Change for a Year

Take a year. Change your life.

Dreams, Goals, and a Kickass New Job

Seven months ago, sitting alone in my apartment, my back in pain and my life not going anywhere, I thought, “If I have a heart attack, I don’t think I”ll call an ambulance.” That would be it. I would simply check out. I was 27-years old, but what did I have to live for? Worse, I seemed incapable of changing my life.

That was the start of this blog. I thought I’d give it one more try, one year to really get my shit together and to try to make a change: Change for a Year. That was seven months ago. The power of dreams is a funny thing.

As long as I can remember, I’ve really only wanted two things from life — well, three once I hit puberty, but this goes back further than that. I wanted to run, and I wanted to write, and in both of these respects I’ve been an absolute failure.

Sure, I’ve written. I even received a paycheck for an article I wrote shortly after high school: Another Day, Another Rejection Letter. It was the first time I’d been paid to write, a grand total of $15, Canadian funds, if  I remember correctly — my international pay day. And sure, I’ve run. My junior year of high school I ran my way down to 204 pounds before springing up to 371 when sitting in that apartment. Something has always pulled me away from those dreams: maybe fear, maybe laziness, maybe something else.

But here’s the thing about your dreams: you can’t get away from them. They’re always there, tugging at you around the edges. Sometimes you don’t even know it. I didn’t.

When I think of the happiest times in my life, the times I was most content: three moments stick out. First, I was fifteen years old, writing an awful book I never finished and hosting a writing contest over at writing.com. The world was full of possibilities. Second, it was 5 a.m. and the middle of winter. I’d been struggling with running for months through my heart nearing explosion and shins on fire. The snow was falling. The town was asleep, and I  jogged through it, the white snow crunching under my feet and falling flakes reflecting off the street lights. It was the three most peaceful miles I’d ever ran, and the first time I truly enjoyed running. I thought then I’d run forever. A few months later I stopped. That was four years ago. Third, I spent a year living in Florida just 20 minutes from the beach. There were girls, and I was young.

I’d given up on those dreams. Now, in my first year, I’m down 40 pounds and writing every day. Depression has a way of working it’s tentacles into everything. So does hope. In March I stepped down from my old job and began freelance writing part time. In May I stumbled into a gig. This week I became their editor. Sometimes you dream of one thing — going vegan and losing weight — and find those other tentacles slipping their way back into your life.

All my life I’ve dreamed of working at a magazine. Now that world has gone online. Over the next year HackSurfer is going to become the go-to place for anything and everything about cybercrime: for businesses, for cybersecurity experts, for individuals. I really think it’s going to be amazing, and I get to be a part of that. I get to be a part of taking this boring, eyes-glazed-over topic that affects nearly everyone’s life and cut through the bullshit and the geek talk and bring that discussion to the mainstream — right where it needs to be. It’s exciting, and in the process I get to live my dream.

Why do I tell you this? Simple. I think that’s the key to change really: just doing it. It’s easy to wait, to do nothing. And I easily could have done that my whole life. So I hope in the coming years, as this yearly adventure continues, that others will be inspired to make a change. I’m sure I won’t hit all my goals, and I’m sure you won’t hit all of yours either. But I’m inspired by those around me who do great things in their own small way, and together our dreams can change, if not the whole world, at least our little corner of it.

That’s a reason to hope and to dream. And to live.

19 Comments

  1. Oh, Jeff, I’m so thrilled for you.
    This is one of the Laws of the Universe. Once you set an intention and take steps in that direction, you start finding what you seek (A great old book, “Prometheus Rising,” talks more about that.).

    We have to do the work, put in the effort, and keep plugging away at what we truly want. It may come to us in a form we’d not anticipated, but always in a way that satisfies.
    Mazel tov.

    • Yes, I truely believe that most of life is chance, but it’s about being prepared to grab those chances when they come by so that they don’t slip through your fingers.

  2. Recently, I read a book called The Power of Habit Habit. Like you said here, it mentioned how one change can be a catalyst for changing your life and habits.

    Congratulations on the job – I’m glad to hear things are going well for you!

  3. So inspiring! Love it!

  4. Super love everything about this post. Congrats on making things happen!

  5. What a great post. Very inspiring. You are so right, that our dreams stick with us, and that when we start making changes, things start to tumble toward those dreams…even if it’s not always in the ways we’d expect. I really appreciate the reminder about “hope.” Now, are you going to celebrate and treat yourself? Willy Street Coop in Madison has some kick-ass vegan cupcakes!

    • I did make some banana nut muffins. It was a box mix (about the only vegan one I could find), but it was delicious! I do have to get up to Madison some time and check them out.

  6. Good for you, Jeff. Keep up the great work!

  7. you are in inspiration, hardcore. I even came home last week and shared a little of your story with my son who is 18. I’m sort of where you are but only about two weeks in. Just doing it, just doing it. It’s hard but if we just keep walking one step at a time, it can happen. You are living proof. Thank you.

    • Well, I’ve sure got a long, long way to go, but just gotta keep plugging away day in and day out and be in it for the long term. That’s the plan!

  8. Well said! Congrats on the new job!

  9. Wow…this is simply amazing and inspiring. I’m emailing this to my husband right now. I think this is definitely something he needs to read. He can definitely relate in more ways than one. Great post! And thank you for being so vulnerable for us all!

  10. Jeff, what an inspiring message. I wish you well with your new gig with Hacksurfer.

    Your dream of working for a magazine is now being realized as you help make Hacksurfer greater.

    We all have dreams. For years I wanted to own and operate my own business. Recently, I launched my new apparel company: SNAGGY TESS

    Our tees are meant to inspire. When you get a chance, check us out.

    http://snaggytees.com

  11. artificialimbo

    July 15, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Awesome post! I’ve definitely felt the way you described in your down moments and it’s great you’re achieving your goals. =) Hope the wonderfulness continues!

  12. I’ve been through what you’ve been. Dreaming of writing for a magazine. But you know what? Blogging is so much easier because you don’t have a boss to tell you what to write and you write what you feel like. So much freedom! So, I’ve nominated you for a Liebster award, which is an award for small bloggers to help us get more followers and more promotion. Check my page for more information. There are some fun questions for you to answer!

  13. Congrats on the hackSurfer gig, it looks like a cool site, and I can’t wait for it to get out of beta! I hope things keep looking up for you. Here’s to the better days ahead!

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