It’s never too late to do something about your life. Contrary to popular belief (or my own), my own synapses didn’t start firing until well after the age of 30. I am adapting, I’m learning, but unfortunately, my way of doing things is like climbing a steep slope – I have to cover a lot of ground in a short time, since everybody my age sort of passed me years ago. So I’m doing crazy things I wouldn’t normally do, even if I’m not exactly a poster-boy for the new scientist movement to begin with.
I wished I had a guide, a text book or a flow chart for life, I really did. I’ve forgotten many things along the way, I’ve never paid much attention to details I now wish I could remember. When they handed that guide book, I must have been day-dreaming. If I look at my past, I could have gone 3 different ways – very different and all equally scary. It’s like the ghosts of Christmas, past, future and present. I was good at something but didn’t pursue it and now it’s too late to start. I thought I was good at something else, but ended up hating it with every fiber of my being. Now I’m doing something else, loving it and hoping it will still be like that in the years to come. Every part was something I thought was right, at that time. It wasn’t. I gave up things I loved because others thought they saw no future in them, but in doing so I ended up doing jobs I hated but everybody else loved. No, not loved doing them but loved the idea of doing them. Money, power, status – all very nice concepts until you actually get them, and going by the wisdom of crowds can prove not so correct. I’d do that, if I were you – they used to say – but whoever said it didn’t do it, ever. People don’t know what they want – they know what they think they want. They want cushy jobs, lots and lots of money and status and company car and there ends their wish. Nobody sees the stupidity, the ugly that’s permeating everything – they judge appearance. And whoever actually takes their advice will be trapped inside a golden cage, swimming in shit and other excrements. Boy, did I hate it, then. Yes, I did get paid – twice what I make now, and that was years ago. But money, you’ll find out quickly, can’t compensate for being asked to lie innocent people by some schmuck who thinks if you can’t sell something to somebody is because you haven’t pushed your mark hard enough. The only upside of that was the money and the fast promotions – nothing else. It’s like multi-level marketing only your employer is A rated on NYSE.
You never know what you’re capable of, until you’re down and stepped on by everybody else. A manual would’ve helped, if I had the brains for it. I didn’t, not for a very long time. I used to think in absolutes, in terms like destiny, karma, whatever. Stupid things. Free will is not free. But it’s not like there’s a destiny for everybody. Then I actually thought about it. Well, I’d be screwed. If there was such a thing, I’d want no part of it for myself. Destiny doesn’t mean the end is good – just that it’s predetermined and fixed. Whatever I did, it’s where I end up – well that sort of proves it, actually – 5 feet under is my destiny. The trivial solution. Heh, how about that? Other than that, if there were some sort of a destiny for me, it’s either good or bad. If it’s good, I don’t have a problem with it. If it’s bad, I would hate it. But destiny is only good, how come bad stuff happens to people? Why does evil exist? If it’s only bad, then how come good exists? How is happiness possible, then, because it is possible. If destiny is sometimes good and sometimes bad, but impossible to change, then some people will have the good stuff and some people will have the bad stuff. Who or what decides who gets what? If destiny is impossible to change, from a statistical point of view, I’d hate it. I don’t want to even think of something that reduces me to a puppet, something crushing every choice I make, a universe where nothing I ever do can make me happy. Note I never said anything about deserving to be happy – it’s not even a variable there. Good people, even children, get cancer while dictators (think North Korea) die after a life of luxury and injustice. They all die, but their lives are very different. It doesn’t fit the picture of a moral universe. Imagine hell was real but ending up there would be left to a coin-toss.
Here’s where it’s scary – it’s a belief. I have no proof, no certain thing for such a theory. I just know if such a manual for life were to exist, some people would fight against it – myself included. Nothing ever prepared me for life. If it weren’t for my wife, I’d have skipped a few steps of life years ago. Too much bullshit, you know? But then my hamsters started moving the wheels and I felt free for the first time, ever. I’m not even done with that, every moment is an eye-opener and experiencing the world this way is something incredible. You see, I don’t believe in anything else but freedom of choice and the existence of happiness. I did have some bad-luck Brian moments in my life, some even rather bad, but if there is no destiny then I’m free to make my own path towards happy. It becomes my choice, my work – and nobody can take it away from me. Not my parents, not my teachers, not my friends or my fellow employees, not the government and certainly not the church. The outcome becomes a measure of effort and I find that good…
What I learned is to never use feelings when it comes to planning. People don’t care about the future, especially mine. I learned to keep an open mind, to evaluate and adapt – because nobody else can do it for me. Listening to teachers singing praise to stock-exchange traders or bankers or well, managers, is not about what you should do but what they think you should do. They look at what they see and form a mental picture of that – but nobody would actually want to dirty their fingernails. They want money, fame, status while never lifting a finger to get them. But you should listen to them, because they have authority. Yea, sure. It’s really what self-made wealthy folks do to their own kids, well most of them anyway. They don’t teach them what they’ve learned themselves, they don’t use the same education they’ve been given, that hard work equals wealth – they send them to fancy schools, make them management or provide for their every whim – and then wonder why they’re turning into idiots or some kind of Paris Hilton wannabe. It’s our nature to care for our children, to want better things for them, but I think we’re lacking confidence. After all, if people get from zero to riches in 40-50 years of hard work, why would they make their children go to famous schools? Are they afraid their success was a fluke? Do they think schools are mandatory for success? Because let me tell you, if that could be taught in school, everybody would be rich. Success is the exception because schools teach failure. They teach ideas but not the work behind those ideas. They give you information but not how to use it. Having information at the start of something is not a requirement for success, you don’t have to know everything before starting the race in order to cross the finish line – given time, a thick skull and enough determination you can do it. But information will be the factor determining who wins first, second or third place. The quality of your education will determine how fast you can achieve your goals, not whether you actually achieve them. The best colleges, the best postgrad courses, everything gold plated can lead to bankrupcy and financial ruin while the the son of a coal-miner can get to working for NASA. Or become the world’s richest man. That’s life.
The first time I thought passion could move mountains – they didn’t move, I did. If the mind is weak, passion is worth nothing. The second time, I listened to the advice of others – I did what they said I should be doing. After a few years, I used to dream of writing my resignation. Eventually, that also happened for real. This here is now my third attempt at Nirvana. I don’t look for advice anymore, I don’t look for shortcuts and cheat-sheets – I’m in it for the duration. I take my moments of bliss anyway I can while moving forward. There’s no rules to life – so I’m making my own, with wine and pretty women (one for the soul and the rest for eye-candy). Oh, and whiskey. Let’s not forget whiskey.