Travelling on the dice
Roll the dice
A prelude to adventure - circa 2000's.
When you read these blog entries, you'll probably be wondering: What does this guy do?
The answer is complicated, so I usually do not answer that question. If I do, it always leads to a conversation where it becomes apparent that I do not really know where I will be in a few weeks. Some view that as freedom, others see it as instability. All view it as bizarre.
So, maybe the real question is: How do you do it?
That answer is simple. I do what I do in the moment, because my circumstances reduce my life into a series of moments and I accept that. I live the opposite of the traditional suburban life. Traditional suburban life is structured - and so it provides the routine that affords most people the chance for long term planning. Family, kids, the white picket fence. There is an assumption that most of life will remain the same in those circumstances - in fact, most people depend on this assumption to continue this type of lifestyle. So it is safe to say that plans are based on predictions. As I know that my circumstances are unpredictable, so it follows that I have no plans. My window of existence is defined by my next flight. And my next flight is determined by something that is beyond my direct control.
So my life is geared to objectives. And adaption.
I do appreciate the stability of traditional suburban life. I was there myself. In between my bouts of wanderlust, I studied law, graduated and became an attorney. While denying my urges to explore the exotic and unknown, I became part of the establishment - a cog in the legal system which provides the mortar that cements the bricks of society. I was very good at my profession and I was recognised for it. But it was never for me. I was an exercise in self-denial. Every day, I awoke and put on my mask. Every night, I took it off and convinced myself that I could last just one more day living the expectations of other people.
Until one day...
That day, I woke up and went to my office in the city. It was just another day as part of a dream team. Top shelf firm, top shelf cases, top shelf opportunity. On my desk lay a writ. Yet another case for another faceless corporation against some poor soul that had no chance to defend the action. Another day I was to spend with the feeling that I was selling myself for a pay check.
I remember thinking back to the weekend, to a conversation shared over a 12 year old Chivas in a city yuppie den. It was reminiscent of so many conversations in similar places: “What do you do?” she asked, leaning in towards me, no doubt looking at the Hugo Boss lapels on my suit. “I’m a lawyer” I replied. I watched with well concealed fascination as she instantly became far too interested in our conversation. I barely listened to the next questions. I had heard it all before. I was part of the system. It didn’t matter if I lacked wit, if I was fat, bald or socially obscene. I was status, I was free lunch, I was a snake in the snake pit.
I drifted from those memories back into the flourescent glare of my office in the sky. At the end of that day, after I filed my writ, after I fired the first shot in a battle already won… I had begun to think about where I was for the thousandth time. I had realised that I could see the rest of my life. In that office, with those piles of paper and the victories without feeling. My sanitised life pulled at me like a lodestone then.
That night, I had a pay review. Before I went in to collect my next cheque, I stood in my office and opened my desk draw. Inside was a dice. I was thinking about that dice for weeks. Maybe years. I felt disjointed. I grew up so far from that place, with blue collar mates and shady corner deals. From a factory to a law firm, from a life of being quick with my feet and fists to a world governed by my silver tongue. I was so sick of this lifetime plan. It felt like a lifetime sentence.
The dice was cold in my hand. Heavy. I can remember… my heart beating, blood rushing in my ears. Then I told myself the unthinkable: “odds, I take the pay rise”. “Evens, I walk”.
The dice fell from my hand… it bounced off the desk, twisted in the air, bounced again - numbers whirred in a tortured path. My eyes were closed. When I heard the dice settle I opened them, and the dice had spoken.
No more thoughts. I walked from my ivory tower. I left that place with no plan, no alternative and my bridges burned behind me.
Every day since has been another page in my unwritten destiny. This is the life I choose.
I hope you enjoy the adventure. :o)