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When You Need to Escape, Build Your Own Countdown Clock

Before my dad packed up his cubicle and moved to a beachside office, he created a spreadsheet that displayed the number of days that remained until his retirement age.

It soon became a topic of dinner table conversation: “Hey, Dad, how much longer at the day job?” I’d ask. He’d respond with something like, “Oh, I don’t know exactly . . . well, I guess I do. Looks like I have 673 days and 4 hours to go.”

When you’re trying to escape a dead-end job or any other undesirable situation, create a calendar and count down the days to freedom.

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It’s Not How Much Email You Get, It’s the Lack of Purpose in Your Life

1194826111_0ecb951c52_b If you misidentify a problem, your proposed solution probably won’t work.

Let’s say you have a headache, so you decide to amputate your leg. You’ll probably still have the headache, and then you’ll be missing a leg as well. For more effective treatment of headaches, consider a glass of water and perhaps an aspirin.

Many other treatment plans fail for the same reason. Something is wrong, and you think you know what it is, but that’s just because you’re looking at the obvious.

You may feel, for example, that you’re “overwhelmed.” And perhaps you are. Or you may feel generally anxious, and perhaps you are—or maybe it’s something else entirely. But before you dash off to treat the symptoms, declaring email bankruptcy or a digital sabbatical, promising to return with a 28-day series of themed Instagram photos, take a look at the bigger picture of your life.

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Life Is Full of Things You Can’t Fix

Broken hearts. Mistakes that changed the course of a life.

Things that went wrong through no fault of your own, and the things that were your fault.

Global problems. Poverty of all kinds. The war, the famine, the flood.

The activist chooses to believe in the ability to make all things better, sometimes in the face of reason itself. Life is full of things you can't fix, no matter how well-intentioned you are.

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“What Should I Do With My Life?”

When I started AONC, part of the message I hoped to share was that it's OK to pursue an independent dream or idea. You don't need permission from anyone to do so. I'm not interested in criticizing anyone who wants a traditional life, but I also strongly believe in supporting those who want something different. The reality is that when you pursue your own agenda instead of someone else's, it's quite likely that some people won't understand. Yet, when you truly "wake up" from a life with terms dictated by someone else, the possibilities are endless.

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Chasing Daylight: Some Thoughts on Mortality

I recently read two books about the choices people make when faced with the knowledge of their forthcoming death. The first book is called Last Acts, and was written by a doctor who worked predominantly with hospice patients. Throughout the book, people make different choices—some seek to create closure with their loved ones and prepare as much as possible to say farewell to life as we know it. Others refuse to accept the reality of their forthcoming death and try to fight as long as possible ...

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Ever Feel Like Giving Up?

I do. It gets lonely out there traveling by myself, spending entire days without talking to anyone sometimes, hanging out in countries where I don’t speak the language and am obviously a foreigner. My work suffers and I make a lot less money than I could if I stayed in one place for a while;…

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