I dreaded this day for a lot of the month. It seems, well, old. And it’s not of course, but it just seems old. I was once (apparently) 30 years old. That’s like 15 years younger. Actually it’s exactly that. I’m 50% older than that.

And, of course, it’s a mistake to think like that, because frankly, yer lookin in the wrong direction. I hate to sound like an Obama ad, but I’m looking forward.

By the beginning of this week, I felt differently about turning 45. And by last night, I felt great about it. It represents a clean slate, a new start on the next 45 years. A full third of my life has passed. 🙂

And the more I thought about it, the more I decided that that’s exactly what this is: closing the door on a really amazing life–full of accomplishments, failures, joy, pain, love, mistakes, learning, growth, great people, a few lousy ones, opportunities I never dreamed of when I was 20, crazy debt, crazy money, and then normalcy–a rich life, and opening the door to the next one, but better equipped.

So when I woke up this morning, I smiled and thought about what I get to do today. Checked my phone, and had a nice text from a great friend wishing me a great day, and then a bit later another one from a new friend I met through gardening, and then an email or two, and it all reminded me of the sources of joy in my life.

And I made a decision by Wednesday that I’ve been building toward for years. My life’s work–what is it? In past posts I’ve talked about it, and thought it was to help the helpers.

But I’ve come to realize that I need to be the helper too, and that there’s a big problem in my city that we can fix, and maybe, if it works, maybe it will serve as a model for other cities: ending poverty as we know it, largely through business organized around employing people, like Greyston Bakery (we don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people).

Part of my decision is to start to leave the tech world in the next year or two; my next gig will likely be my last (for now).

Chasing the next big thing, raising capital, sitting at computers all day–it’s actually fun but it doesn’t feel like meaningful work as much as it did. It’s possible I’ll jump back in too–this might be just a catalyst role and I discover something along the way I have to pursue.

What I’m doing now with HN feels pretty good (helps the helpers) but there’s this nagging feeling that I’ve been neglecting to commit to this mission, and I’ve known for about 7 years that I need to do this sometime soon. It’s a big, crazy, scary mission–just the kind I like to take on.

And it will take 15 years. Or less. Or a lot more. This is the first time in my life where I’ve looked further ahead than 2 years, and even that was a struggle.

So I don’t know what the next 45 years will look like, but I have set my sights on the next 15, and it’s invigorating to think about. When I made the decision, I suddenly felt, well, relieved.

I’m grateful for this life and the people in it, including the 3 and a half people who read this blog, and I’m looking forward to the new adventures, successes, failures, joy, pain, love, mistakes, learning, growth, great people, and opportunities, so thank you if you’ve had a role in it.

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