My epiphany that maybe that industry wasn't where I needed to be came to me back in 1992 and it took me two years to shake myself loose from it and "retire" from my long career there. I have never looked back, although sometimes I do miss the money. Of course, that only lasts for about 30 seconds because my old life always flashes before my eyes and brings me back to reality because the truth of it is that I am not sure that I would have survived another year in that business, much less the 15 years since my departure.
That previous life does, however, give me a unique perspective on the present state of the economy, the stock market and the rest of the world. It gave the the courage to change things in my life and not to accept the status quo. Purposely, I have distanced myself from the reality that most people live in daily (9 to 5 job, big mortgage payment, credit card debt, etc.). It may seem that I gave up a lot, by today's standards of success, to get to the place I am in my present life. The money, the house, the car, the travel abroad...none of it really ended up meaning much after all, once it was gone. For a while, it was kind of like an out of body experience, but when I settled back down to earth, it was all good. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for the opportunities I had to visit other places in the world. I am glad that I had the experience of living the so-called "good life", because it gave me a reference point. I think of the life that I live now as the "sweet life" and so much better than good.
Like anybody else, my life is far from perfect. But it is what makes me happy and makes my life relevant. I have truly never been happier, in my adult life. My work has meaning to me and I know that I am doing something good for myself, for other people and for my little corner of the world.
Of course, I would not be honest if I didn't give a lot of credit to the people around me who have supported and loved me no matter how radical or strange my choices may have seemed to them. And I certainly could not have reached this level of satisfaction in my life without having my best friend by my side every step of the way. Sometimes, there are people who come into you life that have such a profound effect. If you have the wisdom and openess to accept what they bring to you, it can change your life forever.
I don't want to sound cliche, because I truly believe what I am about to say, but there is no other way to say it. Opening yourself up to the endless possibilities of the Universe is the most important step anyone can take to having their best life ever. We are only given one life at a time to live, so make this one count. In the end, it really is all about the journey.