Do what you want to

When Dr. John Kitchin's vision started to fail him in middle-age, he left his successful neurology practice to pursue the only thing that made him truly happy: rollerblading.

December 10, 2018


Note: If you do nothing else, watch the video at the end of this post. It’s worth the 15 minutes.

Back in 2013, a short video made the rounds of a mysterious 70-year-old known only as ‘Slomo.’ A man who, to this day, skates up and down Pacific Beach in slow motion, balancing on one leg and grinning like a goon for hours on end.

His legend precedes him. Locals speculate that he was either homeless, or crazy, and some had heard that he suffered from ‘face blindness’ — turns out, only that part is true.

Dr. John Kitchin (AKA, ‘Slomo’) is a former neurologist who — when his vision started to fail him in middle-age — left his successful practice to pursue the only thing that made him truly happy: rollerblading.

Kitchin traded in his white coat for a bucket hat; his BMW for blades; and his prestige for judgment from friends and strangers — all in the spirit of just doing what he really wanted to do.

When I first saw this video years ago, it struck a nerve. I was going through a major life change myself: leaving the engineering field to pursue a writing career.

On paper, it was ill-advised. People would tell me I was selling myself short — that I could have an illustrious career as a ‘Woman in STEM (™)’ and I could always write on the side, right?

You know what I support more than women in STEM? Women doing whatever the f*ck they want. People doing what makes them happy, unabashedly and unapologetically.

This is not to incite a purge-like uprising of desk workers looting Best Buys and buying one-way tickets to Costa Rica. This is just to say, you always have options.

People are reasonable, skills are transferable and, if you find your personal ‘fountain of youth,’ you don’t have to keep buying FIJI water just because everyone else tells you it’s good.

When in doubt, do what you want to.

SLOMO from Josh Izenberg on Vimeo.

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