“They did not know it was impossible, so they did it.”
I have had a passion for cars for as long as I can remember. My father first introducing me to them, my child-like curiosity and desire to know everything about them growing from that moment. One of the best Christmas gifts I ever received was a subscription to Road & Track magazine. I was eleven years old and would wait, not so patiently, for each issue to arrive. I would read it cover to cover. I would rarely understand the technical aspects, I was interested in cold, hard facts. Every vital statistic would be etched into my brain; horsepower, 0-60, 1/4 mile (time and speed) and top speed. I would happily recite this information to anybody willing to listen. Road & Track became my Bible.
The first two exotic cars I encountered were a 1978 Aston Martin Vantage and a BMW M1. I could recite the circumstances around seeing both as if it had happened a minute ago. I had remote control cars that I would build by hand, carefully maintaining them and then customizing them to go faster. Always faster. I had a go-cart purchased from a neighbor who had grown too old for such things. My father tuning the governor so that it too could achieve the highest possible speed. I was a lucky kid.
I don’t want to say my passion dwindled as I grew older, the sight and sounds of an exotic still stirring my soul, but something changed. My focus went to other things. Was it a time to grow from childish things? Or was it fear? Fear to chase what I truly loved for fear of destroying it? It was fear. I chose the safer path. A path that eventually led to a high paying job that allowed me to spend money on things, not experiences. I became a slave to these things. My perception of what was important in life became skewed. I lost myself in a sea of things.
Fear took over. A deep-seeded feeling of unworthiness consumed me. All of which contributed to my perpetrating my crime. As I rebuild my life I have focused on what I liked as a child, who I want to be as a man, what values are important to me. How can I be the best version of myself that I can be.
One place to start is to ask the child inside me (inside all of us),
“What makes me happy? What puts a genuine smile on my face and ignites a fire within me?”
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman
For me the answer is cars. Always has been. So I have been slowly reintroducing myself to my love of the automobile. I say slowly because I still hold a fear of somehow destroying what I love.
I recently watched Urban Outlaw (http://magnuswalker911.blogspot.com/p/urban-outlaw.html), a thirty-two minute documentary on Magnus Walker. A man who followed his childhood passion to become one of the worlds most prolific Porsche collectors and Porsche tuners. The story is an inspiration for anybody looking to pursue their dream, regardless of what it may be. Watching the documentary brought back my childhood feeling of anything is possible. As the film played I realized I would relish the opportunity to work in an environment surrounded by what I love and what I dreamed of as a child.
So today I e-mailed Magnus Walker. I thanked him for what he has done, the inspiration he is to me. I asked to be part of his team. Doing whatever it is he had available for me to do. I told him my story, my crime, my punishment, my desire to die. The gift of a second chance I have been so fortunate to receive. I have no experience with working on real cars, I have never driven on a racetrack. Nor have I even driven a Porsche. But I know what I love and what I would like to be surrounded by everyday. It is not only the cars, but the passion, the drive and the goal to create something extraordinary.
This may not work out, but I tried. And I will continue to try. When I am done with my prison sentence and it is time to leave the safety net of my post prison job at the gym I will not conform to how things are “supposed” to be. Maybe what my family would wish for me. I will not become a corporate drone again, working a soulless job for a fat paycheck and health benefits. Any job I take will be one where I am surrounded by that which I have passion for, a job that I can learn from, a job that matches the set of values I have created for myself and will lead me on the path I want to walk on. I will live life on my own terms, doing what I love.
I was scared to send the e-mail to Magnus. Scared for putting myself out there to a stranger. Scared for what he would think. I took this fear and analyzed it. I asked myself two simple questions,
“What is the worst that can happen?” and “What is the best that can happen?”
The answers were easy. The worst was a “no”. The best was the opportunity to meet someone I admire, move to a city that I was thinking of moving to anyway, being surrounded by amazing cars everyday, learning new skills and fulfilling a life long dream. My decision became pretty obvious.
My 1% today was pursuing one of my dreams. My 1% was going outside of my comfort zone and reaching out to someone I admire. Sharing my admiration for them, thanking them for what they have done and asking how I can be a part of it. It is impossible for nothing to come from this, the mere act of sending the e-mail has already provided me with so much.