Chart Your Own Course

“Hang the code, and hang the rules. They’re more like guidelines anyway.” – Elizabeth Swan.

So the second rule is…ignore the rules. We will pause to savor the irony before continuing.

Okay.

The first Pirates movie hit theatres in 2003 when we the Millennial generation were all in our formative preteen, teenage, young adult years.

Pirates are pretty much defined by rule-breaking, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first movie about pirates to make it big would come at a time when the generation that has become known for doing things differently was coming of age.

Millennials tend to reject the traditional college, job, marriage, mortgage, babies, retirement life-plan.

Partly because that’s who we are, and partly because for a lot of us the stable job never materialized and we’re too worried about finding affordable housing and paying student loans to think about the other stuff.

That sucks a lot, for a lot of people, but I think it has also led to a lot of the out-of-the-box thinking that millennials are also known for.

 Which brings us back to Pirates. Most fictional pirate captains are more-or-less based on Long John Silver from Treasure Island. They make a living by taking what they want, and get away with it by scaring the living daylights out of people. Yet somehow they also remain likeable because, hey, they’re not all bad.

And there’s Jack Sparrow who, while sort of following that pattern, has also managed to invent a completely different way to “pirate,” leading to one of the most unique and interesting characters I’ve ever come across.

He’s not all that intimidating, and despite insisting on being a pirate captain, he isn’t a leader. Instead, he succeeds against all odds because he’s smarter than he seems, and possesses a unique ability to wreak havoc with the laws of physics.

In other words, the rules don’t apply to him.

So if you want to be a modern pirate, one of the most important things is to realize that you can’t live a different life than other people by doing the same things other people do.

This assumes of course that you want something else, but if you’re reading this blog…

In any case I definitely did the first time I watched Pirates, and I still do.

By and large I think I have achieved what I wanted. Or at least I have arrived at an adult life with the financial flexibility and relative dearth of encumbrances that allow me to do the sort of things I envision doing.

For instance, when a travel opportunity recently came up I was able to jump at it with only a few mental readjustments. No spouse to confer with, no kids or pets to worry about, no concerns over where I was going to get the money.

Sure, details to follow, but no concerns over whether or not it was going to happen (at least as far as it is up to me.)

That’s the sort of exception-to-the-rule I was aiming for. Maybe for you it’s different.

But my goal didn’t just happen. I got there for a lot of reasons, but it wouldn’t have even been a goal if I didn’t have the belief that my life could look the way I wanted it to. Not the way everyone else’s life looked like. That I was (or could be) special.

Maybe that seems arrogant, but pirates kind of are. One of the things I liked best about Jack Sparrow was his ridiculous confidence. Which only looked ridiculous until you found out he could really back it up.

That’s who I wanted to be. The person who could chart their own course. And so can you.

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