Every story has a beginning. You’re reading this because you’re either thinking about taking a similar path OR you’re looking for insight, because you can’t understand why someone would throw away lots of good things in favour of lots of unknowns.

The to do list to end all to do lists

Image by koalazymonkey
http://www.flickr.com/photos/koalazymonkey/

Of course, there is a third option, you might just be getting vicarious kicks from seeing one man on a very slippery doom-bound slope – shame on you, wipe that slavering grin off your face and get back to watching drunk people falling over on YouTube. On second thoughts, hang around – we need the numbers. I’ll do something stupid soon, I promise…

The origin of flux
Two years ago, as newlyweds enjoying our honeymoon in rural Italy, my wife and I sat down together and wrote a list of everything we wanted to do in the next ten years. At the time, I was in a demanding senior job at a video agency (which I co-founded) while my wife was excelling at a company she was passionate about. Life was as you’d expect – we had a large mortgage, disposable income and next-to-no time to explore our passions or pastimes.

The thief of time
Our lives seemed fine, until we looked hard at the honeymoon list we’d just written – you know what we found? Not one of our choices on that list related to what we were currently doing with our lives. Not a single one. Yet ALL of our excuses (for not following the path set out on our list) related to those very things we now realised we didn’t want or need. Our lives had become a vicious circle of extreme procrastination. I’d even got proud of being really good at it, reading articles like this with a knowing glint in my eye and nodding sagely at my friends who couldn’t get organised enough to get done all the stuff they didn’t really want to do.

Illustration by Emilie Ogez <br>www.flickr.com/photos/eogez/

Illustration by Emilie Ogez
www.flickr.com/photos/eogez/

This isn’t how I saw adult life panning out – since I was a small child I’d been led to believe that with age came choice. I was constantly told things like

‘you can do what you want when you’re older, but right now you need to tidy your room’

and

‘your friend with the liberal parents might let you smoke pot in their house, but you can’t do it here’.

Sound familiar? Okay, I made the second one up, but you get the idea. And then you become a grown up and realise that you CAN’T smoke pot in the house and the rooms simply MUST get cleaned because your friends are coming round and your home has to look like an Ideal Homes spread. There are *very few* sweet spots in life when we actually feel able to make meaningful choices about our own lives, and the chances are, we’re too busy tidying our rooms and getting rid of the stench of smoke to even spot them when they DO come up. End of metaphor, I promise.

Back to the list
So there we were on our honeymoon – we hadn’t fleshed out exactly what we DID want to do (we just had a list of pipe dreams) but the list had served to clarify that our lives as they were currently represented a bunch of things we DID NOT want to do. So then we waited a year, procrastinated, worried and generally ambled along before taking another holiday together. And it was on a beach in South East Asia (how cliched) where we finally decided to jack it all in and take a chance. My wife went first – quitting her job (from that very same beach!) and I began the tricky process of extricating myself from my business.

One year on
That was nearly a year ago – since then my wife has vastly improved her income and mindset by becoming a freelancer, and I’ve steadily embraced the idea of ‘in with the new’, selling the stake I own in my business, winding up work for that company and distracting myself from freaking out with ever more impressive procrastination, including buying a road bike and pounding out the miles on weekends, investing many early mornings in becoming a better bread baker, visiting the cinema at least twice a week, and learning a new language from scratch.

Pre Flux
All that – and I still don’t know what I want to do next, but I know one thing, I NEED to take a break, embrace the flux, and see what comes out the other side. So how about a year of novelty, risk and exploration of the unknown?

That’s my Flux story so far – the ‘pre flux’ if you like. From 1 Mar 2013 the Flux story begins in earnest.