The day I quit the cube farm and became a Fromager

It was my first day in the cube farm.

And it did not last long.

I took one look and thought to myself, I will not last one minute.

I thought of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and Walden by Thoreau.

I thought of scenes from Office Space and Fight Club. Further, I visualized myself melting into a puddle of wax like a candle out of an Indiana Jones movie.

And then I had an epiphany.

I could change my life trajectory in a flash.

I could seize the entrepreneurship lifestyle so many adore and talk about.

It was a wizard-like stroke of insight.

I could become a Fromager, an expert who makes cheese.

https://www.instructables.com/Basic-Steps-of-How-to-Make-Cheese/

What indeed could be better than such an escape?

Visions of sharp, soft, and gooey cheese melted into my brain.

The much sought-after lifestyle of the fromager had never previously crossed my mind.

Oh, mild-cheddar bliss!

The cheese caves. The dark must funk of the fascinating cheese universe. I could not resist the idea.

I promptly walked into my new boss’s office and told him Goodbye.

He could see the sparkle in my eye, his eyebrow slightly raised.

The alarm buzzed.

Startled, I half opened an eye and then realized it was Monday.

Happiness is Climbing

What is the best part about climbing?

Photo by Brook Anderson on Unsplash

Is it the planning?

Is it poring over maps the night before a trip?

Is it organizing the gear? Is it packing the truck?

Is it making snacks and sandwiches?

Is it cajoling the kids to get dressed and in the car?

Is it the adventure drive to the climbing spot?

Is it unpacking the car and reloading gear?

Is it the approach?

Is it getting lost with the guidebook you didn’t bring?

Is it the moment when you realize, in fact, you are in the right spot?

Is it that good climbing smell as you open your bag?

Is it the warm sunshine as you harness up?

Is it that first touch of rock?

Is it going up?

Is it yelling, “Take the rope!“?

Is it a lead fall?

Is it dangling in space?

Is it the required focused attention?

Is it the zen-like state you enter?

Is it the smiles? Laughter? Being with good friends?

Is it the view from the top?

Is it the shared experience of joy?

Is it the bite of dried sandwich? Or the coolness of your bubbling beverage?

Is it the rappel down?

Is it the trek back to the truck? Or the return trip home?

Is it that lovely fatigued feeling of adventure?

Perhaps the best part about climbing in fact is all of the above.

All the action happens at 32 degrees.

Focus on systems, not goals. 

Since 2012, when I took a travel writing course, I wanted to write a book. This was my goal.

It is now 2021. The book hasn’t happened. I have pitched this goal. Instead, I made a system.

Why now?

I got so sick of myself not writing. It was too big of a goal to write a book and I felt paralyzed.

Like wanting eight pack abs, one goal for me was to show up and write. This goal wasn’t working. I didn’t have a well-designed system in place. I atrophied.

James Clear, the best-selling author of Atomic Habits, says that massive change occurs over time in small increments.

He tells the story of an ice cube sitting in a warming room.

At 25 degrees, ice is ice. Nothing exciting happens.

At 26 degrees, ice is still ice, yet at the molecular level, things are changing.

At 27 degrees, same story.

At 32 degrees, BOOM! Now we have water.

No one can see the small molecular changes happening in those 7 degrees of change. To the outside observer, it is as if all the change happens instantly.

Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

Now I have a system in place. 

It took me a long time with other projects (photography, healthcare drug waste, comic strip, a children’s plush animal for a book) and sunk costs to realize what was and wasn’t working. And that is okay. Those previous experiences are all part of the building process.

I am writing.

The more pride you have in a particular aspect of your identity, the more motivated you will be to maintain the habits associated with it.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

It is motivating for me to look back and connect the dots. It is more exciting to imagine and plan for a brighter future. It starts now. When asked, “Are you a writer?” What do you say?

Thanks for reading,

Cory

Wrenching Season

Photo by Tekton on Unsplash

It is that time of year to take the cover off the bike, refresh the fluids, invest in new tires, find that 10mm wrench, and get to work.

There is a thing about wrenching that is very grounding. The physical turn of the wrench, the removal of bolts, schlepping of metal, and replacing gaskets and seals provide endorphins where I find myself returning to it again and again.

Regardless of the project, the wrenching process itself can be illuminating. With the proper diagnostic mindset, you end up finding out more about yourself in the process. The blood, sweat, and profanity of a pinched finger are essential elements.

“The real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called yourself.”

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Similar to wrenching your machine for improvement, journaling sharpens the mind. It is the process of self-reflection through writing. Similar to fresh oil in a machine, journaling helps clear the mind, improving arterial flow to the brain. The habit of wrenching your mind daily with pencil and paper provides profound creative bursts of insight. At the end of the wrenching session, you may feel as if you have solved all of the world’s problems.

Doggo (A Short Story)

Doggo waited, perched in her backyard.

She reviewed today’s to-do list:

  • Investigate Sniffy Spots
  • Hide bone
  • Chew shoes
  • Slobber on mail
  • Snooze
  • Eat pizza with family during Pizza Movie Night

Pizza Movie Night was something everyone in the house looked forward to each week.

This week will be different, Doggo thought.

Tail wagging like a metronome, she hopped up on the wagon, peering into the window.

She howled to alert the family about her decision.

Doggo drooled at the thought of pizza.

Cheese pizza.

Pizza with sausage. 

Day-old pizza. 

Oh, and pizza bones. Those are perhaps the best.

She floated to cloud nine.

Tonight will be magical, she thought.

The back door opened. Come on back in Doggo, said the girl. We saved you a seat right in the middle.

Her little heart went pitter-patter, tail wagging faster.

What a night!

End