019: Brushes with Death

We are drowning in information and gasping for wisdom.

We put our trust in people who demand it, but not in people who deserve it.

What's going on with the world?

"Don't speak for the world, Sam."

Okay, fair.

I'll speak for myself.

These last few years have been crazy.

I moved to LA in 2017 with big plans that quickly evolved to shit.

My car was totaled while parallel parked, my risky investment (in Shopify call options) tanked.

My "money plan" was the Chrome extension for Amazon sellers I spent the last 6 months obsessively building. I found a workaround that made it possible for Amazon sellers to contact their reviewers—an easy sell. $30/day profit. $60/day. $100/day. Then, Amazon deleted the workaround and, in a moment, my business died.

3 weeks of money remained.

My stress built, and one night, my heart beat funny. My vision blurred, I could barely operate my phone. I made it to a nearby Subway, and got the employee to call me an Uber to the hospital. For the first time in my life, death seemed possible (I later found out this was only a panic attack).

After this, I was just happy to be alive.

Flash back to a few days prior. I was in a coffee shop, writing a Facebook status: "Know anyone in LA? I'm looking for a couch to sleep on for 1-2 months for $300/month."

I fuck with you not—with my cursor on the post button, my friend Jason walked in.

"I'm moving to a sick new apartment!"

"Can I...uhhh...sleep on your floor for 1 or 2 months?"

He said yes. It felt like a miracle.

In a way, money feels like oxygen. I now had 2 months of it.

Flash forward to 2 nights after my panic attack. I was waiting for my Postmates and wrote a small guide—"How to buy IOTA cryptocurrency"—and posted it on Quora. At the time, buying any non-Bitcoin crypto was complicated.

My guide was well-designed, included screenshots, left no doubt what buttons to click, and included affiliate links to Coinbase and Binance.

I ate my Postmates and went to bed. The next morning, I checked my email. "You've made $10 from Coinbase". "You've made $10 from Coinbase." With 6 more of the same email. Holy fuck, if this keeps up I can stay in LA.

I darted to a coffee shop to build a website.

The next day, I woke up and checked my laptop—now making $80 every 3 minutes. By the end of that day, my net worth had risen from -$1000 to $1000.

Over the following month, crypto boomed to all-time-highs while I slept on my friend's floor. I made $120K and had enough money for 2 years.

Through this, I came closer to death than ever before—both financially and physically.

There was no choice but to accept it: I might run out of money. And when I was going to the hospital: I might die. Whatever happens, it's been a good 24 years, I remember thinking.

And there's peace in that.

It's only when the boat begins to sink that you throw off extra boxes. You thought they were necessary, but they're not.

Pride, shame, fear of what others think. Fucking toss it.

What's truly important? That is the question that death asks us. If we let it.

And we live in a society that won't hear the question.

The effects of coronavirus force our collective eyes to look at death. What matters?

Money? Fame? The approval of your parents?

Or the ability to tell the truth to yourself? The ability to let your mind ask any question, regardless of what the answer may be.

That's freedom.

To value the question over the answer.

Quote I'm Pondering

"If you're waiting on the wind, don't forget to breathe."

– Jack Johnson

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