Year One of Freedom

2년 전


Me for most of my adult life.

Today marks exactly one year since I took the leap from my career of twenty-three years to work for myself. 10.13.17 will forever be emblazoned in my memory as the day I was reborn.

These past 365 days have been filled with new experiences, lessons, tons of hard work, and an immense amount of fun. A lot of this new life was foreign to me, there have been a few things I’ve had to unlearn.

I was raised in an extremely routine-driven household in which you could almost set your watch by the daily schedule of. At the age of eighteen I was thrust into a full-time job that began at 6am and ended at 2:30pm with two fifteen minute breaks and thirty minutes for lunch. The career then blossomed into a succession of jobs with similarly rigid schedules.

As a result, if I were to have to choose a single thing that’s taken the most adjustment it would be the fluidity of a non-structured workday. Thankfully, it’s this rigid schedule that seems unnatural and foreign to me now. The budget was usually always tight, savings meager, and the "safety net" of consumer credit was used frequently to stay afloat. This equated to a life of modern day serfdom.

Taking that initial leap into the void of the unknown was the most frightening thing I've ever done (much more frightening than bungee jumping). Developing the HardFork IP, full on, with @dougkarr and @bakerchristopher (and many more talented team members) over the past year has been one of the most personally and professionally rewarding things I’ve ever done. I've grown in ways I never imagined. Life now moves quickly and it's imperative to be flexible and open to all possibilities. In this world if you don't know how to do something, you learn it.


Doug, Chris, and I during one of our NYC writing sessions (yes, Chris really IS that tall).

There are still occasions when I’m walking Amstel (our beagle) in the middle of the afternoon or my wife and I are in a vacant restaurant, when the rest of the world is at work, and I can’t believe that this is my life. These are the moments that make you feel as though you're merely an observer of the world. Watching the ebb and flow of humanity act out their daily routines, you wish you could convince them there was another way.

I see so many people walking around with dead eyes. I want to tell these people that the things that fill them with a spark of energy and positivity are probably a road map to their life's purpose and they should pursue those things at any cost. The frustrating thing is people have to come to this realization on their own.

I had lunch with some of my old work team a couple of days ago. It had been a year since we'd seen one another but so much had taken place that it felt like many more years had passed. After lunch I got a guest pass and stepped foot into the office space that I occupied for way too many years. Now, this place felt foreign...kind of like I pressed pause on 10.13.17 and then pressed play a year later. Not a whole lot had changed.


My "retirement" send off from 10.13.17. No corporate office celebration is complete without some form of sweet pastry.

It truly was great to see many of the people I spent most of my waking hours with for upwards of two decades. As I made my rounds, people peppered me with questions about what life was like on the other side. I wanted to tell them in a way that would truly convey the marrow of it but the right words somehow failed me.

I'm convinced that everyone has talent in something and a life of unimaginable freedom, exhilaration, fulfillment, and joy lies just on the other side of their fears. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to just push people through.

Thanks for reading,

Eric

(Gif sourced from Giphy.com)


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*I am an American novelist, poet, traveler, and crypto-enthusiast. If you’ve enjoyed my work please sign up for my author newsletter at my website. Newsletter subscribers will receive exclusive updates and special offers and your information will never be sold or shared.
My book on meditation, The Perfect Pause, is priced at $12.99 (paperback) and $4.99 (eBook). Buy the paperback and receive the eBook for free!

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Well done on your first year of freedom and the new you.

I threw the towel in on work 12 years ago and it was such a freeing experience. Once you realise that life isn't all about work and that you can manage. The day to day pressure just disappears.

When i watch people now i fee like i'm on the outside looking it at this bubble world or the matrix. It not always been easy but i would never go back. I love my freedom too much

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"When i watch people now i fee like i'm on the outside looking it at this bubble world or the matrix. It not always been easy but i would never go back." It's so accurate how you described this. When you step away from that world it truly feels like you're an outsider, looking in.

The sweet taste of FREEDOM! ... and office pastries.

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Mmmm, pastries. : )

Ah, I remember your last day, Eric (well, from afar, obviously) - back then you were just that dude who quit his job and is doing something cool (I was very young here). And now I'm so glad that a year on, you're good, you made it and that you're happy.

I wanted to tell them in a way that would truly convey the marrow of it but the right words somehow failed me.

This is so chilling....like you're talking about a prison, which I guess in a way you are. You're an infinitely cool dude, sir.

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Thanks @honeydue! Very keen observation on your part, it is a prison, but a self-imposed one. Human resource departments within corporations have a systematic way of making employees feel as if you should be thankful to give your best years to their company and be grateful for mediocre compensation. They prey on people's fear of the unknown and poor self-esteem. The younger generations (like you) are waking up to this in a major way and it's amazing to watch.

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Well, at least they have a place in society, you know? they can hold their head up high and say "i work for X" and be proud of the good little minions they are.

The younger generations (like you) are waking up to this in a major way and it's amazing to watch.

Why do you say that? :O

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Right, the situation does give people a place in society and as long as they're happy and satisfied it's a good thing. I encountered a lot of people who were miserable in the situation though. Entrepreneurship definitely isn't for everyone.

Congratulations on your successful and life-changing year!
I love your story and am very inspired by it since I and my husband always have been living the life on the other side, but we went through some very hard times so now we are doing both worlds for a while and hopefully really soon we can just get to the other side (we give another year or two) because we are still working hard both worlds since we always believed in working for ourselves and doing what we love and not staying in a job where you only live pay cheque to pay cheque, hating it, not being appreciated and the system never changes.

We also try to make our family see and jump into the other side, but nobody is listening and it is sometimes just to hard to explain since the fear and comfort zone is stopping them to even try jumping to the other side. And like you said, we feel like just pushing them over to the other side, but instead they all think we are crazy.

