I am currently at the Toronto Supernatural Convention. This is my second Supernatural Convention ever. Last year’s was amazing.
And while I’m there, I know I won’t have time to write today’s email so I’m time travelling and doing a remix of an email that bears a remix.
Because I want you to have the courage to do what I did: take a leap of faith and really live your life.
When I turned 42, I was pretty darn excited. Seriously, as a nerd, that is THE number to reach. The answer to life, the universe and everything.
If you’ve ever watched or read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you’ll get that reference.
And you know what? 42 was pretty fucking awesome. But not for the reasons you might think. Oh I got cake, an R2 unit and my own set of full-size time lords, but what I got that really mattered was one more day.
One. More. Day.
I had a certain death experience that changed everything for me when I was 42. I was driving home from my first social painting class down the 401 (a major highway in Ontario). I was burned out and debating what to do with my life and career. The social painting was something I did because my creative well was dry.
Certain death experiences are profound. They can shake a person to their very core. You know. You KNOW, in the moment, that you are going to die. It’s inevitable. There’s no way out.
When mine happened, I was outwardly calm but inwardly enraged. I hadn’t even lived yet and now I was going to die. No goals on the bucket list hit. My kids would be without their mother.
I was driving slightly over 100km/h on the highway. There was a car coming right at me, driving the wrong way and in my lane. With cars all around and a narrow shoulder, there was nowhere for me to go. The other vehicle was speeding. Police were behind. I was going to die because an impact like that would leave no survivors.
Clearly, I didn’t die. I moved over in my lane, he/she moved over the other way and we just missed each other.
We never see moments like these coming. We live our lives assuming that the days won’t run out. There’s always tomorrow. It’s a safe and complacent way to live and we all do it. Who wants to spend time contemplating the value of their life or the impact of their death?
Facing the moment of my certain death put everything into focus for me. Crystal clear, no excuses, do-it-now focus.
My midlife crisis, generated by my certain death experience, threw my world upside down and two years later, things are crazy different.
My midlife crisis didn’t give me a muscle car. No. A muscle car would have been awesome. A muscle car would have been easier.
For 23 years, I was a programmer and graphic designer working for e-learning and not for profit companies. For 17 of those years, I ran my own business serving those industries.
My work can still be seen in schools and libraries around the world. My work has helped countless children learn to read and so many people learn to read English. Some of my work has helped communities in Africa get clean water, or be gifted animals like goats.
But in the back of my mind, I was always an artist and writer.
I just shut my tech business down this July. For good. And I’m leaping out into the unknown.
As scared as I am of pulling away the last support for my art and family, I wouldn’t go back. I’m finally alive. I have no idea what next week will bring. My life next year could be completely different and wildly unexpected.
And I have zero regrets.
At the end of the day, embracing life and claiming my space, has been incredible.
You don’t need a certain death experience to make changes. Clearly I needed a bop upside the head but sometimes just the sense of dissatisfaction is enough.
What change, even a small one, could you make today that would put you on the path of living your ideal life?