I’m not exactly sure when the change started to happen, but it was somewhere during the time my coworkers and I were working six days a week ten hours a day in a lab trying to get a project out the door. I realized that there had to be more to life than punching a time clock, sitting in a white walled room, and typing away on a computer.
For lack of better terminology, I had become a slave to a job and lifestyle that really didn’t produce any fun for me. I, literally, ate, slept, and drank my job. My only enjoyment came from hanging out with my friends at the gym and drinking my “troubles” away on the weekends.
Ironically, around that same time I booked my first solo-travel trip. The story I like to tell, (because it makes me sound cool and edgy), is that I was watching Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network and on that particular day she was in Santorini, Greece. Everything she ate looked absolutely amazing and the background images where just as beautiful. The story I like to tell is that at that moment I booked the tickets to Greece on a whim just by watching her on T.V.
That story is only partially true.
Yes, I chose my destination solely based on that T.V. show. However, the being on a whim part is a bit of an over exaggeration. In truth, at the time I booked the tickets I was in a place where I worked 50+ hours a week, had little to no time for myself, and decompressed by doing something destructive on the weekends. It was because of my boring, overworked existence that I booked the tickets not necessarily that I was cool and booking travel on a whim.
That trip was the beginning of a pattern of running. Not long after booking the trip, (shit before I even went on it), I quit my job and moved to a new job in downtown Dallas. I lasted a year there and quit to come back home. I lasted a year doing “my own thing,” spent all my money in Australia and New Zealand, and immediately jumped back into the corporate world. That job lasted about nine months before I started working on an exit strategy. I payed off some medical bills, built up a small financial cushion, (nowhere near enough), and booked a trip to Germany for a month.
And I ran.
I quit my job, left my family, left my new girlfriend and friends, and said fuck the responsibilities. Granted, I had one of the best months of my entire life and I wouldn’t do it any different, but just like my first job, my second job, and my time “doing my own thing,” I ran.
The last few years of my life have been defined by me running.
Sure, I left college, scored a killer job, built a great reputation with the company, and became a damn good software engineer.
Sure, I changed careers like a boss and got even more experience in software engineering making me a more well-rounded job candidate wherever I go.
Sure, I tried to start my own business and learned what it feels like to be a failure (something I had never expereinced to that level before).
Sure, I stepped up and adulted at a software job for a year because I had debt to pay off and managed to add even more tools to my software tool box.
The funny thing: Those accomplishments have not defined my post-college years.
Running has defined my post college years.
Since college I have seen Athens and Santorini Greece, swam the Great Barrier Reef with my best friends, took a road trip across Australia, helicoptered around New Zealand, took Muay Thai kickboxing lessons, took ballroom dancing lessons, drank on roof top bars in Prague and Vienna, been to the highest mountain in Germany, seen the Porsche and Mecedes-Benz Museums, met a wonderful girl, competed in a powerlifting meet, met some new family, traveled around Europe for a month, taken care of my sick grandmother, took control and killed multiple large software projects that people thought I couldn’t handle, and many more…..
My 4.0 in high school and college, and my other societal accomplishments mean dick to me.
Looking back, every story, every great memory, and everything I am proud of has occurred while I have been running.
I hardly remember the times between runs. I hardly remember the days I spent toiling away in an office. I hardly remember the times I spent locked in a lab. I hardly remember the time I spend studying my ass off.
I do remember the trips I have taken, the year I spent in and out of hospitals, all the time I spent running away from the work week drinking with my boys Evan and Mitch, the sights and sounds of racing around Australia and New Zealand, the feeling of all my hard work coming to fruition at my jobs, and the taste of coffee and beer made by someone who has put their heart and soul into.
That’s the shit that matters.
What’s the point of all this?
Gonna be honest. This has been a self-serving post up until this point. I literally started this post with a completely different topic. As I was writing, the post morphed into all the times I had run from my life. The post then became a journey into my own head where I, finally, realized that running was responsible for almost all of the greatest moments in my life and, maybe, running isn’t something to be ashamed of (the self-serving part).
So the point: Don’t be afraid to run.
In my case, the running and the things I was running from weren’t wrong. The way I went about running was wrong. I bailed on my job, my family, my friends, and my problems. I left without taking care of anything. I left with no idea what my source of income would be when I came home. I left not knowing who would take care of my grandmother if something bad happened. I left without figuring out where I was going to live when I got back. Shit, I left without a single idea as to who or what I wanted to be after the trip. I guess I just thought travel would magically solve all my problems.
Instead, I had a blast, but all the problems were still there.
I guess the point is simple: Run like your life depends on it. That’s where the adventure happens. But before you run handle your business and don’t leave any lose ends.
What would I do differently?
Handle my business. The decision to partake in a side business or the care of family members or the stresses of life are all under my control. Instead of bailing on them hoping they go away or magically change for the better, I should handle my business.
If I do not want to be a part of a side business, then I should amicably leave the business and transfer my client’s to a partner or friend.
If I do not know what I am going to do for money when I get back, I should figure that shit out before I leave, so the stress doesn’t bother me.
If I am running from family drama, I should sit down and have an adult conversation about it and get that shit resolved.
I should not just up and quit jobs. I want and need to build a career that makes me happy and is fulfilling. I can not accomplish that running all the time.
The lesson here is not to run away from all the things in your life expecting them to magically fix themselves.
The lesson here is to handle your business; be a great significant other, family member, employee, business owner, and friend; and run from time to time for adventures sake. Then, come back and take care of business.
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