"Maybe you'll be able to retire by the time you're 40!"
"Haha, we'll see Dad. I love you!" I hung up and reflected. I'm doing okay financially, but it was a real road to get here, and when I look back I gotta thank Chip.
In 2014, I'd just gotten fired from a meager receptionist(!) job in a tiny dead-end town with no job prospects. I really wanted to stay in the mountains, but the best salary in the entire county was at the local hospital, topping out around $50k or $60k. I would need connections to even get an entry level position there (which I didn't have). This broke my ambitious heart.
I was also recovering from major knee surgery. After my physical therapy I'd hobble on crutches over to the recovery wing to visit my friend's dad, Chip, who'd just gotten a double knee replacement.
Chip was honest and vulnerable and kind, and he reminded me a bit of my own dad. We'd often discuss my struggle to make this tiny mountain town work.
"Then don't make it work," Chip would say. "You've got to get out of this valley. Look, it's beautiful here, it's heaven on Earth, but that's its curse. It'll suck you in like it did my son, and it'll strangle your dreams.
There is nothing for you here. But unlike Andy [Chip's son], I know you'll get out. You'll move to a city, and you'll follow your dreams.
And in ten years, you'll return for a visit. You'll be extremely successful. You'll be incredibly happy, and it will bring me so much joy to see you doing so well!
But you've got to leave."
So I did.
Just five days after moving away, I finally broke into my first real marketing job, and within a year I was making that $50k salary, and by the 10 year mark that he mentioned, I will be very successful (and I already am very happy).
And I will come back and visit, and say THANK YOU. Because if he hadn't told me to go, my stubborn-ass might have stayed, and maybe right now I'd be getting off my shift at the hospital, in some admin job that'd be a terrible fit for me, stressed and bored and poor all at the same time, wondering 'is this all that life is?'
And my life today is so, so much more.