Hard Choices: Taking the Red Pill 💊

“Curiosity killed the cat, but he had nine lives.” — @xmd404

Xavier Marcus Duncan
Jul 13 · 3 min read
Morpheus & Neo’s “Red Pill vs Blue Pill” Scene — The Matrix
Morpheus & Neo’s “Red Pill vs Blue Pill” Scene — The Matrix
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.” — Morpheus, The Matrix

In December of 2015, I decided to leave my job and pursue a career in full stack web development. I burned my fair share of bridges and pissed off a lot of people. But that decision, along with dropping out of college in 2012, were two of the best I’ve made in my life.

To be fair, I won’t lie to you like it’s been easy. It took me well over a year to land my first “real” development gig, and since it’s with an early-stage startup I am still piss poor. For clarity and adding color to this beautiful picture:

  • Last night, I ate ramen noodles and peanut butter crackers.

Last but not least, I am currently writing this post using the free wifi @ McDonald’s, my gas tank is on E, and I’m drinking my third refill of free water because I cannot afford a $1 coffee (Spent my last $1 on a chicken biscuit; I’m vegan).

But I’ll be damned if I have any regrets, or if I didn’t wake up this morning smiling ear to ear. You see, in exchange for money, titles, and stability, I’ve traded up for something better: happiness, purpose, and freedom.

Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” Album Cover
Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” Album Cover
Photo: Courtesy of Def Jam · Roc-A-Fella

“See I went to school… then I started my own business. They say, ‘Oh, you graduated?’. No, I decided I was finished.” — Kanye West, The College Dropout

Every single day, I wake up and do whatever my heart desires. There are days where I just lay in the shade, reading Aikido books and playing Pokemon ROMs on a GBA emulator (or N64, or Sega Genesis… all on my phone!). Other days I work on one of several book ideas or prototype a new app.

I am not lost in a sea of bodies, just another worker bee with an empty title and an employee number. I’m on first name bases with all my clients. I work side-by-side with founders and CEOs. I help solve interesting problems…

Originally written + published in 2017 via xavierduncan.com. This is a WIP and needs to be “finished” — whatever that means, and which I may or may not do.

😊 ✌🏽 💙

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