Every morning you wake up to being one day older. These days roll into weeks, months, and years. Before you know it, a significant portion of time has passed you by. The question ultimately becomes: Have you been successful in how you spent your time? It all depends on what you value most. Maybe you value spending time with your family and close friends, making money, learning a new skill, or helping others. The most important aspect encompasses the notion that everyone should truly enjoy what they do with their time. They should enjoy it in such a fashion that when they look back at their past, they are fond of the memories. Someday it may be all that really matters. As Pink Floyd once said, “…the memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime…”.
I’ve been actively studying for the CISSP certification exam (a requirement for my job) over the last couple of weeks. So, I’ve spent a significant amount of time reading on the fifth floor (nobody goes up there) of UCF’s main campus library. There really is something magical to be said about an educational atmosphere… I’m not speaking of a high school environment where disgruntled teenagers are stuck in an algebra class all day. I’m referring to a self imposed educational setting where literature is absorbed, friendly debates are convened, knowledge and information are in constant exchange, and people are truly eager to learn. It’s the kind of setting you feel lingering in the air on college campuses around the globe. It’s a conversation in the student union, a study session at the campus library, or two cents over breakfast at the cafeteria. Information is continuously swapped from mind to mind. The aura is contagious, and it shoots a stimulating sensation through your entire body. Just being there, surrounded by people engrossed in expanding their personal knowledge base… it feels so damn healthy. When you’re an undergrad in college you take it all for granted. Then, after you’ve graduated to the next step, you rapidly forget how invigorating education can be. Education is a form of self expansion. It should be an on-going, assiduous process… something many people seem to forget once they achieve their diploma. I’m guilty as charged. But now I realize what I’m missing, and I intend to learn from this oversight. Once I get the CISSP certification under my belt, I will begin to map out my next move.
Progression really is somewhat of a marvel. Everyone strives for some means to an end, yet most of us play it just safe enough to the point where we never exactly have the opportunity to snag the whole pot of gold. Certainly we acquire some of the gold along the way, but we never really thought the whole pot was a realistic option. We seem to be looking forward to the next step, but equally afraid of the risk or change that may result from the required actions. It’s the notion of knowing exactly what needs to be done, but lacking the nerve to do it; the apprehension to your aspirations. As I ramble on… I’m not explicitly referring to any one specific situation in this present moment. I just realize that Angel and I have so many objectives we desire to achieve. Some short term, some long term, and some of which are more complex than others. The end result will never be an issue of whether or not it was possible. The real question is: Are we prepared to get out from under the covers and step into the dark?
When I was 14 years old I had only one prized possession, my skateboard. My neighborhood buddies and I used to tear up the streets of South Miami on our skateboards every day after school and all weekend long. We would practice special jumps and tricks for hours until we had conquered them. On a weekly basis we would skate over to our local skate shop and gawk at all the high end skate decks, trucks (axels), and wheels. Every single time, like clockwork, one of us would start up a debate over the pros and cons to each brand, the best equipment, etc… And it always ended with a short discussion about the perfect “dream board”. We always used to say that someday, when we were rich, we were going to buy the “dream board”. Well, I’m in my mid twenties now, and while I would hardly consider myself to be rich, I could purchase fifty “dream boards” tomorrow. Of course, that’s not really a very compelling dream anymore.
The funny thing is that this shift in paradigms will continue to occur throughout the duration of our lives. What seems like the ultimate goal or dream of today, may not even tickle our fancy one year down the line. Maybe we will achieve the goal sooner then we originally thought, or maybe we will outgrow it all together. I outgrew my skateboard dream… and now ten years later I am again faced with the same dilemma.
When my previous employer offered me an opportunity to return, I was undeniably excited. They basically offered me everything I had yearned for when I was employed there… a damn good salary, a management position, less travel, etc. I only quit because I had pleaded, begged, and waited for some kind of forward movement, but got absolutely no indication that they were even considering it. So, I split and went on to find something that pushed me in a positive direction. Now I’m sitting here six months later and they’re offering me everything that I used to dream about. But I’ve already switched gears, and I’m no longer cruising down the same path. I’ve recently reestablished a new set of goals, and I find myself walking away from yet another dream… only because I’ve reset the bar higher and now dream of something greater. Here’s to the next step…
What would you do if you were in your mid-twenties and had to choose between two awesome job opportunities? What if one was located in Boston and the other one was in Orlando? What if one left you standing on the field next to Randy Moss during an NFL football game, while the other had you working on computer security for the Presidential Helicopter? What if one required you to give up 55 hours of your life every week, but the other one monotonously made you feel like you had worked 55 hours a week? What if one filled your time with exotic intangible benefits, while the other promoted paid education and promotion? What if one permitted you to interact with clients in a t-shirt and jeans, while the other made you dress up to sit in an office chair for 8 hours? What if colleague camaraderie was packaged with industry instability and tedious work environment was tied to elite job title? What if one made sense right now, but the other one was more practical in the long term? Would you live for now or prepare for later? We flew from Orlando to Boston in a desperate attempt to answer these questions. We will be in Boston for the next 48 hours…