Hey. I’m Steve. Not long ago I quit my tech job and bought a farm in Costa Rica.
Why? I believe adaptation is the new sim card and it’s time to tool up. So I got off the hamster wheel and started making my life make sense. If I can do it, anyone can.
Running with chickens
Running with Chickens is the first book the 3-part series. Part 2, Sitting with Sloths and Part 3, Staring at Toucans are due to be released in Spring 2021
"Irreverent and Mutinous"
A quarter-life crisis had crept into Steve’s whitespace while he sat, coding in his ergohuman chair at a successful biz-tech company in Silicon Valley. He was about to turn thirty and his simple life of work, alcohol and music festivals was being body-snatched by an unknown entity.
Steve says that when you hit your late twenties, you will likely go through the typical five stages of leaving your twenties, all of which include various manifestations along the anxiety continuum:
1 – Denial, alcohol, and gaming ; 2 – Anger, getting high on weed, alcohol, and gaming; 3 – Bargaining and travel to Peru to live simply and take ayahuasca ; 4 – Introspection and discovering shrooms; 5 – Reluctant outward acceptance and denial resulting in assorted anxiety disorders.
And with that, you are an adult. Have a nice day.
About the Author Steve Peak
At a young age, he realized he had to grow up fast as a tumultuous divorce broke up his family, the diagnosis of ADD disrupted his school life, and the challenges of growing up with his mom’s non-conforming attitudes and ideas impacted his daily existence. He says now, that adaptation is the new sim card and it’s the only way to survive in a radically changing new world.
Steve provides his take on your Facebook posts, his theory of enlightenment, managing his crazy family, millennials vs. baby boomers, and topics that will amuse or offend just about everyone.
He adds a few words of caution: If certain words not found in the dictionary are offensive to you, he suggests you don’t read the book and asks you to go back to playing with the dog.
My Umbrella Philosophy: We cannot just live in the now—otherwise, we would all be cats—the absolute present-tensers. I think of it as living consciously alert—being alert to the present makes it easier to recognize the spark before the flame and creates the natural path to the future.
While most people were busy advancing careers and getting married, I was throwing eggshells and broccoli stems in my garden. I rigged up an aquaponics system I built with recycled materials in the back yard of the party house I shared for 10 years with 5 roommates, a couple of dogs and random visitors that came and went at all hours of the day and night. After one of the dogs dug up my garden and a raccoon stole my tilapia, the house seemed to get louder and smaller.
Then anxiety parasites invaded my brain, and I realized I was in full throttle leaving-my-twenties panic mode.
A sort-of thirty-something adultness had crept into my brain while sitting in my ergonomic chair coding at a successful biz-tech company in Silicon Valley. Was this all I was going to do with my life? Code. Party. Code. Die.
It was time for a life-altering change. So, I sold what stuff had any value including my old-ass car, and gave away the rest including the construction zone light I stole one substance-abused Saturday night in Sunnyvale.
I only had enough money to chose one option. Would I spend a year traveling and then go back to a tech job later? Hum. Sounded good but that was a band-aid fix. Or would I buy property and fulfill a dream of starting a permaculture farm? Hum. Maybe a better idea, but how do I do that and where do I go? I knew I could figure out the how, so I went down my list of pros and cons about where. I researched and crossed off Sweden, New Zealand, Hawaii and Vermont. Oregon and anywhere in California were out. Kansas, Texas or Montana? No. At some point, Costa Rica was left on the list.
I invited 3 friends to tag along and so the four of us bought tickets and landed in CR in November 2016. A month later my natural building expert and friend, Whitey Flagg (he now goes by Bearfoot) joined me and we decided to partner. By New Years eve we were in contract for 11 acres in the hills above Dominical.
The book, Running with Chickens, is about the journey my mind took to get from Silicon Valley software developer to Costa Rica farmer. It is a data dump of randomness I’ve nurtured for many years and condensed into a few stories and my usual rants. For those that know me…well…you’ll recognize me…
Buy the Book
Excellent. Now, let us celebrate our new arrangement with the adding of chocolate to milk.
The beta version of me wanted to be a cool guy with lots of friends—a bit Tyler Durden with a little more Lloyd Christmas. Life was simple—I had structured my data to be the fun nice guy. I tried to be a full spectrum of social likableness. I just wanted to make people laugh, so I would do things like paint a large cardboard box, cut out arm and eye-holes and wear it around town pretending to be a robot and calling people “meat” (this was before Futurama, by the way). I got laughs, but it was hard to drink a beer that way… and I kept running into poles and pissing off dogs.
