114. My (healthy) envy of those who haven’t found their path yet
I’ve been a professional larp organiser since 2002. I own a 51% majority in the world’s largest larp production company. I sometimes do stuff that’s not larp related, but my path is pretty set. This is what I do, and who I am. Hell, my official job title is “Larp guru”.
I’m not always certain of how to get there, but I have a very clear idea of where I’m going. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Not everyone has it this way. Some are 19, full of hopes and dreams and fire and brimstone. Some are 55, and still wonder what they want to throw themselves at.
I envy those people.
I don’t envy them their doubts. Doubts can be crippling. I envy them their opportunities. While a finished painting is (usually!) a better piece of art than an empty canvas, it doesn’t have the possibilities of the latter.
That’s how I look at people still trying to find their way. Full of possibility. And knowing what I know now (and didn’t at age 23!), I can dream on their behalf. Sometimes I can even help.
I am not rich or famous or world changing. I am, however, a reasonably successfull entrepreneur. I’ve been at it for almost fifteen years, and I’ve founded a company that has grown to be something pretty special. I’ve been part of starting a non-profit that’s amazing, and I’ve helped give birth to other things that continue to amaze me.
The Danish national larp association. The Kort Sagt lecture non-profit. KulturKBH, which is an umbrella organisation for cutural non-profits in Copenhagen. And in a few days, the yearly Rollespilsfabrikken summer camp will run. I was part of starting that back in 2008, and now it’s on its tenth year.
That makes me absurdly proud. It also humbles me. In the context of starting out it also makes me dream of painting on blank canvas. And while I love the life I have – challenges and all – I also day dream a little of what it would be like to do something different.
“Every small company wants to be a big company and every big company wants to be a small company.”
I love this version of “The grass is greener”.
For me, it’s the envy of those who have time, and can choose what options to pursue. The high school graduate, who has dreams but no plan. The ex-employee, who has skills and passions, and now needs to do something new.
I’m lucky enough that I get to coach a few people. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I do. Looking at life from their perspective and adding my own experience, skill and mindset. It’s gratifying on a deep level, and I wouldn’t be without it. Of course I can’t make their decisions for them – but I can advise, guide and inspire.
And that leads me to why I’m envious. If someone said to me “Claus, here’s a blank slate. You have a year (or three!) to realise your dream.” I’d have a clear idea of how to do it. Now, I’m driving without a road map, and while the car has rocket fuel and an amazing set of co-drivers, I’m pushing the envelope and venturing into uncharted territory.
When I do mentoring, I may not know the specifics, but I know a lot of the tricks. I can’t guarantee anything, but I can say “This? This will work.”. And to see the other person’s surprised smile when they trust me and it turns out that Yes, it did work! that is something very special.
And that’s why I’m envious. Because I can’t help but think what it would be like if I was the one dreaming of becoming a writer/artist/expert, and had time and low expenses once more. I guess everyone dreams of being younger again, but it’s. not so much that. I dream of having no responsibility and a lot of opportunity.
It’s a day dream, and I know that reality is harsh and less glorious. I’ve been there. I’m still there. Just at a different point on the path. I’m not an unknown with a vision. I’m an acknowledged expert in my field, and the opportunities that come knocking on my door today are ones I wouldn’t even have dared dream of just five years ago. And if my 2002 self could see me now, he’d be in shock. Probably a little awe too.
I’m sure I’m not alone with this feeling. My advice is to find someone who is at a different stage of their journey and help them. Recently I wrote a blog post about being an entrepreneur and regretted not having a mentor. At least I don’t have to regret not being one.
Even if that also leads to some envy, it’s of the good kind. It makes me want to use the skills I have now to help them create shortcuts to achieving their dreams.
That’s a kind of envy that I not only can live with, but consider positive and healthy. And I hope I’ll be granted the chance to keep on mentoring and helping for many years to come.
And some day soon, I’m going to set aside the time and energy needed to find myself a mentor who can help me where I am now.
Maybe the way to start is to find someone who was where I am ten years ago, and now envies me. ;-)
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