"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." - Steve Jobs
I’ve been unemployed for 106 hours. I’ve spent time sleeping, eating, making food, job hunting, cleaning, running, playing Civilization 5, and drinking way too much Diet Mt. Dew. I’ve also consumed a lot of content on the internet (I watched every episode of The League yesterday, for example).
Tonight, I stumbled across this video of a man who makes kitchen knives by hand. This led me directly to another video of a guy distilling gin on his own, and a 3rd about a woman who is a beekeeper. I also read a somewhat related article discovered by Shawn Blanc that says 20% of the world’s population are chronic procrastinators, and they are less wealthy, less healthy and less happy than those who don’t delay. Another article was about a guy removing email from his phone, so that he can be more focused and enjoy life a bit more. And to top off my evening, my friend Sarah linked me the following image:
When I look at the 4.5 days I’ve been unemployed, I see stagnation. I see minimal creation, beyond the food I made. Sure, some of it is coping. But shit, I couldn’t even pick up the guitar? I had 2 whole days off, plus the weekend, and the only guitar I’ve played is a bit of noodling while talking to a recruiter. There’s 0 creation there, and it’s frustrating.
I even dub those moments we spend consuming quality media content as “creation”, to a degree. Anything I’ve linked to above falls into this category. Twitter and Facebook do not. All the tech blogs in my RSS feed don’t either.
I have an absolutely prime opportunity to completely overhaul my life. My only attachment is to my rent, which I could get out of pretty easily if I wanted to. Everything I own could fit into one of those small U-haul trucks, and I could literally go anywhere in the Continental 491. I could finally live out my dream of going to a big city, to go somewhere warmer, to go somewhere not-Iowa.
But why? What’s my reason for moving? To find another day job and live the American Dream™ some more? What’s the point of that?
I want to create. I want to make music, to build a desk, to write my novel that’s been idling for years, to read all of the 117 books on my bookshelf so I can justify another bookshelf for the 100-some books on my Amazon wishlist. I want to do something that will make a lasting imprint on the world, whether that’s big or small.
I built a house in Mexico back in March of ’04. It’s still there. I helped a family put a roof over their heads, I helped my church in an outreach program… screw it. I built a fuckin’ house. When I think about that now, that’s such a sense of fulfillment. I could drive back down to Nuevo Progresso, go about 1.2 miles south of the border crossing, and on the west side of the road across from the gas station, there’s a 14′x16′ one room blue house still standing there. How neat is that?
I’ve always babied my hands, mostly because of my musical talents. Mom always hated me playing sports, because she was afraid I’d break my fingers2. I’ve cut myself, burnt myself, smashed digits, but I’ve never really worked with my hands a great deal. And that’s a shame. You can look at the hands of elders and see how they’ve been weathered and worn by hard work. My hands might show calluses on the tips from guitar, but that’s about it.
I’m passionate, I’m artistic, and I’m antsy. Don’t get me wrong, sleeping in and vegging out watching some TV is always nice. But as I get older, I realize how much I long to create something. Perhaps that’s why this blog has never died. I’ve thought about killing it off, but something inside makes me keep it around. Probably for moments just like these.
I’ll make you a deal. Yes, you. Think of something you really want to do. Something attainable that just hasn’t been completed, for whatever reason. Got it? Good. Email it to me. Then go do it. I’ll check back with you in a week to see if you’ve got it done, and bust your balls/ovaries if it isn’t.
Your end of the bargain? You come back here next week and listen to a song that I promise to have completed and uploaded for you to enjoy. It probably won’t be much, but it’ll be something. Something tangible, that you can notice with your senses.
Posted: Monday, Sep 3, 2012