As Jodi and I prepare to sell the boat and move on to our next adventure, I’ve been reflecting on many things.
We live on a net income of about $24,000 per year. Most of that comes from my job at the school. The rest, around $2,500, comes from writing and other side projects.
I don’t desire to make a lot of money. I know, it’s crazy. But, that’s where I’ve come down in my life.
Our business, before we sold it, was bringing in low six figures. And roughly 45% of that went to taxes, bills, and expenses. We sort of had the freedom to do what we wanted. I wasn’t shackled to a “wage slave” job. I didn’t have to arrive somewhere at an appointed time, leave at a different scheduled time, and then be paid for the time in between. It was nice, I will admit.
But . . .
I wasn’t living my truth.
I had spent my entire life, or at least a huge majority of it, working for the oil and gas industry. It makes the entire financial world go round. Literally. Every . . . single . . . thing we purchase is touched by oil and gas.
I was in debt: home, cars, student loans, medical bills, credit cards, phone contracts, etc. Fortunately, the business was 100% debt free, save the lease on the car (which ironically, was the only way we could easily deduct our car expenses).
I was eating a lot of meat. And, frankly, the factory farming industry is atrocious.
I was soaking my lawn with chemicals and applying chemicals to the water in my pool to keep it crystal, sparkling, clear.
I lived in a monstrosity, compared to the vast majority of the world, of a house and was an energy whore.
I was living other facets that violated tenants and promises that I vowed to never break.
In short, absolutely every aspect of my life violated my truth. I certainly wasn’t miserable or destitute, but I wasn’t content or at peace.
So, I decided to make a change. It took some serious convincing on Jodi’s part. I don’t think she’s 100% convinced yet, but she went along with it.
The change was simple.
I decided to just start living according to my truth. I sold the business that was making money from a very dirty industry. I paid off all the debt and have lived within our income. I eliminated meat. I sold the house and moved onto the sailboat.
I, of course, need some medium of exchange to lubricate my passage through this world. So, I looked for employment that wouldn’t violate my truth. I went to work for a Christian organization and ironically it still follows the ways of the world. I suppose we all do to some degree.
I know a lot of you are probably in some way considered Christian. I won’t go into the politics or religion of it, but Jesus, from all the accounts I can find, had a very simple truth. It has become very complicated. Humans have complicated it. It needn’t be that way. Or does it?
He said, in not so many words, that it doesn’t need to be and, at the same time, it does.
It needs to be complicated so that we, each of us as individuals, have to simplify it for ourselves.
I believe there is an absolute truth. And it’s relative to each of us.
As I navigate my way through this life, I’ve always tried to have an answer to the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?” I always aspired to be a lot of things. An artist. A writer. A photographer. A father. A journalist. A fireman. A scuba diver. A sailor. A runner. A carpenter. An architect. A race car driver. An engineer. A free climber. A veterinarian. A spelunker. A stock broker. And the list goes on and on. A lot of those things I have been and still am. Some of them I have never been and never will be. Others I was, wasn’t, and now am again.
I’m 46 (yeah . . . and all of you that graduated with me are pushing 50 as well . . .) and I’ve found out that I was asking the wrong question. Or rather, I was tricked into asking the wrong question from an early age. I remember writing in one of those childhood memory books the answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It varied from year to year.
What the question should have been was, “WHO do you aspire to be when you grow up?” There’s a subtle distinction.
Who I aspire to be is a person that discovers and lives my truth.
I would love to see others discover and live their truths as well. Living truthfully means, I believe, that the world would be a much better place. Of course, truth implies direction. A heading.
What better symbolizes that than a compass? I needed one to sail. I need one to hike.
So, who do you aspire to be? What’s your heading?
Get out from behind the desk, or the job, or the TV, or the bank account, or whatever is preventing you from discovering it and go find it.