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Two years ago I applied for what I thought was my dream job. My application led to a phone interview. That led to a Skype interview. All of this led to them flying me to another city. I was put up in a hotel suite larger than the apartment Clarissa and I were living in at the time, driven around in towncars and limousines, and spent a day-long interview passionately discussing topics I love. It was an amazing experience, perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had at a job interview, and I felt an unprecedented level of certainty; I had the utmost confidence that I would get that job.
I was wrong.
Weeks went by, and eventually I got an e-mail informing me that they had gone with a more experienced candidate. I was crushed.
None of this was personal. They chose the interviewee who they felt would best serve their needs. I hope that whoever they selected has exceeded all expectations and that the institution itself is experiencing unprecedented success (because it truly is an awesome place). At the time, however, it was a bitter pill for me to swallow and I felt great disappointment. I struggled to retain a positive outlook, but in time I mellowed out and things got back to normal (as normal as they get in my life, anyway).
There are a couple of lessons to glean from this experience. The first being that riding in a limo alone is never as fun as when its packed with friends.
As for the second… well…
It would have been awesome to get that job. My income would have nearly doubled, I would have had amazing benefits, and in theory I would have had steady, safe, secure employment for years to come. I could have had so many of the things that I wanted. I have no doubt that it would have been wonderful.
But that comes with a flip side. If I had gotten the job and moved to a different city in another state, I’d have missed out on a lot of things.
I never would have joined Plan For Adventure and found a path to fitness that I love. I would never have made the great friends that I met there. I may not have ever started bike-commuting, or learned anything about maintaining my own bicycle. I may not have ever realized that how much I missed having adventure in my life. I wouldn’t be writing for QC Outside, or speaking to groups and clubs. I may not have ever started writing Intrepid Daily, which means that the people I’ve helped get active outside might still be sitting on the couch, feeling unfulfilled.
And you know what? I don’t want to imagine the person I’d be without those things in my life.
I like the man that I am.
So I guess that the second lesson to glean from this experience is that sometimes dreams don’t come true. Sometimes they don’t, and even though it hurts at the time, it gets better. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t chase them, because you should! But you won’t catch them all. Not every single dream can come true, and that’s okay.
Because you never know, in a year you might look back and realize that you’re right where you need to be.