Pre-AT Good Badger would be lecturing on some sort of New Year’s Resolution path toward mastery right about now. My feelings toward goals haven’t changed. They’re the single most important factor for creating success. Instead, my preoccupation with success has taken a backseat to happiness. Success without happiness is hollow. It’s a car without an engine. A basketball hoop without a ball. A chimi without a changa.
The key to happiness is appreciation. So I will instead take this opportunity to reflect back and share what most contributed to my happiness in 2014, which can be quite simply be summarized that…
I love what I do.
Back in March I jumped off a career cliff and quit my (very good) job. I was lost. Thankfully prior experience has taught me that uncertainty can be as beneficial as it is terrifying. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t know (namely how I was going to make ends meet), I turned my attention to what I did know.
1) I had zero passion for my career.
2) I again felt a calling toward the AT.
This time not on foot, but online. Interacting with those who were hellbent on hiking the AT served as a time capsule back to this emotionally dense chapter in my own life. The incredible opportunities I’ve been given as a result of my hike and this website is something I wanted to give to others. Without knowing how, I set out to make this happen.
Fast forward nine months, and my life is perfect. I’m super rich. I work at most thirty minutes per week. And I travel more than Ronnie Brewer.
Okay that’s not totally true. I still struggle to make ends meet. I work six (or seven) days most weeks. And I regularly go more than 24 hours without leaving my apartment.
That unsavory picture aside, the past year has been superb. AppalachianTrials.com has grown into an award winning outdoor website, and this is supported by quite possibly the world’s greatest community. I’m also well underway with another project that I’m still keeping locked in my secret² dungeon (a dungeon of secrets whose location is also a secret).
But for the purpose of this post, awards / dungeons are irrelevant.
What matters is that: (a) I sincerely enjoy what I do and (to a way lesser extent, but still necessary) (b) I’m confident I won’t be dangerously poor come this time next year. The interesting part is that (b) will happen because of (a), not the other way around. Even with working too much (admittedly, it’s too much), the days don’t drag, I don’t live for the weekend, and most importantly, I’m not dreaming of my next big opportunity. I’m living it.
Are you willing to live yours?
Your happiness for the following year may very well be wrapped in that answer.