a photograph of the believe art installation at burning man 2013 at sunset

Into the Mystic

DustinWong Inspiration/Recommended Reading, News

Seattle, WA

Last Friday was the last day of my engineering job. I had worked there for 7 years and it was my first job out of college. I was saying goodbye to friends but also to the life that my office job implied. My experience was unexpectedly more emotional than I had thought it was going to be. I got home and tried to rest, emotionally drained and exhausted, unable to stop contemplation. It was hardly the celebratory scene you might imagine.

My mind was preparing my body for a shift in routine. Wave after wave of unsettled feelings rushed through me as if my body was in a dialogue with the mind – resisting and fighting the inevitable. I found myself reflecting back on years of doing a daily routine, seeing the same familiar faces, always on schedule, and walking the repetitive white halls, gazing at the same view day after day. I will also miss those fellow bus commuters who adopted an identical schedule as I had. I feel that we know each other somehow, even though we’ve never spoken, but after countless times in proximity it would be impossible to deny the sense of recognition.

Through this transition I experienced an awareness of just how much my life revolved around work. For many of us, it is our work colleagues that are the consistent presence in our lives. The office doesn’t change much, the type of work, the lunch menus – it’s all repetitive.

As I leave this phase of my life for the next, there is a powerful mix of excitement and anxiety. The road out “there” is full of uncertainty, and I believe it is a fear of this that makes voluntarily choosing this path daunting for many. But fear has a way of making one complacent. I had previously navigated the roads of life by taking the path that seemed easier, or less-hard. This served me well, for a time. However, I do not think this method of decision making is conducive to discovering one’s passion. Pursuit of one’s passion is almost certainly filled with struggle and resistance. Maybe that is why for those who have found a way through that resistance it is even more rewarding.

In our society we idolize those who “make it” – the movie stars, musicians, professional athletes, business CEO’s, and successful entrepreneurs. How many of us believe we can achieve those great feats? How many of those people got to where they are by pursuing their passion? All of them. To “make it” takes hard work, pushing through resistance and going against what is considered the normal. They all believed that they would make it.

I believe I will make it


Thank you to all those who have shared kind words of encouragement. I have heard, “you are brave,” “I’m excited for you,” and “I’m so jealous!” It seems out there many other fantasize about leaving the office behind for a life of adventures but something gets in the way. Be it a steady pay check, family, relationships, or just not being comfortable with such a shift.

Finding who you really are
For many, including myself, financial security is a great concern. I suppose that is why many of us go through college, push ourselves to excel in this and that, so we can get hired into a well paying corporate job. Finding a career that provides a good lifestyle may feel like success, but if you asked yourself “would I still be doing this is if didn’t need the money?” I feel many would answer, no. Here is a great talk given by Alan Watts about pursuing one’s dreams.

In there he proclaims (so matter of fact-ly) that following one’s passion will lead one to find other’s who share those feelings, and the only way to really master something is to “be really with it.” Others like Malcolm Gladwell, with his “10,000” rule, make similar claims. So why not spend your time doing what you like doing? It is what we all deeply crave. After all, it sure beats doing things you don’t like doing, just so you can go on doing things you don’t like doing! So here I am, standing at the beginning of a new path, a new career. I am choosing the harder job, the one with more uncertainty because I am ready to face my fears–I believe I will come out on the other end having experienced wonderful things doing what I love. I’m excited for the people I will meet, and discovering what I am truly capable of.

Wish me luck,
Here I go, Into the Mystic.