I’ve gone off and done quit my job. QUIT. MY. JOB. The nice cushy one at the research hospital. The big girl job. The measure of my success. The one for which we dropped everything and moved. I must be crazy, right?
Apparently, my opinion of success has changed in recent years. Because I couldn’t be happier with this decision. I might be sacrificing a larger paycheck, but I have gained the freedom to exercise my true passion: writing.
Besides, what’s the point of this life rustic adventure if I continue to spend two or more hours each day in traffic, sit in a windowless office most of the week, and have to wash my hair every day? Just kidding about that last one. Maybe.
And, I’m sure you can imagine the stress that accompanies a job in clinical research. If you can’t, I’ll just tell you — there’s a lot of it. Don’t get me wrong, the content of my work was absolutely fascinating. The science advances incredibly fast, and each study is more complex and interesting than the last.
But, it’s not the work for me. And I’m alright with that.
Perhaps if I hadn’t fainted when my high school biology teacher pinned down the folded flap of scalp she had just sliced from the head of a cadaver frog (and did its webbed appendages dart out in surprise, if only for a millisecond?), then maybe I could have eventually ventured beyond the desk, thus enjoying myself more.
But, that profession isn’t my passion. And we don’t have the time to spend our time on anything less than our passion.
So, here I go. Diving in. I’m exhilarated by new writing gigs on my horizon, and the smashing of laptop keys beneath my fingertips is more dramatic and satisfying than ever before.
I used to think that success was achieved by certain factors which, as it turns out, had little to actually do with me. “I’ll be successful when I make x amount of money. I’ll be successful when I reach x stage of my career. I’ll be successful when I command x amount of respect.” These ideals were less about what I actually wanted to do with my life, and more about what I thought I was supposed to do.
And I must say, any remnants of what I used to think I’m “supposed” to be doing at this point — well, they’ve been pretty much tossed out the window as of the last month.
Maybe, Sean and I are supposed to be getting a home loan and buying a house right now. We’re going to be nomads instead. Or, perhaps we should be hustling and grinding ourselves away to move up the career-based food chain. We’d rather just put in a two-week notice.
And for us, it’s been worth it.
However, I’m not trying to convince anyone to just quit their job, hit the road, and live as some sort of vagabond — I know every person has their own passion. But, if I could convince anyone of anything that even halfway resembles something, it would be to live the life you want to live, not the life you’re supposed to live.
For so long, we have been sort of herded into a way of existing, a way of shaping ourselves into a mold of certain expectations. Our wants, dreams, and desires are prepackaged and predetermined, for us: go to school, get a job, make lots of money, settle down.
Rinse and Repeat.
Many of our dreams that exist outside of that cycle fall into a black abyss of “the unrealistic.” If a person’s plan doesn’t adhere to some sort of system or order, it appears impossible to enact.
Breaking out of a mold, taking a leap of faith, embracing the unknown — all of these actions can seem intimidating and impractical, but I’d argue in their favor. Take the risk. Pursue the reward.
No single person’s definition of adventure is any more valuable or important than another’s — every one of us has our own truth to seek.
So, seek it! Whatever it may be.
Your happiness is a very personal thing, and it should have no bearing on any sort of social-based perception of you. Is that perception of you, really you? Besides, as the old saying goes, “what others think of us is none of our business.” Or something like that…
I know, I’m getting borderline metaphysical again and definitely off topic.
So, what has happened since officially exiting the 9-5 life? Sean and I were free to spend some time outside in the mountains while the weather was nice, not limited to just the weekends. It was so relaxing to live like that for a while, not bound to anything.
The past few weeks have been spent bouncing around family and friends — catching up with those close to us as important milestones are reached all around. I’ve loved being in the company of my best friends while making plans for mine and Sean’s wedding, and with new babies and expectant mothers among our group of loved ones, it has been refreshing and inspiring to be surrounded by the roots of our upbringing.
In terms of practical matters, we are finally able to tackle the most pressing projects required in remodeling our happy camper.
Hello, composting toilet! Eventually…
Other commitments have us back in Denver at a fast-approaching deadline, so it is crucial that we devote the coming weeks to finishing these projects, including the various hoops to jump through in order to have the registering and what not completely and accurately finished.
Add to that — the purchase of a new vehicle to haul the camper, the selling of another, and all the drama that accompanies researching and filing a nomad affidavit to retain the rights of state residency — and we have a plate overflowing with responsibilities.
Who knew it was actually SO hard to go off the grid?
This process is not always sunshine and flowers, and I haven’t yet written about the day that I cried at the post office because we couldn’t get a p.o. box. No physical address (house or apartment) means no p.o. box. What’s the point, then, right? Anyway, that’s another post for another day.
Looking forward, though, I’m stoked. I’m finally doing what I spent six damn years in college and grad school for. I thought what I was doing before was the sort of goal I was after — you know, that whole get a good job and make lots of money part.
After a while, though, I felt as if I was sacrificing my talent, creativity, and passion for a paycheck. I may be sacrificing something of a monetary value now, but I have gained much more freedom and personal wealth.
So, I think I’ll try out the starving artist thing, instead. The bohemian writers of The Romantics were always my favorite, anyway… And with plans for a tiny indoor vegetable garden, writing opportunities knocking on the door, and Sean’s envy-inducing job, I don’t think we have to worry about starving anytime soon.
The horizon is infinite, and I look forward to seeing what it brings.