During the day, I was a tech-coder guy in Silicon Valley and managed to stack enough loot to throw down in Vegas, rock the bars in Jamaica, hit the coffee shops in Amsterdam, and experience a lot of music festivals. Mostly, it worked, and I was, on occasion, the boss of somebody.
At first, I liked being a tech coder in Silicon Valley but then I began to see the bottom of the iceberg, and that takes some doing. You have to be willing to hang your head over the side of your ergohuman chair and put your head into the ice bath just to see the upper 20 percent of the berg’s reality. Then the work-berg became my entire life—most of which was underwater and unmovable—or so it seems when you are perched on the top, ass freezing and hunkered over a computer 18/6/350. There was never enough time to examine and comprehend the magnitude of the berg—let alone try to chip it into ice cube size that I might have been able to use in my scotch rocks every evening while watching the Housewives of Somefuckingwhere with—in some future-world—my wife to be. Was that it? Code. Party. Code. Die.
But everything sucks, some of the time. It was just a job to me, but somehow a tiny hunchback gnome had slipped into my brain and was jamming me with a poking stick. My present simple moments were being complicated and compressed—restructured into insignificance.
Alan Watts was popping back up in my conscious thought.
“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”
I was becoming lifeless—my ass was being systematically melded into the shape of my syncro-tilt contoured chair. I couldn’t see what else there might be—my options seemed limited.
Leaving your twenties is a death of sorts—a death of dreams and ideas. Visions of the future came into blurry view—72ppi blown up where all I could see were large squares with vague outlines of what seemed to be my life—all life. Suddenly my simple life of alcohol and music festivals and painted cardboard boxes was beginning to dissolve, and I could see the matrix and the complicated little patterns that scrolled down too fast to comprehend. I looked outside the cube—social bonds were breaking, democracy was under attack, the world was dividing, and the silence was deafening.
As I was exiting my twenties, all that shit-thinking didn’t go down easy in my body. My brain objected to such assaults and took it out on numerous body parts. Anxiety will manifest as everything from post-nasal drip and ear-hair overgrowth, to chest pains and peeing in alleys.
Anxiety will kick your ass because it doesn’t sit still—it’s a snarling ankle-biter dog that romps all over you in a different way every day.
Some days the anxiety parasite burrows into your brain and hangs a hammock. It waits for those moments of vulnerability before leaping to the surface to turn a normal event into an ordeal requiring apologies, jokes, excuses, and places to escape to be alone. But you’re never alone. It lingers, hides and returns until you keep snapping it with a rubber band. Other times you feel outside of it like you could grab it by the neck and zip-tie it to a tree so the dogs could pee on it.
Anxiety is a parasite.
When you hit your late twenties, you will likely go through the typical five stages of leaving your twenties all of which include various manifestations along the anxiety continuum:
1- Denial, alcohol, and gaming.
2- Anger, getting high on dank, alcohol, and gaming.
3- Bargaining and travel to Peru to live simply and take ayahuasca.
4- Introspection and discovering shrooms.
5- Reluctant outward acceptance and denial resulting in assorted anxiety disorders.
And with that, you are an adult.
Have a nice day.
I have been trying to be personally sustainable for a while but tend to go to extremes. I know this about myself now and yanking the leash on that shit is just part of the path of reluctant outward acceptance and denial—I just call it the ROAD.
It’s a road much like many in Costa Rica. There are potholes the size of your grandpa’s duct-taped lounger, and driving toward you are old-ass motorbikes crisscrossing the mud like snowboards on powder, and then BAM—you slam on the brakes. Leisurely gliding to the other side is a giant boa that wants to squeeze the last breath out of your already-collapsed soul.
Options seemed limited. Find balance. Live in the now? I think this is where gurus get people confused and frustrated by asking them to attempt the unattainable. Our brains are too complex to truly live in the moment—the brain exists in multiple dimensions—it’s coding even when we’re asleep. It’s processing big data without our help or knowledge. The best we can do is live consciously alert by constantly pulling a nonjudgmental awareness into the present—it means slamming the door on the past and locking it in a room. Thinking about what should be or what we should have done in the past is the ultimate waste of time. Slam the door on those gargoyles and only observe them from the distance of the peephole.
And the future? We cannot just live in the now—otherwise, we would all be cats—the absolute present-tensers. I think of it as living consciously alert—being alert to the present makes it easier to recognize the spark before the flame.
The above is an excerpt from the chapter: Reluctant Outward Acceptance and Denial, a.k.a, the ROAD