I've never believed in a 'career'. Even as I went along the traditional path of education at school and University I spent more time trying to improve my non academic skills; by setting up football leagues, editing newspapers, managing annual charity events, anything but the perceived 'right' thing.
This approach stood me in good stead once a quarter-life crisis presented me with a skateboard and the idea of riding it across Australia. To many, this was a bizarre notion even to consider, let alone practice, but personally I had never been faced with a larger opportunity. It wasn't crazy, it couldn't have felt more sane. For the first time in my life, I felt I had purpose.
Five years on, I still wrestle with the nature of what I do. Thus, explaining it simply isn't easy. From the outside, you may see pretty pictures, a life of travel and adventure, images of what basically appears to be an everlasting holiday. Oh the cheek of selective storytelling! It is a menial, everyday, in-between expeditions life. It is a chipping paint-off-the-walls, cereal pouring, email-writing, bill-paying, 'what next' wondering, food shopping life. Yes, sometimes I have tried things that not many (or sometimes, nobody) has done before, but this doesn't come because I was blessed with trailblazing genes, fat wallet or a bionic physique.
So where does it begin? I haven't recovered from a life-threatening illness, nor been born into wealth. I simply took an opportunity to improve myself. My life is gloriously uneventful unless I decide to make it otherwise. I don't expect to win the lottery, but I live (if not spend!) like my numbers came up.
As a teenager I was an unhappy, friendless soul! I couldn't relate to anyone and didn't know what everyone my age was talking about, because when you're young you don't have much experience to draw on. This translated into my first incentive to travel; I guess I wanted to become more interesting, even to myself.
As a young adult I made excuses to avoid testing myself. We all delight in being comfortable; Brits would rather burn themselves than pull themselves from the sand and find some shade on a beach holiday. Our desk at work becomes our abode, a family photo smiles back at so many of us as we wonder exactly why we're at that desk in the first place. It's hard to drag yourself out of a warm bed on a winter's morning. You feel less like seeing your friends when you're in the blossoming early stages of a relationship. Comfort feels good, but it also stops us from reaching out and possibly doing what we should be doing. Only we are at fault if we continue to make excuses, for excuses are not reasons.
I'd always understood that when fun meets work, then it becomes a chore. Now, we're never going to have everything our own way, but I manage my own life and am so privileged to do so. Sometimes I don't want to get on a train or go through my taxes, but even if your life is shaped by chasing passions the hard things makes the good stuff taste better. By making our passions a priority, everything else has a meaning and its own place. Whether depressing, unenjoyable or mildly boring, if you live for your dreams nothing else can bring you down for long, because you know there's far better to come.
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