(The picture that changed my life. From Chad Howse’s “10 Awesome Things.”)
So this is my 100th post. I almost missed it. I was part way through a different article before I realized that it would be my 100th. I don’t typically place much importance on numbers, but I figured I’d set it aside and lay down some different thoughts instead.
Thoughts about purpose. About opportunity.
A Little Backstory
I’m an unlikely blogger. It’s only through odd chance that A Call to Action even came about in the first place. In fact, it’s so fucking far outside my norm that I sometimes wonder if I made the decision, or if it was made for me.
Believe it or not, I’m actually a very private quiet guy. I don’t like talking about myself and I despise being the center of attention. Can you believe that shit?
I hate emotional crapola.
Furthermore, I’m not much of a writer. Blogging is writing. Whether it comes natural to you or not, you’re gonna have to write. Well, I flunked out of high school English class and was tossed into the remedial course. “Stupid person English” as it was so kindly referred to.
Yet here I am, writing all the same.
And since I’m trying to convince you why it’s so unlikely that I should’ve ever taken up blogging, I might as well add that I live in a barn and had no internet access when I made the decision. I don’t even have a TV.
So how does a guy who lives in a barn and has no TV or internet access come to blogging?
To keep a long story short (or make a boring story more interesting), let’s just say that I stumbled upon the right picture at the right time. The picture at the top of this post.
At the time, I was struggling to find meaning. Meaning in my work, meaning in my actions . . . meaning in life.
I was struggling to find purpose.
When I happened upon that picture everything just clicked. I can’t really describe it, but it was pretty fucking amazing. That picture represented all that I was searching for.
Direction. Purpose. Freedom.
It represented a self-determined life as I’d never seen it before.
I knew what I had to do.
I grabbed my old dusty laptop and started writing. It would be two months before I managed to get internet access, but in those two months I wrote almost every night. By the time I was finally ready to go live, I had over 20 articles written and ready to publish.
I meant business.
And though I started this site as a health and fitness blog (as you can tell from my outdated “About” page), I quickly discovered that I had other shit to say. More important shit.
So I said it.
I’ve been saying it ever since . . .
Blogging as a Means to Opportunity
I started blogging because I was stuck. Even though I knew I should be happy – after all, I lived in a little red barn out in the country and had a great new job in the tech industry – I felt stuck all the same.
Something just wasn’t right. The novelty of my new (and first ever) office job was wearing off and I was beginning to realize that I’m not an office kinda guy. I’ve always worked hard physical blue collar jobs. My previous job was as an artisan bread baker. It was my passion . . .
Until I became burnt out.
Burnt myself out, if I’m to be honest.
So there I was with my new cush office job, finally standing over on the grass I’d always looked at from afar. And sure enough, it wasn’t so green as I thought. There might’ve even been a turd underfoot.
Because I’m just not cut out for office life. And when I finally came to that realization it was too late . . . I was stuck. Lost.
What the hell am I gonna do now?
I could see the next 30 years of my life . . . every day of it exactly the same. Wake up early so I can do a few little things that I want to do (not many though — not enough time), go to the office, put on my cheery smile – pretend all is well – then sit there at my desk, eyes drying out from the climate controlled air, just staring at my dual monitor screen for the next 8 hours.
Doing work that meant nothing to me.
Just manipulating digital data all day long. Hands getting softer day by day. Ass melting away by the second.
Then finally, at the end of the day, dragging my weary self home to eat some dinner and maybe read a few pages from a book before I fell asleep on the couch. Another day wasted. Gone forever.
With nothing to show for it.
Yep, I was just another tamed chump, trading my soul for a paycheck. From here on out that was going to be my life . . .
Unless I made a change. A real change. Something drastic.
Because the only way out of a cage is to smash that fucker to pieces.
That’s when I happened upon that picture of Chad’s desk. It pointed the way. Blogging was so different, so alien, from anything I’d ever done . . . it was just what I was looking for.
The Hidden Truth About Blogging
Let me tell you what blogging represents. It represents opportunity. I understood that intrinsically before I ever even began. Go back and read my “About” page if you haven’t read it before. Just skip to the last section, “Why I started this Blog” . . . it’s ok, I won’t take it personally.
As you can see, I was looking for change. Is it any surprise then that I soon began writing about change in addition to all the fitness stuff?
Blogging represented change and opportunity. And once I laid eyes on that opportunity, I began to see all the other opportunity out there as well. It was everywhere; I just couldn’t see it before. I didn’t have to follow the same path as everyone else. I didn’t have to be a tame little office pet for the rest of my days.
I could make my own fucking life.
So here’s the secret about blogging, the hidden truth: it changes you.
Writing forces you to reevaluate your thoughts and what it is that you actually value. What you hold dear. It makes you question your actions – put them to the test. Because if you’re not livin’ what you’re preaching, then you’re just another two-faced hypocrite.
I’ve railed against office life before. But I’ve never written about how to escape it. I couldn’t because I hadn’t.
Well now I have.
And it came as a direct result from blogging. But not in the way I anticipated.
I wrote a post a while back . . . “A Decade of Baking — and the 12 Lessons it Taught Me About Living with Extraordinary Passion.” It’s still one of my most popular articles. It chronicled both the glorious beginning of my bread baking career . . . and how I sadly ruined it by turning my back to the opportunities it presented me.
Yeah, there’s a good reason I write so much about opportunity – I’ve spent most of my life willfully blind to it.
Anyway, after I wrote that post it reawakened something in me. That passion . . . I could feel it again. Actually fucking FEEL it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I started having dreams about baking. Not just one here and there, but almost every damn night for a month straight.
It’s because writing that post reminded me of who I am. And who I am is a far fucking cry from what I’d been living.
From that point on, I knew I needed to return to baking. I just didn’t know how. I didn’t want to become stuck again in a dead-end job. I didn’t want to approach baking with the same mindset that I’d ruined it with previously.
So I approached it differently. I approached it as the changed person that I am. I realized that I needed one thing above all else to make it work this time . . . I needed a bakery where I could learn. A bakery that could fuel my passion . . . help it burn even brighter than it had once before.
A bakery run by a master.
And I found it.
So What’s Next?
Forgive me for omitting so many details from this post. They’ll be fleshed out in future posts. And you may notice a foray into some new themes.
How do we find meaning?
What is purpose?
Does our job represent who we are?
What’s the truth about opportunity?
Can we really “write our own story” as they say?
These are topics I’ve been thinking about practically non-stop ever since I decided to return to baking.
And as usual, I’ve got plenty to say on the matter.
And to everyone that’s been a part of this amazing blogging journey so far, I just want to shout a big “Thank You!” You’ve made this more fun and memorable than I could’ve ever imagined.