If given a choice, would you walk a bridge, the easier path to another mountain top or would you be willing to BASE jump to the valley below, only to have to scale the other peak by hand?

Many would probably stick to the bridge

But would it be as rewarding in the end?

Probably not, huh?

It’s been nearly a year since I did something I didn’t think I’d ever have the guts to do: walk away from something I’d known and was good at for more than twenty years. No real plan involved, just one day reached a breaking point and said, “Screw this” and walked away.

It was completely exhilarating and I was scared shitless all at the same time. However I think it forced me to think outside the box in a way I never would have were I to plan it all out and then work the plan. I had to think fast, make some shit up as I went along.

By not only completely burning my bridge…. hell, I didn’t burn it, I blew it up like the one over the River Kwai… I was forced to work, to push myself harder once I decided on a new career path.

Right from the beginning there were times when, studying for a test I wanted to throw the book away and thought, “I can’t do this,” what choice did I have? Sure I could whine about how hard it was, how I don’t understand the material. And then there was nothing left for me to do but pick the book back up and start the chapter over. Some of those chapters I had to read three or four times before they ever began to make sense.

The point is, by not leaving myself an easy out, I was forced to struggle forward toward the small successes that came out of it.

For the past six months there’s been times where, even successfully employed in my new career I’d think to myself, “Can I really do this?” Certainly there were others who thought I couldn’t. ( Hell, if you were to tell me a couple years ago I’d be doing this I’d have laughed in your face.) But again, left with little other viable choices, at least without starting over from rock bottom, I pushed ahead.

And it’s finally paid off. I have a permanent position that is far easier than anything I had to do leading up to this. While the last few weeks leading up to this have been the most stressful, this week I’ve found myself smiling for no reason other than, “Hell yeah, it all paid off.” As I told someone this morning, “I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this.”

Of course that doesn’t mean every day is going to be cupcakes and rainbows. But what is? What is worth having if you didn’t have to work for it? Not much.

The struggle is often real, more real than anything one can imagine. But it’s also often so fucking worth it.