Mar 222011

Recently I had a young lady out for a paddleboard lesson and tour.  As we were paddling amoungst the mangroves we got to talking about minimalism.  Seems she was about to make a major career change.  She had come down to Florida from the great white north as part of a relocation offer for the corporation she was working for.  A chance to work in the warmer climate of the Sunshine State is always a good incentive.  Now she was getting ready to go back north.  She had soured on the whole corporative lifestyle with all it’s politics, back stabbing, and petty squabbles.  (No mention of upside down dollar bills)  She wanted to get out of the corporate world and pursue her own dreams.  There would be risks of course, no more steady paychecks, no benefits, at least not in what would be considered a conventional sense.  And she was getting a lot of pressure from family members to reconsider and continue what they believed was the “correct” way to live her life.

Far be it from me to give career counseling to anyone, but all I can say to her is that you cannot let anyone ever tell you what you should be doing or not doing with your life.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, has that right.  Not parents, not spouses, no one.  There is no real right or wrong when it comes to career moves, except perhaps if you are planning on moving to a tall building with a high powered rifle and a bottle of liquor, but in terms of what you want to do with your life, you can’t let others influence you into doing what they think is the “right” thing.  And besides, what exactly is the “right” thing.

A wise man once said something that I will never forget.  These words will be etched into my brain until I am gone.  He said. “Always…..(wait. that ain’t it),  “Never forget that you are where you are because of the combined effect of all the decisions you have make in your life.”  You cannot blame anyone for what has happened in your life nor can anyone take credit for your current state.  Good or bad, it is all because of the decisions you have made.  It’s real easy to blame someone else when things go bad but in reality you made the decisions that got you there.  By the same token, if you have done something and succeeded beyond your wildest dreams, you can sit back and say, “I did that.”  You may have had help along the way, but you made the decisions that put that process in motion.

To the young lady heading back north all I can say is consider your decisions carefully.  Weigh the good and the bad.  From a minimalist point of view, making a major career change is a lot easier.  No property to worry about, no family members will be affected, You may well fail at what you want to do.  I failed more times than I can remember.  But I’m still here, plugging away.  And it’s no one else’s concern as to whether I did right or wrong.  The point is to not let anyone prevent you from doing what you want.  The only opinion of you that matters is the one you have of yourself.  Make your life happen, don’t just let it happen to you.  Don’t look back on your life and regret what you didn’t do because others told you not to, look back and be proud of what you did do, because you made the decisions to do them.

The Fritter