Monday, May 19, 2014

Why Life Resets Matter

The famous Austin Motel in Austin, Texas
Photo: Flickr/Charles Henry
I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about hard resets.

This month's issue of Wired includes an article titled 'No Exit', a depressing tale of start up Boomtrain's quest for funding. But at the core of the founder's stories is a hard reset, when they both walked away from cushy jobs and Mediterranean vacations to build their own company.

This month, I'm moving to Austin. When the move is complete, it will be the sixth city I've lived in since grad school, and the third city my partner and I have chosen together since we met in 2009. Over the last few months, I've had friends and colleagues all over to the country decide to make similar leaps. They've picked up and moved to Seattle, San Francisco, New York, London, and Miami to do something new, cool, and challenging.

Mobility is one of the great joys of modern life. The ability to do something new, break out of your comfort zone, and experience a new culture was something completely out of the question for most people for most of history.

And sometimes, we need a total life reset: a new career in a new place with new people.

Scary thought right? But you should almost always do it!

You must love where you live: Too many people I know just don't like where they live very much. But cities are the other major relationship in our lives. It's almost impossible to be happy unless you love where you live. We are blessed to live in a country with extraordinary diversity, so go get out there and find somewhere that fits you better. I moved to DC to make it in politics (turned out it's a passion, not a career), NYC to experience the Big Apple first-hand, Seattle to get in touch with nature and learn to ski, and Atlanta to be back in sunshine and find my southern roots again. I haven't loved all these cities, and I wasn't ready to call any of them my forever home, but I've loved the experience of them.

You must love what you do: There's a quote by Dr. Seuss that I try to live by: "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

If you hate your job, you feel like a cog in the wheel of life, or you dread the end of the weekend, you know you need to be doing something else. And before you think of all the responsibilities you have, remember that you're probably carrying that misery home.

I don't know anyone who says that they wished they had worked more, but I know a lot of people who are happier because they have a passionate, fulfilling career.

Sometimes you need a change of scenery: Sometimes it's an amazing new opportunity. Sometimes it's your partner's amazing new opportunity. Maybe it's somewhere you just want to live, or you've hit a career plateau, or are a refugee from a bad job stint or relationship. Whatever it is, sometimes new faces and new places are just what the doctor ordered.

I met a woman at the beach yesterday who was a commodities broker in NYC, then a chef, and then a sailor. She's been to 47 Caribbean islands, and was back this week in the Turks & Caicos with her family. As we talked over a rum punch, I was reminded of a quote by the late Mark Shand, a British conservationist and environmentalist (and the younger brother of Camilla Parker-Bowles).

When asked about his life, he said: "I could have made more money, but I don't think I could have had any more fun."

Words to live by.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Lacy. I would love that! I'll shoot you a message when we are in town - should be a little over a week.


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