I met a girl in college and we spent an incredible autumn together. Once I graduated, we went our separate ways, never to hear from one another again (or so I presumed).
After college, I got a job doing fulfilling work for a nonprofit television station in Erie, Pa. I bought a nice house and enjoyed remodeling it. I made friends, maintained hobbies, mowed the grass on the weekends...and it all felt like a massive trap. Life had become bland in only a couple of years, and I was only in my early 20s.
Then, one day, my boss paid me a high compliment: “You know, Nathan, you’re really good at what you do. I can see you in my position in 20 years.” What was supposed to be motivation was actually a terrifying proposal—to spend the next two decades working my way up to a bigger paycheck but otherwise stuck in more or less the exact same situation.