Life is good. 

Instead of making a living spending my time 5 days a week (or more) sitting in a dark doorway from 10PM-6AM (or longer) and listening to kids fart and snore, I now sit next to a tattoo-equipment-covered picnic table from 10AM-5PM on weekends and watch people walk by at flea markets in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.  Some stop and look at what's offered for sale, others just want to talk and show off their ink.  Some buy full kits, needles, ink, or some other type of esoteric implement designed to produce pain and scabs... and lasting artistic marks on their bodies.

The picture above was taken in Austin last week, and there I am, at work.  Yes, I'm my own boss.  I enjoy helping people find what they want and need, and providing it at a price they're willing to pay -- and that earns us  enough to pay our bills.  My wife and I enjoy having folks come over to the house, too, and have made friends with a number of our satisfied repeat customers.  For sure, the phone rings  more often nowdays.  We spend a lot more time on our computers updating our WEBSITE, taking orders, and chatting live or online with wholesalers in China and elsewhere.  That's OK.  I LIKE people, and I LIKE selling!  And, I like to think I'm good at it.  If nothing else, we're earning enough $$ to keep getting new tattoos ourselves --

But you know... it doesn't seem much like WORK, even though it is, of course.  For better or worse, it's "making a living " -- on MY terms -- AND making more money doing it, to boot!  Oh, yeah, it was scarey, leaving the supposed security of a State Job -- but I've never looked back.  What are the benefits?   Well, my wife says I'm much more fun to be around since I don't come home bitching about my job... and I KNOW my blood pressure has gone way down.

Bottom line is --  when I was contemplating leaving GSS I remember people telling me that they too would like to get off the sinking ship the school had become -- but that they "couldn't".  They had bills to pay, kids to raise, stuff like that.   And they're probably STILL working for TJJD, hating it, hating themselves, hating the way they've gotten themselves trapped in a 40+ hour a week grind that provides little or no "satisfaction" other than receiving a (hopefully regular) damn paycheck.

But I'm here to tell them, and anyone else reading this, that you only get ONE chance to follow your dream in life.  It took me YEARS to get off my butt and decide enough is enough.  Slaving away in a velvet-lined rut does have some advantages but it's just not ME, so, here I am at this junction in my life -- a 57 year old man starting all over.   And it scarey as it still is, and always probably WILL BE, it feels GOOD.  For the FIRST TIME in my life, I feel like I'm doing what I SHOULD BE doing, for ME, instead of working for others who dosn't understand or care about me as an individual.

Better late than never.  It's about time...