4 min read

40 - Amor Fati

40 - Amor Fati

The blazing fire makes flames and brightness out of everything thrown into it.

— Marcus Aurelius, ‘Meditations’

I started this year with The Great Eastern Sun and I’m starting my 40th year by walking into the fire.

The past few months have been the most stressful time I’ve endured with work. I only hinted about it on social media because I wasn’t entirely sure what direction I should head in. Every conversation I had about my situation started to make things a little more clear while a fire burned around me. Let me take a step back.

A year ago in September, the managing broker for my brokerage approached me to say things were not going well for her health. She needed to put a plan in place in case her health started to fail her to protect the brokerage and our clients. The first option was for me to pursue my brokers licence which would allow me to take on more responsibility for the brokerage, and ultimately take it over when the time came.

I enrolled in the course through the Sauder School of Business early that afternoon. Earlier in the day, my grandma passed away. I had her on my mind often while going through the course work over the year, using the bookmark that my cousin had created for her memorial service in the textbook as a reminder. In September of this year, I submitted the last of three major written assignments after a year of submitting multiple choice assignments. The grades came in, I passed that portion of the course, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

A written final exam was the last step between me and being able to save the brokerage. December was the earliest date I could write it, which was only a few months away. I was going into the slower period for my job so I was feeling good about where things were heading. This was mid-September.

Unbeknownst to me, my managing broker was approached by another brokerage to purchase her management contracts. I first found out from a different brokerage that there may be something happening, and then it was all but confirmed through a discussion with my boss. She had decided it was best that she sell because I hadn’t completed the brokers course within the year. The closing date was October 31st.

There are many layers to this situation that, ultimately, aren’t too important to anyone but me, but the gist of it was this: I could go work with the brokerage that purchased it, or start over with a different one. All the clients I had worked with over the past three years would be transitioned to new property managers and I would be left holding nothing. While deciding what to do, I had to continue doing my job knowing that everything I was doing could be for naught.

I felt like I had no choice but to start again. It was not an easy choice, not one I made quickly either. It took nearly a month of me talking with others to decide on the direction I am heading in. What gave me comfort in making the decision were the two words at the top, amor fati. Love fate.

Ryan Holiday had shared that message in a video in October, highlighting the phrase I quoted at the beginning. Marcus Aurelius wrote in the quote about adding fuel to the fire. The feelings of resentment and anger I had with the brokerage selling weren’t going to improve my situation. They weren’t going to go away if I went to the brokerage that purchased the one I worked for either. I would be reminded of what could have been for me constantly. I would be working with my boss’s old clients and tenants, hear her name come up in discussions in the office, and walk past the old office space almost daily. The fire would have continued to burn, making me feel worse.

While the sale going through was not my ideal situation, I need to see it in another way. This is an opportunity for me to embrace the change and start again. I just finished my first week with the new brokerage. Mentally, it has been exhausting for me: learning new people’s names, new procedures and documentation, and brainstorming ideas on how to generate clientele once more. At the same time, it’s allowing me to see areas where I can improve my workflows and areas that I can step in to help the new brokerage grow. There will be some space for me to look at other parts of my life, as well.

This coming year is not going to be easy with this change, but it’s a change I have to embrace and love if I’m going to get through it. The brokers exam can still be written, as well, in April. Multiple challenges lay ahead for me and I am going to walk straight for them.

If this is my mid-life crisis, I am ready for it. This is 40.


This hasn’t been easy for me to write, and now comes the harder part. I could use your help. Starting from scratch was something I never planned for. I don’t want to ask for donations, but would instead prefer to give you something in return for your generosity.

I setup an area on my site where you can download my photography for your personal use – desktop pictures, phone backgrounds, print them out, whatever you’d like. If you plan on printing them, I can send you a larger file that will print more smoothly.

If you’d like a digital book of my writing with some photography, email me and let’s talk some more.

I am also willing to help you with copywriting, setting up a website, solve your tech issues, and anything else I can do from a distance. If you’re in Kelowna, I can also offer my camera for photoshoots. Take a look at my Instagram account for the photography I can shoot.

Finally, if you would like to, you can donate by credit card or (if in Canada) send e-transfer to mcculloj@gmail.com

I would greatly appreciate any assistance you can to help me rebuild my business again. Share this message on your feeds or directly with a friend if you know they could use my assistance with a project.

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