Banished, Part 2

G.D. left this comment on the previous post:

> There are many brave people who just pick up and go for their dreams…is that the secret to achieve greatness??…Fearless belief in one’s dreams?

Not that I actually know anything about the mysteries of living, but yeah, that’s the secret. There’s more to it, though.We all get to roll the dice in life. We are not limited by the rules as to how many times we can roll them, but we have to live with the results each time. So let’s say you’re Bill Gates and you and your buddy Paul purchase the rights to a computer operating system (DOS) for $10,000, because they love working with computers and software. Paul geeks around with it in his garage for a while, and you go to IBM to see if maybe they’d like to license it for their new “personal computer.” Turns out they not only want to license it, but they decide they will not restrict the patents on their machine, thus allowing everybody and his Dutch uncle to build PC clones, all of which need a copy of your operating system. Millions of machines in just a few years, and you are getting thirty bucks for every one of them. Whatever you (Bill) had to do to get that initial ten grand, your roll of the dice has paid off.

But if any number of lucky things had not happened, Bill and Paul would simply be out ten thousand dollars. They would be free to try again, of course, as many times as they wanted, but each time the money would be harder to get, and they would have a little less youthful exuberance. Maybe one of their rolls would work out, and maybe not. You can see that doing what they love to do is no guarantee of success. In this case IBM had to cooperate big time.

We all get the same opportunity to roll. Some are better prepared or bankrolled by their parents, or they happen to try something that they are really good at, or they’re just plain lucky. Some roll craps the first time out, and have to roll again. Some roll craps enough times that they have no heart, no money and no time left to roll again.

Often they have taken on more responsibilities in their lives. They have a car payment, rent or mortgage, maybe some kids to feed and care for. If the dice haven’t been breaking for them, at some point they simply must stop thinking about whatever the fuck it is they love to do, and get a job with a steady paycheck. You know what we all think of those who don’t, right? We think they are lazy, stupid, cheating bums.

Trouble is, these steady paychecks usually are not attached to dream careers. Most of the time they are not careers at all, even though you end up doing them for the rest of your life. They are just useless, boring time-wasters, functions that must be done in order for some store or restaurant or office or landfill to stay in business. Not everybody in these jobs is a dull schlump, either, so don’t go jumping to that conclusion. You’ll often find fine, creative folks doing crummy jobs, because they can’t bring themselves to keep dreaming up new lifequests and rolling again and again, because they can no longer afford to take the chances they could when they were just starting out, because others are depending on them now, or because they simply can’t put together a head of steam to make another run, or because they have been burned once too often, and they need to play it safe.

Fearless belief in your dreams is the main ingredient. It makes you willing to do anything to see them fulfilled. But you gotta be lucky with the dice, too.

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32 Replies to “Banished, Part 2”

  1. Yeah, I agree that separate isn’t completely the way to go, either–that’s why I don’t head for the hills, or a commune (I’d SOOOO suck at that) or something, or it’s part of why, anyway. People have a harder time changing, challenging the Jag mentality, if they don’t have any alternatives in front of them. (I know that I’ve served as such an alternative for a few people along the way.)

  2. That was a waste of time! I got the royal brush-off … and I had the nerve to push it even when I knew it was all over.

    Larry, you were right. He was flummoxed to the point of fidgeting with his cuffs and flipping through his calendar over and over again.

    Now he’ll feel awkward every time he sees me because he knows that I know he’s one of them. Time for me to get a new job. Crap! What a drag.

  3. Yes, I suppose you are right. But, in my same heart, I have a very active imagination. I naively imagined that it was possible for one person to be creative and thoughtful about solving complicated, long-term problems.

    Silly fussy-headed, idealistic me.

    Maybe I should have come to the meeting with cookies.

  4. Goldie – In our commune, I’d be glad to milk the cows and churn the butter, as long as you’d make the buttery, flaky pastries every morning. Is there a coffee roaster who’d like to join us?

  5. Larry: We can just get our coffee from Alterra (in Milwaukee), unless there’s someone out there who enjoys getting transdermal highs from doing their own roasting. And my pastry isn’t flaky yet, though it IS buttery (how could it be anything else, given the amount of butter we’re using?)

    Theresa, I wish I could give you my current boss (or my last one, for that matter). My current boss has been extremely supportive of my going half time so I can pursue a completely different career path, and he completely gets how wrong I am for what my job should be long-term. (Basically, it would involve managing paper, at which I suck and which bores me to tears.) We’ve been able to avoid crushing boredom mostly because we’re very small and everyone has to do a million different tasks, which is the kind of environment in which I thrive. Anyway, I’m sorry it worked out that way for you.

  6. Wow, there is so much to read in these posts today! I just want to add that I am currently in a job I enjoy very much, making a pretty decent living, but I got here by throwing caution to the wind, leaving my job and my house and moving across country to San Diego with no job and no prospects. It was scary and hard and somehow it has turned out to be the best thing I ever did. I dragged two kids, one dog, and one cat with me, and the kids agree that our lives are better for taking the risk. That was 14 years ago. My two cents. 🙂

  7. yeah, but it turns out I’m a risk-averse evenly right- and left-brained artist, so I’ll leave all the crazy-ass shenanigans to the musicians. Now they’re nuts.

  8. the key is to have a steady paycheck while pursuing your dreams outside your regular job, but then you just don’t have enough time for anything….

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