New year, new me! Just kidding, I’m the same guy. Like the Talking Heads said best, “same as it ever was. Same as it… ever was.” Okay well things aren’t exactly the same as they always were either, but I do enjoy poking fun at people who think they’re going to change everything about themselves because the calendar switched over.
And as much as I enjoy making fun of these people, I also enjoy seeing so many people trying to do better. We should always be making resolutions, not just on New Year’s. We should always be working to improve, striving to be healthier and more conscious. If the start of the year is your way of making an improvement, that’s awesome news.
Especially after this past year, I think we all need a new beginning, whether that beginning has any tangible significance or not. It’s kind of up to us to decide when our new beginnings are. We can start a new chapter in our life at any moment.
Personally, I started a new chapter six days ago when I quit working my well-paying, comfortable job with health benefits in the middle of a pandemic. It’s something I have been planning for years, and I wasn’t going to let the state of the world dissuade me from taking a risk. Granted, it’s important I recognize that it’s now a bigger risk, but maybe that’s just what I need. Often times our best work is done when our backs are against the wall. We have the innate tendency to only do as much as we need to in order to survive, which is why comfort is the enemy of creation.
So, I’m launching myself into the land of the uncomfortable. And I’ll be honest, my life has been very comfortable compared to most. I’ve been working for the family business, living with my dad in the same town I grew up in. It’s safe and it’s easy. And that’s exactly the problem. I noticed myself falling into the same patterns because I was doing the same thing every day in the same environment. As much as I tried to change my habits through sheer will power and decisiveness, I couldn’t. At least not long term. At some point I would end up doing the same things I had always done, in a recurring cycle.
And that’s why I have to move on. People always assume that I will simply take over the family business because it generates a lot of money and I know how to run it. “What an opportunity you have,” people will say. An opportunity for a single track life, yes. An opportunity to live in comfort, never challenging myself to grow. An opportunity to live the same life as my dad. An opportunity to be tethered to a property and location.
I know a man who owns a farm. He lives on the farm, gets up early every morning, and never takes a day off. He has always lived on the farm. He never leaves the farm. If you want to talk to him, you simply go to the farm, and he will be there. He’s a nice man; smart and personable. He has made more than enough money to move on from the farm. He could have moved on from the farm twenty years ago, thirty years ago. But he remains, because that farm is everything to him. It’s engrained into his soul. His entire life he has known nothing but the farm, and to leave it now would be to shatter his entire being. He can’t risk leaving because if he left now he would have to face the reality of his tragic life. One that could have been so much more.
I have a friend who appears destined for the same type of life, and it saddens me. He has all the potential in the world, but he will never leave what he knows. I can live with failure, I can live with suffering and pain, I’m even comfortable with death, but what scares me more than anything is lying on my death bed and realizing that I have wasted my life.