I was quarterback of the football team, valedictorian of the class. You found my name in the yearbook under ‘most likely to succeed.’ And, looking back now with white hairs in my beard, I still don’t know what that word means.
I’ve never made more than $47,000 a year. I am not married, never have been, and have no children I know of. My truck approaches 300,000 miles. I have never spoken to Siri.
But I’ve crushed beers with good friends and smoked grass with the wind. I’ve ran with the shamans and howled at the moon. I’ve danced naked with hippies and brawled with barroom bigots.
I’ve taught university English for not much and been paid to play football for less. I’ve written a book that got published and waited tables for tips. I have laughed and cried and loved and lost.
Something has changed in the years since high school. All those straight A’s in rectangle classrooms, all those Xs and Os on the gridiron, they evolved into some ‘circular language of meander.’ I turned off the scoreboard and experience became my game.
Since college I’ve rented nineteen little rooms in abodes across four countries of the world and five states of Americana. I’ve lived for free—those summers in grad school in my tent, that winter in the Sierra Nevada surviving van-life to ski 121 days in a row. Travelling the west in a sixty-year-old ‘canned ham’ before the leak in the roof got so bad I traded it for a bicycle and rode on down the road.
I’ve still never made more than $47,000 a year—but I’ve “clocked-in” for less hours in my life than any thirty-something I know. And that means freedom. And who know what lay ‘round the bend.