Take a Walk

A little more than two years ago, I was seated right where I am now—at a cheap, shaky desk, in my little brother’s room at my childhood home.

And quite a few times in the days in between, I’ve written this post in my head. Every time it comes out a bit too dramatic. A bit too romantic. Sometimes it’s a bit too raw. Other times it’s a bit too scattered.

Today it’s a bit too happening.

I’ve typically been very bad at stream-of-consciousness writing. I don’t think I’m a perfectionist, but something about the way I write has me editing every sentence before it’s written. No, not editing for perfection or grammatical correctness, but editing for my readers (what readers?). It’s probably best said as editing for show.

Anyway, back to the post.

I’ve written this in my head a lot since I sat down in this chair two years ago.

When I first sat here and started typing like I am now…I was on a quest. A quest for joblessness. You know, the ability to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted. That freeeeeeedom. The guttural freedom that Mel Gibson yells for in Braveheart. That’s what I wanted.

Freedom from a day job I didn’t like. The freedom I had yearned for since watching Dead Poets Society and learning about Thoreau. Unconventional freedom. A lazy freedom, a leisurely freedom, a freedom that not many have.

I thought it would be fun to try and get there through weird revenue streams on the internet…and it just so happens I kinda stumbled into something. I started my quest for joblessness just as NFTs started to take off.

Call it serendipity or fate or whatever, but the NFT stumbling brought me both a job and money – money I hadn’t had before and a new type of job that I hadn’t had before, one that ticked many of the boxes required to be considered jobless. You may recall, my quest for joblessness is not actually about being retired or not having a job – it’s just about not having one those jobs – you know the ones I’m talking about.

But here I sit. Two years later. Nearly jobless (in the good way). And I think I finally figured some new stuff out about my life and my quest.

It came together in three parts.

1. What Do I Love?

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this in the last few months. My dog, Baxter, was diagnosed with splenic cancer and doesn’t have a lot of time left. It’s really sad – he’s an awesome dog, and I really love the little guy. He’s been with me my entire adult life – kinda like my first real dog, if you know what I mean.

So anyway, since his diagnosis, I’ve been pretty existential. I’ve done the ‘ole..”what’s the point?” thing a time or two.

It’s led me to question…what are the things I actually love? Like love, love.

I tried to play the game where you just jot down the things that immediately come to mind, certainly, those are the things that are most important, right?

Here are the two buckets that immediately popped up – and things I’d be sad about losing:

  1. Relationships: My girlfriend, family, friends, and pets.
  2. Travel + Experiences

I think that’s where it stops.

If I thought longer and harder, I’m sure more stuff could be on the periphery, but for now, I’m leaving the list as is.

You could strip me bare and leave these two buckets and we’re cool?

2. What’s My Future?

My little brother does this stupid Squidward GIF all the time.

I legitimately don’t know the reference, but I thought it was funny and should be included.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future.

Again, I’ve been ~near jobless~ for a while now. I work wherever I want, sorta whenever I want, a little less whatever I want. All things considered, it’s pretty great and I am definitely appreciative of the opportunity. I’m not looking to leave it anytime soon – at least not on my own accord.

But still I’ve been thinking a lot about my future and the past two years and how those may impact it.

A few things are different now than they were then.

I have more money than I had. I can do more things than I could then because of that.

In the last two years, I’ve made and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars doing dumb shit in a volatile industry. I’ve not done as well as I could or should have. I’ve definitely given back more money than I should have. But the weird part is, my feelings about it are so fleeting. And I think that matters for my future.

Making money is awesome, for like 30 seconds.

Losing money sucks, for like 45 seconds.

I’m desensitized to both outcomes.

And I think it’ll only get worse.

This week I read Packy McCormick’s AppetiZIRP – which explores some potential work futures as AI continues its rise. There is a future in which computers take all our jobs and we peril. There’s a future where computers take all our jobs and we thrive. The tail ends of those spectrums are likely outside my lifespan, but I think I’ll be around for the gradual slide in either direction.

And this only had me thinking more practically about the future and my place in it. It’s likely that I may have the opportunity to continue to do weird stuff for money on the internet, but probably not do exactly what I do now. ChatGPT is coming for me. I can’t write news as well or as fast as my soon-to-be faceless overlords.

As a participant…I’m not sharp enough to out-trade efficient markets. I don’t have enough edge or money or interest to win many of these online games. At least not the ones I’ve played to date.

When I first started I thought I did – but I mainly just think I like discovering stuff, unearthing things that were previously unknown to me – not necessarily the world.

So like, uh, what the fuck?

3. What Story Am I Telling Myself?

The final piece of this muddy puzzle just locked into place tonight when I stumbled into this clip from a former co-worker and burgeoning star podcaster, Danny Miranda.

I’ll let Danny’s guest Nathan Baugh take over.

Writers writer. Podcasters podcast, yeah yeah. It’s a powerful clip and question.

What story are you telling yourself? What is the one thing I’m doing consistently (not much) or that I want to do consistently?

All these questions and issues came together this week. And just now it all smacked me in the face.

So I walked myself through these three blocks. In reverse order those questions are like this:

  • What the hell am I?
  • What’s human about me? What could my future look like? What’s something that the computers can’t automatically do better than me?
  • What do I love and want to do?

I was tempted to ask ChatGPT – but the answer was easier to come by than I expected. And if you’re expecting something grandiose, you’ll be sadly mistaken. I’m a real simpleton.

The common thread isn’t making money on the internet through unconventional means (like I previously thought). The common thread isn’t being a professional tennis bettor (which I once thought). The common thread isn’t dedicating my life to web3 or crypto (which I’m sorta doing now).

Instead, the one thing that checks every box – is literally just taking a walk somewhere new. Yeah, seriously. Just walking around in a place I’ve never previously explored.

How dumb is that? The only thing I REALLY want to do is go to new places and aimlessly stroll. When I think about the times I’ve been happiest in the last two years, it has been aimlessly walking Montreal or Switzerland or New York or Spain.

It’s the one thing that I haven’t wavered on (see also Seesaw Problem).

It’s the one thing I consistently want to do.

It’s the thing I’m most excited about sharing with others.

So what story do I tell myself? Am I a “go-places-and-walk-around-er?”

I guess.

I understand coming to this conclusion is impractical. I can hear you saying “Yeah bud, everyone wants to just fucking travel around the world and walk around and get fat. But it’s not that easy.”

I know it’s not that easy. But finding my one thing that’s future-proof, something the computer’s cant take and something my frequently shifting attention can’t shake – is unquantifiably refreshing.

Plus, at least now I can write some other blog post in my head for the next two years.