On July 6, 2013 – I wrote my original START introduction:
My name is Rob.
I am just like you.
I am not sure how to write my introduction. I want it to be witty and incredibly cool. I feel kind of awkward writing this in the manner that I am…but whatever. Here I go, here is my introduction. Let’s find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Seemingly always at a point of transition in my life even when stable – I delicately balance the good and the bad in life. When good, I try not to celebrate too heavily and when bad, I try to view the experience as a learning opportunity. This is easier said than done.
I claim to be neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but I strive to be a realist. These attempts at realism are fairly new to me. It is an interesting perspective to strive to achieve. My observations lead me to believe that this is also a perspective that many people don’t seem to gravitate towards.
Spirituality resonates with me on a deeply personal level and is a significant part of my life. I was born and raised as a Christian. During my late teens and early twenties, I was introduced to various other worldly religions and cultures. I would grow away from and return to the church repeatedly.
Approximately 5 years ago, I set out on my career path and began climbing the corporate ladder. After several successful years and promotions – I stumbled upon love and gave up my current career to move across the country to try and grow the relationship…only for it to fail. I am learning a lot about myself.
One of the things I have learned is that I have a core set of values. These values and moral code are driving factors which form the beliefs that I have. These beliefs factor into the decisions that I make and the actions that I take in life. I learn and try to act accordingly. I make many mistakes, often repeatedly.
When I repeat mistakes, I feel that it is because there is lesson to be learned – and I continue making these “mistakes” until the lesson is learned. In learning these life lessons, I developed a belief that the corporate ladder and the “normal” life is perhaps not the life for me. It felt like a game.
Recently, I began to believe that I am merely a pawn in game of life. This realization is what set me free. The simple acknowledgement of this allows me to more effectively play the game, for now I have a strategy in mind and am living deliberately in an attempt to play the game efficiently.
Relationships have come and gone, love once lost had now been found…only to be lost again. After a period of stability in life I am preparing for another period of transition on many different levels.
I will be working on a short-term project for my company for the next 6-12 months and will be on the road again. When this project is complete, I will likely quit my job and START living the way I have always been afraid to…well, that is the plan, at least. We’ll see what happens.
As this plan unfolds in front of my eyes, I find myself here…writing an introduction to share with YOU. We don’t know each other, but I suspect my words resonate with you as much as YOUR words have resonated with ME. I am grateful for this and very much look forward to sharing all these experiences with all of you.
A week after writing this introduction and not 100% sure what I was getting into, I was assigned to “Group 39 – Internet Entrepreneur (Podcast, blogger, developer, etc.)” Many of the people in that group had clearly defined goals / risks such as:
- “I will write the first section of my ebook”
- “In order of difficulty: Blog daily Swim 3x a week Sign up for graphic design class”
- “I will write 20 blog posts and apply to three jobs.”
- “Conduct a budgeting workshop for a church or organization or do a one-on-one personal budgeting workshop.”
- “Grow Twitter to 1,000 followers. Speak at 2 events.”
- “I will begin my Christian multi media website and add one new piece of content every week.”
- Etc, etc, etc
And finally…there was one person in the group that had written one of the longest and most eccentric goals, risks ever seen. That person was me. It read something like this:
- Knowing that by the end of 2013, I will be debt-free. In early 2014, I will likely have 3-6 months of living expenses saved up from the successful completion of the project I will be working on throughout Texas. With my parents owning 20 acres and dreaming to start a farm on this 20 acres, it has become my dream to help them grow York Meadow Farm into a successful generational farm in an effort to fulfill my role in the sustenance of America and living freedom and liberty. It is my dream to follow through on the writing and drafting of a business plan to submit to my parents in order to effectively lease that area of the property just south of the neighbors field, southeast (?) of the pond. I wish to lease and homestead there with a tiny-house, shipping container or a yurt that is set up as an office / shop. Fully set up to be operational as a small, independent farm operation. This is the reason for the official lease. Hopefully with the way that I grow and produce vegetables on my parcel, they will witness results and we will both be better suited to get to where we are working together rather than fighting. This lease will allow me the feeling of independence from my parents while still having the ability to live/work independent of them and experience the freedom that is necessary for a man in his mid/late 30’s to have. Eventually, I’d like to get to a point where I am self-reliant in terms of food production. What little I do have to buy, I can barter for and/or use silver as a means of exchange. I would like to run and operate a small hydroponic supply distribution warehouse along with involvement of selling certain vitamins and health supplements? There are many ideas, but perhaps it could be a health/wellness/self-sufficiency/edible landscaping/permaculture design/online store where I sell and stock the items and then simply control the sales and distribution of the products? Perhaps my dream over the next 24 days would be to finally develop the business plan / proposal to provide to my parents…
It may have taken several paragraphs to say so…but it appears as though my goal over the next 24 days was to work towards the development of a business plan / proposal to provide to my parents. The idea at that time was to document the process of developing a homestead and living a life geared towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance without owning land.
