RED: Heywood, enough. Ain’t nothing wrong with Brooksie. He’s just institutionalized, that’s all.
HEYWOOD: Institutionalized, my ass.
RED: Man’s been here fifty years. This place is all he knows. In here, he’s an important man, an educated man. A librarian. Out there, he’s nothing but a used-up old con with arthritis in both hands. Couldn’t even get a library card if he applied. You see what I’m saying?
FLOYD: Red, I do believe you’re talking out of your ass.
RED: Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. After long enough, you get so you depend on ’em. That’s “institutionalized.”
JIGGER: Shit. I could never get that way.
ERNIE: Say that when you been inside as long as Brooks has.
RED: Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that’s just what they take. Part that counts, anyway.
From the great movie The Shawshank Redemption
I saw myself becoming that way. I saw my kids growing up in that institution, it was time to take a radical step…. That step was to quit our jobs, sell our house, sell most of our stuff, and go nomad.
June again, crap, the time where we had to write down what we think we can get accomplished the next year, which led to career discussions and answering the question “where do you see your career going here”. Every year I think the same thing… though I don’t always admit to it….. What I really thought was…. I don’t really care, I just want to do interesting stuff that has some meaning, some impact…
One of the hardest questions for me to answer was . ‘What do I want? What is meaningful? What has impact?’… It was hard because my frame of reference was too narrow. The view was toward career advancement and financial success, the ego, the house, the cars, the stuff. Blindly following along because it’s what we all do… right? But as much as I like money, a big house and stuff to put in it, it weighs on me. And as much as I like the recognition, the ego boost, the status that comes with working for a Fortune 100 company, it’s not intrinsically what I want. I want what I have always wanted, to do interesting and meaningful things and have enough money to have some choice, some options for our lives. To live my values. To be the example of the lessons I am trying to teach my kids. I don’t necessarily want to do what it would take be an executive in a large company – and yes it has taken me years to get the courage to admit this out loud.
I am not ungrateful. I fully appreciate all that I have: family, friends, faith. I fully appreciate all that I had: an income that paid the bills plus a little extra, a job I didn’t hate and actually enjoyed, the company which really did provide a lot of opportunity. On this planet, in this economy that’s more than most…. But at the risk of sounding incredibly selfish and ungrateful. I have gotten close enough to the wizard, I have discovered that having some money, having security, having a big house with lots of stuff is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
The Solution: Change the frame of reference. I needed to Stand on the Desk .
So… Warrior Princess and I quit our jobs, sold most of our stuff and went nomad. This will be the ultimate forcing function to prioritize time with family over money, experiences over stuff, fun over the rat race.
This blog will be the exploration of those principles, the process, the metrics, and the particulars of my experience. Hopefully there are others out there that will find it helpful.