A year ago today I quit my job, April Fool's Day, 2016.
Even just four years into my career as an engineer I felt complacency looming. Each year was unfolding predictably like the last.
I've been thinking about this anniversary off and on over the past few weeks. I have to write something. This marks my new year in some way. I took a leap on this day that changed my life in measurable ways. Year 2 starts now.
Before I left to hike the Pacific Crest Trail I wrote a brief post titled, "Am I Supposed to Be Here?". The post was written as follows:
"As humans we connect the present moment to reason. Most place reason ahead of the moment, in the future. And this philosophy is captured by saying, "Everything happens for a reason." This implies the present moment is fulfilling the needs of a future reason, destiny.
But to me, reason lives behind the moment, in the past. Actions and re-actions of days gone by connect the dots of our lives, in hindsight, to the present moment. These dots of the past should reasonably connect. Why wouldn't they?
Studying the connection of dots may in ways project outcomes of the foreseeable future. However, I refuse to accept the broader implications of destiny.
If the age old adage could be re-framed I would say, "Everything has reason." The present can be explained and controlled by reason. But the future is not tethered to reason in the same way.
There's a subtle distinction to be made. Tomorrow's future does not dictate today's present.
We are in control of our own lives, infinitely free to pursue our own version of destiny.
I place my destiny at the start of the Pacific Crest Trail. The possibilities are numbing. No one knows what will happen next."
No one did know what would follow. I certainly didn't.
I planned to take a five month hike. I even lined up another engineering job before hand to pick up right where I left off in Columbus when I was finished walking.
The plane ticket to the PCT turned into a two week road trip. The five month hike turned into six. The engineering job turned into a job selling cars (and almost a nursing home gig). The luxury downtown Columbus apartment within a stones throw from my favorite bars turned into a tired old couch in my dad's house in the suburbs of Cleveland.
I wanted a truck. Instead I have a gigantic van and a jeep to boot.
What the fuck happened?
Who the fuck is Forge?
How could only one year have passed?
But it was just a year.
And I know exactly how this past year would've unfolded had I not taken that leap.
Even if I changed jobs, the extended weekend trips would be the same. The odd nights out, or the concerts, or the happy hours, the highs and the lows would have all plotted out like the year before, and the year before that.
My engineering career path wasn't destiny, it was wasteful. I was wasting my life, a life that was never lived, and never would be lived until I took a leap.
We all have to take our own leap by the way, to get to a place where we are approaching the life we choose.
No one comes to your door with your dream.
You must brazenly pursue your interests. Set quantifiable goals aligned with those interests. And allow for the unknown space between where you are now and where you want to be.
Align your life in such a way that what you think, say, and do are in harmony. And then allow for the magic to whisk you away beyond your wildest imagination.
What a year.