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Cut off your past to step into your future

May 20, 2022

There is this deep-sea creature called Oarfish that can grow over 56 feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds. 

It boasts silver skin covered in leopard-like black dots, wears an orange mane, and is so paper-thin you can practically see through it. 

This leviathan of the abyss has been mistaken for the Lochness monster. Fortunately for all of us, as it sails through the sea of life, (being toothless and all) it sticks to a strict diet of plankton, squid and small fish. 

What makes the Oarfish even more peculiar is that it can amputate part of its tail to escape the predator’s grip.

The funny thing is the Oarfish can bear a remarkable resemblance to our own lives and our ability to cut away the past to step into the future.

I was 13 years old in the mid-nineties, sitting in awe at the first website I had ever built. I had just built my very own digital home with just a few strings of code.

Booooom! 

A few months later my coding skills had to accommodate my creative dreams by changing the color palette, inserting images, and wait for it… switching the text color from black to white. 

I’d always dreamt of being able to draw whatever my mind could conceive but I had given up years prior, discouraged by my 9-year-old peers’ outstanding abilities. I was intimidated to shreds.

The computer gave me an opportunity to cut away my past, much like an Oarfish severe’s its tail to escape to the future. I could now use my creativity as a designer to give life to people’s hopes and dreams.

For the next fifteen years and throughout my career as a professional snowboarder I manifested designs from my own signature clothing lines for Helly Hansen to snowboard graphics, product designs, advertising campaigns, websites and posters. 

But one has only a limited amount of extra body parts. So when I ran out of knees I retired from being a pro snowboarder and moved back to Finland after a decade of living around the world, tearing up the slopes. That’s when I decided it was time to go after the artist dream of mine.

Armed with an admirable ability to draw stick figures and portraits that looked nothing like the real deal, I entered the art school. 

To my surprise, after five years of banging my head against the wall (and a lot of crying like a baby) the all-nighters finally paid off and I was able to draw almost anything my imagination could think up. 

And then, I changed my mind. It didn’t feel like designing guns for Hollywood movies was exactly contributing to a better world. Like an Oarfish I severed my tail off once again.

Sometimes, in life, you need to cut off your past so you can move forward and pursue things your past self couldn’t do.

And then again there are times when you must dive into the abyss and dig out the carcass of your past and make your amends so you are free to face the future. 

Ain’t that a ringer.

A black and white photo of the author Jussi's smiling face with shortcut hair and a short beard
plenty more loot in the vault

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