I am so very happy for you @ericancewalton and I really appreciate you sharing this amazing story with us.

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Thank you @joalvarez! Sorry to hear about the hard times but I'm glad you guys are working through it. It's frustrating to try to convince others to make the transition. Some see the light, others don't. I think a lot of it has to do with how risk-averse you are. What people don't think about is how incredibly risky it is to work for someone else. I wish you and your husband good luck in this next year!

Taking a leap into the unknown after such a long time will definitely be relatively strange and different, sometimes it's always very difficult to explain, I can imagine how you feel, finally taking that leap of faith really, and I must congratulated you on the successful stories and fulfilment. Cheers!!!

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Thank you my friend!

Excellent review, my friend, and I congratulate you on the anniversary of a free life, a life of new opportunities and prospects! You are right, many of us and I, including not long ago, lived as mummies, went to work, performed daily duties, and only with the advent of croptography did changes occur for us. I am sure that will continue to be even better! Thank you Eric

@ericvancewalton hello dear friend congratulations on the great step you have taken
I know that feeling I also opted for the same decision after 32 years of working under a dependency relationship, I left the system to live on the web.
It is not a question of work, since now I work many more hours than before, I have work days of 18hs, I share publications in five platforms a day, but this is an election, tomorrow I have the freedom to take the day if I want, etoy All day with my family and that is priceless.
I understand everything that you transmit to us, it is a unique sensation.
Thank you very much for sharing this experience, I wish you a happy year of autonomy
have a great weekend

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Thank you for your comment! I probably work more than I did before too but it doesn't feel as draining. As you say, having the freedom to design your own schedule is so worth the sacrifice.

Just reading these words is inspirational enough to me. I have been working towards that very goal. Thanks!

I am so happy for you and have also followed you. My husband, @jbreheny and I did the same thing earlier this year. Yes, it is scary, but so worth it in the end. We are living full time in our RV and traveling the US.

Congratulations!

I am so very happy for you @ericvancewalton and I really appreciate you sharing this amazing story with us.

It's a beautiful feeling @ericvancewalton! I moved to Minneapolis in 2010 with every intention of working at Allina medical. In Pennsylvania, I worked at a psychiatric hospital for 7 year and I have two degrees. I thought it would be easy to get a job here. I never even got as far as an interview and when the money started drying up, I just started walking in to local businesses in uptown and pitching my photography, graphic design, illustration or whatever they'd pay me for. After a couple years or that, I realized I'd actually fallen in to a workable [...albeit barely] freelance career. Things are much easier now, and Steemit has been a watershed development in the quality of life improvement, but it's the real freedom I feel people long for. Man, your quote about "people with dead eyes" really resonated with me. I only had a chance to meet you that one afternoon, but within our @caffetto group, that's one of the things I love most about company like @mada and @lovejoy. They're always excited about some crazy project or initiative. Great post!

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Thank you, @kommienezuspadt! There are abundant jobs here but they are increasingly more difficult to get. This all played into the anxiety of stepping away from the job. I knew there was no possible way I could ever get that job back if I needed to, especially at 47 years old. I'm happy to hear you found a way and it's the better path, for sure. Steemit is a mecca and magnet for the kind of people who will thrive in this new world. I appreciate your comment!

Hi there Eric, I've been away from here for a while and thought I'd check in on a few of my favourite Steemians. I was so pleased to read this post and totally impressed with 'Hardfork'.

To use your own words-

I'm convinced that everyone has talent in something and a life of unimaginable freedom, exhilaration, fulfillment, and joy lies just on the other side of their fears. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to just push people through.

This resonated with me completely. If one can find the courage to leap into the unknown, and confront one's fears, all the very best that life has to offer is indeed just the other side.

Thanks for sharing this my friend and as always, all the best

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So good to see you back @handsolo and I appreciate you stopping by and commenting! What have you been up to? All the best to you and yours!

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Thanks Eric, it's been months of re-habilitattion and not much else. Glad to be back :D

Thank you for sharing your personal experience. inspiring​.

I love this so much. I am currently trying work to work for myself I guess you could say haha. Thanks so much for writing this is was very inspirational!

Most people on earth can't taste the sweetness of real freedom . You are very lucky person. Enjoy dear

I am so glad you had the strength to walk away from a steady job. I understand, I left my 23 year career in the graphic arts. Wife, 3 kids .... 4 weeks paid vacation 401-k etc. The best thing I ever did. Most people do walk around “ dead.”

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Thanks, @silvertop! I'm glad you had the strength to walk away and be reborn.

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It was the best thing I ever did!!! :)

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Same here! It's like when you take the leap the universe says, "Okay, you are serious...here are some opportunities."

Nice story ,great sir....

Thank you very much for sharing with us your personal experience

I'm still at the grind. But I can go to work for myself whenever I choose. I just haven't been able to pull the plug yet. Kudos for stepping out without a net. Hopefully Hardfork will make everything worthwhile.

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Thank you @coldsteem! It's nice that you have the flexibility of both right now.

Now your are free from fix time job , enjoy the sweet taste of freedom .
These are very motivational lines

I see so many people walking around with dead eyes. I want to tell these people that the things that fill them with a spark of energy and positivity are probably a road map to their life's purpose and they should pursue those things at any cost. The frustrating thing is people have to come to this realization on their own.

Your gify is describing the reality of most peoples life. Now your are free from this cage . Enjoy your every moment. Nice article dear .

Keep discovering the best of you a long way to go :)

Congrats on the 1 year anniversary of being your own boss. I know it feels good. Thanks for the post and keep rocking it @ericvancewalton

Very inspiring and it takes guts to do it! It's been 14 years for me now, good luck on your journey!

Very good writing skills, i learnt a lot from this!