“There’s nothing more inspiring or – beautiful than the sight of a mare and a new colt. And it’s cool there now, see? Texas is cool now, and it’s spring. And whenever spring comes to where I am, I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I’m not getting’ anywhere! What the hell am I doing, playing around with horses, twenty-eight dollars a week! I’m thirty-four years old. I oughta be makin’ my future. That’s when I come running home.”
Biff’s polarizing quote summarizes what many adults think and feel.
When working among the simplicity and beauty of nature Biff is alive. He is authentic. He’s “inspired” at the “sight of a mare and a new colt”. But then, in only a matter of a sentence, he chides his own happiness and thinks himself foolish and childish for playing with horses.
Biff the common, vulnerable, impressionable modern man is spinning in the same world of materialism and cynicism as we are. It’s discouraging to see how quickly he discounts the romanticism of being alive and becomes so burdened by thoughts of money, time, and judgement that he “comes running home” to New York to join the rat race that he’s been trying so hard to get away from.
But I was no better.
Just before I got sick, I enrolled in an 18- month accelerated online college to earn an administrative certificate to become a school principal and start making principal money so I could keep up with my corporate friends who were welcoming quarterly raises, building houses with central air and buying imported cars with heated seats. In the house, in the car they appeared –well– comfortable. I was jealous. I wanted in.
The idea of administrator money in less than two years was enticing. I imagined central air, leather seats, and weekends big pimpin’ and sipping D’USSE’ with Jay-Z.
I figured a few months of homework, a couple flimsy research papers–and I could skirt through grad school with as little work as possible. Little work, maximum results–how ironic– I was my own high school student.
Then the best thing happened–I got sick. My brain was damaged and my time on this earth was questioned.
For me, it was a no brainer (ouch)–I had to wake up and listen to my life. I had to accept the fact that I didn’t belong in an administrative office or on a yacht with Jay- Z. I belonged in the classroom, with Salinger and Shakespeare, so I could further learn the craft, teach the craft, in preparation for my own crafting adventure.
In December 2013 I dropped out of grad school, nine credits short of graduating so I could devote more time to writing.
And Biff, well he hit the westward road, toward those colts and mares minutes after his father’s casket was lowered in the ground. As far as we know Biff never returned home.
Now you don’t have to catch a Greyhound or endure a medical calamity to get out of your work rut. But you do have to mute the clatter. And since you’re a modern person, you’ve been injected with other people’s opinions regarding what you should do with your life.
The journey of finding your purpose begins with listening to your inner voice. That same inner voice that tells you to order riblets at Applebee’s or tells you to bet the Steelers and the over—do your life a favor and start listening.
Remember, treating RSA isn’t going to be easy or quick. You must be patient and you must eliminate money and fame and central air and heated seats from the equation.
RSA treatment is about achieving an individual freedom that is not found in the commercialized American dream.
Treating RAS begins with muting the clatter of modernity and tuning into what you– and only you– want with your life.
The work ruts and RAS will only deepen as time passes. We know that overnight, five year plans can fold into ten year plans. And over time, regret can harden in to something nasty.
I implore you to champion for your life and start listening to the voice inside. You just may be interested to hear what it has to say.