One of my favorite professors from university was so keen on making us write down where we’d be in 5, 10, and 30 years. He pushed that in order to achieve success you have to know what’s gonna be written on your gravestone. He wanted us to have an Atlas for our life. Essentially, he wanted us to have something to guide us to where we wanted to be. That used to stress me out because I didn’t know what I wanted. I still don’t know exactly what I want. Do I want to be successful? Do I want to leave a lasting impact on the world? Of course. Do I know the title or vehicle that I am going to use to achieve that? No, not yet. And that’s ok.
“You have to start before your ready” - Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York.
If I had waited until I felt ready I would still be living in Charlotte working my old corporate job. 2018 taught me even more so that you have to just put yourself out there.
“Buy the ticket, take the ride”- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
It’s been a year and a half since I left the safety zone. The zone where a salary, health benefits, and 401k contributions existed. I’m in more debt than I have ever been in my life. I own very few tangible things. But what I do have is some pretty amazing memories and experiences. I’ve had more life in this year and a half than most people dream of. For that I am extremely grateful.
The classic definition of Atlas is a book of maps or charts. With all the new years resolutions it's hard not to want to create one for the year. If you're anything like me, the idea of choosing exact goals to achieve over a whole year gives you a lot of anxiety. Last January I had no idea that I'd start my own business and yet here I am one year later a business owner.
What I did know last year was that I wanted to be happy. I knew that all the actions I was going to take were going to be in service to that desire.
Atlas is also the topmost vertebra of the backbone, articulating with the occipital bone of the skull. Aka it’s pretty pivotal part of your body. It gives your head the support it needs. In Greek mythology, Atlas is the Titan who was condemned to hold up the celestial sphere much like how the vertebra holds up your head. He is also the titan of endurance.
My friends at the Subject Matter podcast agree that goals aren't the way you always have to go. In their first podcast of the year they presented the idea of having "themes" instead of goals.
So my theme for 2019 is going to be endurance. To focus on not letting myself give up on creating my own path. To remember that even though the way I have chosen to go is harder and has less certainty, that in the end it is worth it. To stay up late and send that one extra email. To keep working hard and know that big things are going to happen even when it doesn't feel like it sometimes.
Atlas is also one of my favorite songs by Lane 8 (listen above) and an entire album by Rufus Du Sol. Enjoy while you contemplate what your theme for 2019 will be.