Cristopher Benitah

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A WRITER & FRIEND — He quit Google to write novels…

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QUIT, IN ORDER TO BE FREE

I met up with Filip on a cold day in February; he lives in a part of Stockholm called Södermalm. Our goal was to capture some outdoor photos for an upcoming interview. Sweden in the winter is not very welcoming, so we decided to abandon the streets and retreat into Filip’s apartment and the solace of an old Italian espresso machine. Though we didn’t capture all the photos we wanted, it didn’t matter; I knew we had at least one and that was enough. Instead, the day was spent talking about life and how becoming a writer had made Filip happier as a person.

While Filip is a dear friend, he is also an incredible inspiration to me and to many more: a person who speaks his mind and does not settle for the status quo. I personally met Filip in San Diego in the summer of 2011 while I was there working. A mutual friend brought us together and we instantly clicked. Even though we currently live oceans apart, we talk on an almost-daily basis. Stories about life, coffee, girls, work. It all fits and he gets me, as I get him.

In the beginning of 2014, Filip left his job at Google to start his novel, The Show. At first I was surprised to hear that he decided to quit a good position without another job lined up, but after he explained his reasoning, I knew Filip made the right decision. While The Show is a work of fiction, it could also be used as a general metaphor of looking at your own life, your own happiness.

Most individuals I have encountered in my life have a day job. This job is most likely not their life passion. Everyone is doing it for different reasons: Some for fame, some for money, and some for status. None for their true passion or dreams. Reading The Show reminded me of a speech Alan Watts gave in which he asks:

“What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?”

Living today, with the pressure of social media, makes it all too easy to fall into the trap of coveting objects, or “things.”We all want something we don‘t have and the culture today also allows us to do anything in our power to get the things. Usually the things are stuff we don‘t need, but we still want them.

How would you really enjoy spending your life… Think about it for a second. Do you even know? Some do, some don‘t. I didn‘t. It took me a life-changing event in order to understand what I truly wanted, and it was not the easy route I would have hoped it to be. I may not even be there yet, but I’m on my way. My path, my passion. To me, it is important to say no to everything that will hinder you from reaching your goal of happiness.

The Show, while fictional, reminds me that doing what you love is incredibly important, and if you are willing to fight, you can have whatever you want in life. Just think twice before wanting a “thing” and not an experience. Do you, be happy, and help those around you. It all sounds cliche, but once in awhile it isn‘t too bad to be living that cliche after all.

Filip is a person who left the safety net and the status of one of the most desirable companies to work for in order to pursue his dream of becoming a novelist. Perhaps he could have made more money and bought more things, but instead of pursuing objects, he pursued passion. That is, in my opinion, the most admirable quality in a person, and I am grateful that such a person as Filip is in my life.

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FOOTNOTES: Camera: Hasselblad H2 Lens: HC 80mm Film Stock: Kodak Portra 400 (B&W Conversion)

Cristopher Benitah