May 22, 2010 by vinylburns
Where are you going in life?
I see so many people trundling around with their lives, following the caboose in front of them, passing destination after destination, oblivious to anything that lies beyond those vocational stations that whistle past in the night.
For some of us, our calling was obvious from the beginning, but literally millions of people on this planet are seemingly unable to make a vaguely interesting or even life enhancing detour, for fear of derailing their personal cosmos.
When you start your journey through life, you must have some idea where you wish to end up, and develop a plan to get there. If you’re wanting to get to New York, you jump on the East Coast train… reversely, it’s no good taking the London Underground if you want to get to Brisbane.
I’m always amazed that so many kids show up in the world with their duffel bags jammed full of business school and hutzpah, ready to embark upon a daring adventure on the highways and byways of the world, only to end up with a lifetime pass on the suburban loop, doomed to circle around and around a city they don’t even want to arrive in.
This is a tragic wasted lifestyle mistake, and I won’t stand by watching a generation ride the dangerously rusted tracks of endless spiraling despair. So, pay attention to these simple metaphorical illustrations, and I will show you, yes YOU the solution.
First, “Buy a ticket”. Invest in your future, put some actual money in the game, undertake a written agreement to arrive at your chosen destination. When you “but a ticket” to your new life, you’re taking control and letting the world know that you have a plan, a goal, a journey ahead of you… Just make sure it’s a train ticket… buses are for dirty poor people, plus it doesn’t really sit well with all the analogies I’ve written if you take the bus.
“Buy some snacks”. Some snacks, a blanket and a magazine. There’s a lot of track ahead of you in life, so be prepeard for the journey, with information, sustainence, and warm clothes. Sure, there’s usually a restaurant car near the front, but it’s over priced and full of smoke.
“Get a good seat”. Do you want to live your life with a half view, squabbling with your neighbour for the arm rest, and playing angry footsie with the clumsy kid with a hair-lip opposite you?
No Sir! So get yourself a good seat in life, and scatter your junk all around, make some grunting noises so you can scare off any prospective neighbours, before they cramp your lifestyle and ask for some of your chips. If misery loves company, then you’ll love being alone!
“Face forward”. I know that sitting backwards is statistically a lot safer, and it’s going to save your life if you end up on the section of track controlled by the manic depressive autistic train controller who’s been out all night drowning the guilty shame of this recently handicapped girlfriend, all of which caused him to lose focus and route two high speed commuter trains onto the same line resulting in a 380km/h explosion of British steel and bones.
But hey, what are the odds of you taking THAT train? So, face forward and enjoy the view as your beautiful gleaming future comes speeding toward you. Now, when your long awaited destination comes rising over that horizon like a spectacular Jupiter moonrise, you’ll be in total control.
Even as it dawns on you that there’s no scheduled stop, you’re facing forward, embracing whatever comes, so you’ll know exactly when to jump.
“When you’re close, be ready”. As you approach your destination, be prepared to disembark quickly and cleanly. Always have a hand free in life. Maybe you’ll take that advice literally, and find it handy for passing out business cards or opening the door for ladies… Maybe you’ll take the advice figuratively, and ensure that you’re never so over committed that you can’t take on a new venture or take a moment to dwell on a proposition when it’s offered.
Trust me, you’ll want a clean table when dinner is served and without a free hand, how are you going to check for dust? So, be cool, be together, but don’t be a dick.
“Don’t be a dick*”. As you approach your destination, you’ll see one or two “dicks*” racing to the end of the carriage, chomping at the bit to be the first out into their new life. In real life, these are the guys who will make the mistakes you’re going to learn from, and it’s much more fun to learn someone else’s lesson. So while they’re up the front, getting off at the wrong station, or accidentally going into the toilets, thinking it’s the exit… write a little note-to-self: Don’t be a dick*.
*Departure Indicates Chaos Knocking
“Grab your bags”. Arriving in an exotic new locale, it will be tempting to tear off the metaphorical clothes of your previous existence and sprint recklessly out to roll around in the diamond encrusted streets of your new wonderland, with the sun warming your back and your reassuring weight of your entrepreneurial portfolio in your free hand. Be careful to avoid actually doing this.
Instead, collect your luggage, and gently build the inventoried contents into your new world, paint the streets of this waiting frontier canvas with the pastel shades you pictured back when you set out on this journey.
“Ignore the schedule”. You don’t want to be one of the happy holiday crowd, following the tour guide of life around the the mini golf course of career stagnation to the 19th hole of broken, lonely death. So forget the schedule… and pull the emergency stop in the middle of bum-fridge central! Nobody’s been there… but it’s where genius is built. Watch those wagons roll away into the distance, leaving you with your bag of hopeful dreams, a collection of other people’s lessons, an appreciation for your own company, and a cool calm read on a brave new world.
I haven’t spelled out all the answers, and I’ve likely presented you with more questions… but questions make you ask, and asking makes you wise. Wisdom makes you old, and age make you rich.
So, all aboard the Life Train™