Not too long ago (a few years now) I counted up ALL of the jobs I have had since I got married in 1988. It was quite pitiful. I don’t have that list anymore. I’m sure I burned it. But, the total number of jobs was significantly higher than the years I had been married.
Granted, some of my jobs I did simultaneously because I needed the extra income. Other jobs I worked for a short time and quit. My total number of jobs was in the neighborhood of 25-30 jobs, maybe more.
I have worked selling cars (for about 4-5 months), teaching at a university (6 years), a missionary (many years), printing press layout (about 9 months), a meat slicer at Hardees (about 8 hours), call center salesman (about 3 months), nurse recruiter (5 years), grocery store clerk (1 year), college soccer coach (2 years), library assistant (1 year), paper boy (2 months), pizza delivery (18 months), etc. etc. etc.
Many may look at this and think – what a jerk! He can’t stick with anything! However, the life that I lived for the first decade or more of our marriage was one of transition, travel, exploring, and searching. In some ways, I did what I had to do.
I have held my current role for nearly 10 years. It has brought some stability in many areas of my life. I have owned my own internet business and have been quite successful with it (that is a relative statement). I have found peace and fulfillment all along the way (that’s a generalization statement). We have been able to do more as a family over the last decade that has allowed us to do some pretty unique things as a family.
All my life, I have never been afraid of change. At times it was a bit reckless. Other times it was more prudent. When you are exploring and searching, it requires change, flexibility, and adapting as you begin to build your vision.
If you aren’t willing to change, then maybe it would be better for you to allow someone else to dictate how you live.
That’s part of my philosophy for my life. I’m sure many won’t understand that. But, I view change, risk, and so-called “recklessness” as all part of the adventure of life.
I see the opposite all the time. People go to work, commute, and do what is expected of them. That is fine, and it is actually very fine, if that is where you find life fulfilling.
But, within me, there is there cry for adventure, exploration, discovery, and blazing my own trail. A life without change is… well… it’s boring. Blah!
So, to that end, it is time for a change.
The Sadness of The Zoo
Change and adventure keep me sharp, focused, and… having some fun in this life. I am blessed to have a great wife who wants to adventure with me, and I hope I have kids who enjoy change too.
I have been to Africa. I have seen what the herds look like when the lions are near. I have seen hyenas fighting jackals over a scrap of meat the lions left behind. I have seen an angry water buffalo just a few feet from my Isuzu Trooper (and they can flip them), great herds of elephant, the dangers of swimming in Lake Tanganyika where the hippos and crocs frequent. I have been within 6 feet of a 500 pound silver back mountain gorilla in the wild.
Life in the wild is… it is wild! And unpredictable. There is drought. There is lush growth. There is plenty. There is lack. There is life. There is death. There is extreme.
Compare that to the zoo. Whether I go to the Dallas or the Fort Worth Zoo, I do enjoy seeing the animals. But, I’m pretty sure that they don’t dry up the watering holes in the cages of the animals to simulate drought, or they don’t withhold food for extended periods of time. They don’t like to turn the lions loose in other cages to keep things frisky. Life in the zoo is pretty predictable. Not much life… kind of passing days until their death. Not very extreme.
Zoos are great, and great research is done that benefits the wild, but, there is a sadness (at least through my eyes) when I compare the gorillas at the zoo with the gorilla that chose not to snap me in half in the rain forest of Zaire.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line for Rich Niccolls is that my life has become too “zoo-like.” I have been choosing to settle for a predictable life of provision, surroundings, and routine – that the thought of change has become a bit scary. I hate to admit that, but it is true. I have been too scared to take action for a few years now.
It’s time for a change. I’m not changing for change sake. I’d like to think I’m not that stupid. But, being an explorer and an adventurer is somewhat of a core value of mine. I believe I need to lead my family by example and show them that change can be embraced, that discovering new oceans brings life, that living a life with one’s senses heightened is a choice.
I don’t want to be a dull boy.
My decades, years, months and days are ticking by. My moments are craving to filled with life.
Today, is the beginning of a new adventure.
So, “Who Is Rich?” I hope it’s not just some guy who finally settled down. There’s enough guys like that already out there. I actually hope that it’s kind of hard to put a label on me. But, I hope that it can be said that I had a heart for the unknown.
If you’ll pardon me… I have a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue, and an adventure to go live.
“A life without heart is not worth living. To lose heart is to lose everything.” ~ John Eldredge