The importance of this little story is not to tell you why I am a carpenter. It goes far deeper then that.
If you are young and rebellious and discouraged as I was when I left the military and joined the work force, fear not. There is a place for you. All you need to do is not be afraid to search and find it.
When I was a young man I quit every job I had within a very short time. I never had a deep love for money and I hated to go to work because it interfered with my partying. I said, “the hell with that, “I’ll be a bum,” . . . and I pretty much was.
But I was also too proud to take handouts . . . so I reluctantly became a working bum. I worked odd jobs, took care of myself, never asked anybody for anything, but in my heart I didn’t have what it took to be a bum. I didn’t know what I wanted actually, and for the few years before and after 1970 I just existed.
Then one day after taking an odd job I discovered how much I loved pounding nails and building things. From that time on I was a carpenter. . . and proud of it.
I enjoyed getting up early in the morning and driving to the job site. I enjoyed the ruggedness, the camaraderie, the long hours in freezing temperatures or baking in the hot sun. . . it was me, it was mine. I had found my path.
They told me that in order to be to be a journeyman carpenter I had to join the union and become an apprentice for four years. I said, “the hell with that.”
I went to the library and spent one whole Alaskan winter studying the craft of carpentry. The following Spring when building picked up, I bull shitted my way onto a framing crew building houses and never looked back.
I worked hard, continued my studies, and after a lot of on-the-job training, I learned all the various phases of carpentry and became a home builder in my own right. I started my own company and built houses for many years . . . then I moved to furniture, music instruments, and various other things.
Today as a retired gentleman of leisure, I still enjoy building stuff and I swear one day I’m gonna go back in the woods and build myself a tree house. . . . may next Spring.
That’s just me. That’s what I did because it fit my personality, but that was my bliss . . . and believe me, following the money trail is a dead end street regardless of your portfolio’s size. Life is only worth the effort if you, like Joseph Campbell said, follow your bliss.