“Children are nature’s way of reminding you to live adventurously ”
My name is Jay Worthy and I am a 43-year-old father of four. It might seem strange that I choose to introduce myself in this way but I find it strange that society identifies us by our income. Certainly, I see myself as a father and an adventurer first, with my identity not being determined by my job.
To begin with, I had a very fortunate childhood. My parents worked hard, often multiple jobs to try and give me as many opportunities in life. I was a very active child and loved playing and being outside. Fortunately, this matched well with growing up in Norfolk, with lots of rural areas and open space. As a result, I spent a lot of my time playing in rivers and woods, really appreciating the natural environment. I truly think that children can tell us a lot. While adults often get stuck in the repetition of life, children are living in the moment. Without using too much of a cliché, it really is about the journey, rather than the destination and as adults this sometimes escapes us.
What then can we learn from children? Of course, children do need some guidance but there needs to be a greater emphasis on enjoyment. Academics and qualifications are important, there is no escaping that but they are not everything.
For me, I was not sure what I wanted to do when I left school and ended up studying Sports Science at De Montfort university. This experience consisted of too much time drinking beer and playing rugby, instead of studying. Still though, I had an incredible time, even if I wasn’t any closer to knowing what I wanted to do.
I still loved being active and asked at my local gym whether I could attend for free if I walked the floor. Little did I know, this was the beginning of a long and exciting journey. After a few weeks walking the floor, a job became available as a fitness instructor. Again, this was far from the most prestigious job, with an £8,000 salary. For me though, this felt like a dream come true. After all, I could not think of anything better than being paid to help others achieve their dreams, while working out for free.
From here, my career just progressed and progressed and I rose rapidly through the ranks until I became the CEO of a billion dollar company. I had previously visited the office of the CEO and it was that moment which convinced me that this route was what I wanted. It really was a remarkable journey, which involved a lot of hard work. However, with an increasingly ruthless drive for the corner office, I sacrificed living in the moment. An increased wage here, or a more prestigious title there, was superficially attractive without considering the potentially loss of weekends and evenings. Of course, the compensation was great but compensation cannot make up for everything. In honesty, this was an isolating and lonely role and it helped me to gain a lot of perspective.
Reading this, you may also be surprised to hear that I do not have any regrets. Truly, I am thankful for all of the experiences that I have had. Despite this, I would love to tell my younger self to slow down and live in the moment. Like I mentioned earlier, the journey is everything. I feel like my life has been an acceleration down the motorway. I was going fast and got to where I wanted quickly but, in doing so, I missed the sights along the way. In essence, I wish that I had just stopped and soaked up everything about life. I hope that this is not misinterpreted. Certainly, I am not arguing that everyone should leave their jobs and just enjoy life. Instead, I believe that life should be about balance.
I also refuse to accept that parenting is all about having an obligation to provide financially for your children. Again, while money is important, the focus should be on being a good role model and providing a path for your children to follow. This focus on money leads people to think that they are failures if they are not providing . Money can become all-consuming and that is not what life is about. The way I see it, there are 168 hours in a week and too many of them are wasted. Living as a CEO did not make me happy. Instead, I lost my energy and found it hard to regulate food, sleep and alcohol. I did not feel content, despite the great job and wonderful family. Money means a lot when you are on the poverty line but after that it should not be exaggerated. Certainly, what may seem a significant promotion can quickly become the norm. In turn, you end up spending more and the dangerous cycle begins.
Since leaving my role as CEO, my happiness has increased massively. I have found enjoyment in my friends and family, alongside my podcast, 28 summers. Here, I chat to people who really inspire me and get to spend time doing something that I enjoy. I still work partly in the corporate world but I get the opportunity to choose how I spend my time more. As a result, I have daily adventures but I also complete large-scale adventures. For example, I have four scheduled for this year, I like to view these challenges as purpose driven adventures. They are an incredible experience but I also get to raise money for wonderful charities like MIND and Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
In the future, I hope to continue adventuring and discovering more of the natural environment. With the benefit of experience, I am going to take time to enjoy the journey and truly live in the moment.