Ronne Rock asked the question about how things were going with our dreams…and the reality is that things had been going really well. During the month of July, I got involved with the START experiment. During the month of August, I began actively writing for an online magazine called Brink of Freedom.
Brink of Freedom was created on July 31, 2013. The purpose being to create a community of like-minded individuals. People sick of government; who wish to gain true freedom through self-reliance, knowledge, skill, and a true sense of community. Let Brink of Freedom show you how to truly be free. Join us.
This community gave me an outlet to express what I initially began working on with the START experiment. It gave me purpose and drive. The editor of the magazine seemed to really like the way in which I wrote my articles and in turn, I felt extremely proud to be a columnist for them. For the first time in my life, I actually called myself a “writer.” It felt wonderful.
During this time, I was working on a short-term project for my company and was based out of the Austin area. My territory was Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The project was going well and I felt really on top of things as far as my life was concerned. Work was going well. My boss was happy. Our clients were happy. My teams were happy. I was approaching another peak of my physical fitness and had set a personal record for a five mile run (in barefoot sandals) by running 8:30/mile. Life was good.
As the months progressed, I ended up writing several articles for Brink of Freedom with a focus on health and wellness. Towards the end of September I wrote an article titled, Physical Fitness 101. I was excited about having written this article because it was published right around the time I went on vacation for a camping trip in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park.
This is where the story gets interesting. While health and wellness had been my focus…the reality is that health and wellness had always been a struggle for me. Since the age of 13, I have struggled with a chronic neurological condition called epilepsy. In April of 2012, while living in California, I changed medications from one that I had taken for over 20 years to a medication that was entirely new.
For the first time in my life, I felt as though I had the blinders taken off of my eyes. The new medication had side effects that were so minimal…it felt as though there were none. I finally experienced clarity of thought and did not feel as though the pharmaceuticals were making me feel slow or dumbing me down as I felt they had been up to that point. All I had known my entire adult life was this feeling.
During this time, I actively began working out and becoming healthy. I trained for and ran several half marathons and ultimately ran a marathon in April of 2013. I went on several backpacking trips and visited a number of state and national parks during this time as well. One of the things that began to occur however was the recurrence of the seizures that were a result of the epilepsy that I suffered from.
Throughout the months of August and September, the frequency of my seizures increased (likely due to the stress of being on the road and traveling. Just to be on the safe side, I contacted my neurologist and communicated what was happening and requested that I change back to the old medication that I had been taking for the years prior to April 2012. While the side effects of the medication were less than ideal, they were ultimately more effective at controlling my seizures. The control of the seizures was of paramount importance, especially with the amount of driving that I was doing on this project.
I began making the transition from one medication to the other approximately a week before my vacation to Utah. The trip began in Denver where I met with one of my best friends for a couple of days before heading into the high desert of Utah. During this first night and periodically throughout the trip – just like the prior couple of months – I had multiple small seizures. Nothing debilitating…but they were taking place. I just kept ignoring them.
Finally, upon our return trip home – and after the burgers, fries and milkshake at a roadside stand in Utah, we set out on the long drive back to Denver. In the passenger seat, I passed out and nodded off to sleep. The next thing I knew, I woke up in the neurological intensive care unit of the Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, CO. I had been unconscious for almost two days.
Needless to say, this series of events is the derailment that I previously referred to at the beginning of this extraordinarily long post. After a week in ICU, I returned back home to recover with family in Ohio. I was unable to return to Austin to continue working on the project I had been working on. I was unable to drive for 3-6 months as a result of the intense seizures I suffered from.
Initially, my employer appeared as though they were going to work with me on this with regard to reassignment to a new position, but without getting into any more detail, the long and short of it is that my employment with them was terminated in January 2014. Luckily, several weeks before the termination of my employment, a new job just “fell into my lap.” It was remarkable.
This new job is truly a blessing and at the moment, I am currently getting back on track with my life, my writing, my goals and doing everything in my power to achieve them. Taking the time like this to sit back and reflect upon them couldn’t have come at a better time. Being a part of the Dreamers and Builders community really got me though some tough times during the past 6 months.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and be a part of my story. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for many of you out there in this community. Thank you for helping me find inspiration during the hard times. Thank you for helping me stay motivated when it was incredibly challenging to do so. I will be forever grateful.