Ch 1 – Sinkhole Salad

Bon Appétit Mon Ami –

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I look forward to waking up in the morning.

That wasn’t always true.

Like a lot of folks, I was stuck in the muck of settling. A good-paying job with benefits. I hate that part of my life.

It didn’t matter that I was well regarded at work. I was only acting; playing the role of a competent middle-management corporate slug. My passionless career spanned 30 years with a wicked three-hour daily commute.

I was trapped inside a bowl of rotten lettuce and squishy tomatoes. My professional life had become a Sinkhole Salad and I was one of the stale croutons.

When I noticed the carpet tiles in my office cubicle turning into quicksand, I knew I was sinking fast. When you’re “fucked at 56” it’s time to write your anthem rock song and hit the road.

Thoughts of living in a trailer down by the river had a strange appeal. I concocted escape scenarios that involved selling off personal assets, torching my credit cards, and paying cash for a minimalist lifestyle. My laptop and a bedroll were all I needed.

Then, a miracle.

I had surgery to repair two herniated discs in my neck and was out of work for six weeks.

For the first time in 25 years I was away from my cubicle for more than a two-week period.

I dreaded going back to my desk job – preferring the process of having my neck opened up and two cadaver bones and a metal plate inserted into my spine. This much I knew: there is more to life than pining for another medical procedure.

1985. The year I graduated from college, gave up racing motorcycles, and got a “real job.” The same year my dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter was only visible in the rear-view mirror of my new lease car.

30 years later…

FUCK. I needed a life do-over. Mostly though, I just needed a place to breathe, settle my mind, and reflect on what my life had become. I soon recalled how I used to think big and feel deeply. Back then, the future of limitless possibilities was real – it was marked by time, which I had plenty of.

Hell with all that. I would have settled for traveling back time for just one hour. When I exit my time machine at Anaheim Stadium on December 13, 1975, I would be sitting on my Honda CR 125cc at the starting line before the gate drops. On the evening of the High School Motocross Championship, the only thought entering my mind was getting the “hole shot” to the first turn.

A Legacy of Nurturing My Daughters’ Dreams

My daughter is attending USC’s Thornton School of Music. She is pursuing a career as a film composer. My other daughter works for an interior design firm in San Fransisco and is currently traveling in Spain and Italy for six weeks.

I made damn sure they never settled on a “comfortable career.” Being their role model of what not to do has put them on the road less traveled.

They will likely experience a few pot holes and maybe a ditch or two along the way, but they’ll do just fine. And in another 30 years or so they won’t be looking forward to a surgeon’s knife for a nice long vacation.

I set my career aflame leaving my seat in an office cubicle for a window seat at the corner cafe.

Now every day is balls-out forward motion. Since there are so many new roads to travel, I bought a Harley. What midlife crisis is complete without one?

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Wisdom is Accumulated Courage

I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about the art of living. Make no mistake it is an art and always a work in progress. There are moments of clarity and action mixed with muddled periods of inaction. The “life changers” and “life settlers” that define one’s hopes and dreams.

With the benefit of time, however, I was able to look back and clearly see what caused me to go blind during crucial moments in my life.

The assessment process takes place sometime after the age of 50. This classic mid-life point is a part of our DNA; the severity of which determines the degree of one’s regret. Mine was more pronounced than most.

I quit work to write about it. How irresponsible and fucking cool is that?

I have a bunch of shit to share with you, including how to deal with bullshit in the office and how to throw it for distance on the ranch (seriously, I’ll reveal how I won the Cow Chip Toss Grand Championship). Lucky you.

And so, for hipsters of all ages, I invite you now to climb aboard my writer’s hog. Let’s take this badass ride together!

GO TO: Chapter 2 - Cage of Freedom