I don’t like to stand around doing nothing. This includes:
- grocery store checkouts: I mitigate this one by using the self-checkout lanes which are always empty
- amusement parks: No way I’m waiting 60 minutes for a 90 second roller coaster ride.
- waiting for a sample pour at a beer fest: Do I need to explain?
- waiting to go to the bathroom after a large number of sample pours: Again, no explanation required.
The absolute worst is waiting in traffic and I avoid it at almost all costs. But last Thursday, it was unavoidable. Driving to Denver provided me with a flashback of my old commuter life.
In a typical day, I don’t drive at all. I walk the kids to school. I bike to the library. I prefer to move on foot, alone with my thoughts or in conversation with others.
Denver Driving Doldrums
I was headed to Denver for Startup Week and the commute should have only claimed 45 minutes of my life. It was raining though which always makes it worse. The 38 mile drive ended up taking 90 minutes. For much of the trip, I was going 20 mph in stop-and-go traffic.
About halfway there, some dude named Bob in a massive pickup truck started riding my bumper. How do I know his name was Bob you ask? The name was painted on the truck’s door. And Bob was a jerk, so I’m going to call him Bobnoxious.
Any time traffic in the lane next to me started moving faster, Bobnoxious would jump over in an attempt to pass me. Then, it would slow down and he’d find himself behind me again. And he was pissed. From the glares, I could tell that Bobnoxius was unhappy that I wasn’t tailgating the dude in front of me like he was tailgating me. Eventually, there was a big break and he floored it, glaring at me as he passed. Dude, I hope you’re not one of the folks complaining about the government when gas goes up a quarter.
I was disturbed to find that near the end of the commute, I was aggressive too. I almost rear-ended someone when the highway traffic came to a complete stop because I was going too fast. In short order, the rat race had turned me back into a rat. Not good.
By the time I finally parked the car, I was agitated and angry and in a foul mood. I turned off the car and just sat there with my eyes closed. I was already late for my session, so it didn’t matter. I thought about life:
Why was I so angry?
Why do I put all of this pressure on myself? September was the busiest month of my life.
And most of all, a general:
What the f*ck was I doing? Where was I going?
Instead or walking at my usual furious pace, I decided to slow down and take in the environment. I looked at the cloudy sky and the buildings around me.
I observed the construction workers.
I took a deep breath and considered the smell of the air.
Most of all, I thought about where my life was going. For the entire month of September, I’d been running around like a madman. September had kicked my ass. I was tired and felt defeated. And I’m supposed to be retired.
By the time I arrived at my session, I was in a better mood. I had mostly figured it out. I had my focus back. I knew what I wanted to do, at least for the rest of 2017:
- Blog: I love writing too much to give it up. I’ve tried to quit more than once, but the siren song of the keyboard always lures me back.
- Project: I want to ship version 1 of my new business. I love to write code, so why not continue to do it, especially for a meaningful project with a cool business partner? If the project makes me $5,000,000, wonderful! If not, I’ll have had a load of fun coding it up.
Depending on how busy my new project gets, I may lay off blogging for a bit too. I have some guest posts lined up to fill in the gaps.
I’m so thankful for some of the incredible opportunities that have come my way, but I have to stop working on them; at least for now.
Later in the day, the clouds parted. I wandered around in a daze. Part of it was because I was dead tired. More than that, I felt liberated.
Less is more.
Letting go felt good. Having focus again felt good.
From here on out, I’m going to carefully consider what I really want out of life. I’ll only work on projects that I’m incredibly excited about and leave the rest behind.
Almost six months into Financial Independence, I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m making progress though.
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