engineered into a specific set of repeatable actions done on a daily basis – for years.
It’s the new assembly line.
Other than a very small set of far removed people I enable to get richer – all of whom remain faceless – I help no one. I also indoctrinate our incoming, naïve, eager, and hopeful new college recruits into their new routine of life. For many of them, the realities of corporate America are a stark difference from the dream of happiness and self-fulfillment many of them have been sold all of their life. I help them rationalize. I let them know how lucky they are. It’s a part of my job.
I have a good reputation in my industry and I receive opportunities to help other organizations increase their bottom lines on a monthly basis. The talent pool is thin in my industry. Another thing I am genuinely grateful for, yet it makes no difference in how I feel.
And I feel as though I am giving away my most valuable asset to help people and a system that doesn’t need or value me outside of a tool that can be used to increase the wealth of a select few.
And it fucks with my head every single day. I’ve learned a lot in the corporate world, but I have outgrown my career. It’s time to begin a new path.
What I’m Doing About It
This is where this blog comes in. There are people like me everywhere – in every occupation. People that feel stuck and unaware of what to do next, people in limbo between being grateful to be employed in the current economic situation, and borderline losing their sanity feeling they have no options or control over how they are spending their time.
These are people who don’t know what to do other than simply accept what is. Outside of a solution, they rationalize to themselves in order to get through another day, another week, another month, another year of the same routine. That’s what we’re taught to do. Cope.
People cope differently. And they hope. They hope that in the end, they get a few years for themselves. Maybe they have enough saved up to actually take a breather. Decompress. Retirement.
Not me. I’m taking action. I’m writing down how you feel, but what you won’t say. I’ll do it. I’m writing down my struggles, my likes, dislikes, accomplishments, whatever. I’m putting out in the world what I truly want. Not what I want to settle for. The things I REALLY want. I’m just being honest.
I write about the issue and subjects that interest me: music, social progress, motivation, futurism, travel, life’s wonders/mysteries, education, business models, modern black culture, the evolution of faith, art, fear, and the normality of the absurd……………or whatever else has caught my interest at the time.
Someone will hear me. Someone will identify with me. Someone out there needs someone just like me. I’m just making it easier for them to find me.
Because we’re all not that different from one another. We like to help. And we like to help people who we like. And we like people that remind us of us.
And we feel more connected to a person that’s just honest about shit. Forget all the masks we wear since we only get comfortable with someone once we’ve seen them without their societal mask on anyway.
That’s all this blog is – me without my mask. Someone will ‘get it’.
Because we’re all not that different from one another.
It won’t resonate with everyone, and that’s fine. I’m not looking for the 98%. I’m looking for the 2% that understands exactly where I’m coming from.
This is simply the beginning of my journey.
What Do I Want?
- I want to feel good about how I’m spending my precious few years here on Earth
- I want to be a good example for my son
- I want to show people who you don’t have to be ONE THING to be successful
- I want people to be more honest with themselves and realize true success only comes with honesty
- I want people to stop being such big pussies about inevitable change
- I want people to see the beauty of difference
- I want to help remove the stigma of men actual having meaningful dialogue about who they are how they feel about their lives (especially black men)
- I want to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for people on a similar journey
- I want to help make our society more civilized
- I want to help someone build something epic…then help multiple someones do the same
- I want to experience life
- I want to show my son how to do the same
- Then I want to show everyone else
I have to try.
I believe people can thrive on their natural talents. It’s just about matching the right talents with the right opportunities. It’s about matching the right people with the right people.
I don’t think I can even fathom the opportunities that await me as long as I have the stamina to keep pursuing them. This is the hustle of life.
I will find a way to get from here to there. From box to ocean. I guarantee it. It’s already started. Short of death, in the words of Diddy, I won’t stop…can’t stop. Eh Eh.
I invite everyone along for the ride. Let’s do that shit together. I’ll get to my dream.
Fuck the paradigm.
Share my story if it’s your story. Share if you feel the same. Share with someone who needs to know they’re not alone in their struggle. Share if you realize how precious our time is. Share because you have the power to change someone’s life. Share if you WANT to. If you don’t, no worries…I’ll keep writing and connecting with people anyway.