After word began to get out that I was leaving my company to go out on my own as an independent contractor, I received a curious email on my work account. It landed in my Inbox as opposed to Junk Mail folder, although I didn’t recognize the email address. The email contained only the following:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. — Mark Twain
I was very curious about who sent this to me – I wasn’t concerned that it was a virus or phishing attack as there was no link to click on, no request for personal information. Just the nearly 50 words above. I tried a little “reverse engineering” to see if I could find out where the email came from, but to no avail. (I am sure there are programs out there that strip out any identifying characteristics of your email or IP address, although I am not familiar with them and my technical acumen is limited at best.)
To be sure that I wasn’t being mis-lead, I did a bit of research and sure enough, it is a legitimate Mark Twain quote. I have no idea who would send it to me, or if it was even meant for me – perhaps a colleague who wanted to show his or her support of my decision, but wasn’t comfortable making his or her support publicly known for a variety of political / professional reasons. Or, it was never meant for me at all, rather sent by someone who misspelled my name or company — perhaps even originally a virus or malicious program that had all the dangerous content stripped by the security filters before it arrived in my inbox.
Regardless, I love that quote. It could not be more appropriate for what I’m going through right now, or my journey to get here. (In addition, it could very well be the answer to my frequently asked question, “What Would Lady Gaga Do?”) How devastating that it took a personal tragedy to shake some sense into me and force me to take a closer look at myself and really ask, what the hell are you doing? Is this really how you want to live your life?? Are you HAPPY?
Moving forward, I hope each day contains a little exploration, dreaming and discovery. After all, I’m sure that in 20 years, I will not regret the chances that I took, successful or unsuccessful as the outcome may be.
So to whomever sent me that email, be it intentional or unintentional, a person, machine or a malicious program — THANK YOU. And, I will.