I seem to be writing here less and less. Honestly, like many of my hobbies and pursuits, I have a hard time being consistent.
I postponed my "exit plan". Nonetheless, I have not changed my mind. I have, however, struggled with freeing myself from the golden handcuffs. All the words of wisdom and responsibility keep popping on my head... leaving a good paying job, health insurance, benefits... all while, feeling like I am becoming soulless and more and more anxious about the lifestyle I am leading.
My therapist (whom I see on occasion for anxiety) has told me the "American Dream" can be a luring one that can get one astray from what's important in life. And I was glad he supported me on my plans to quit and take a year off for myself.
Aside from doing nothing and some elusive plans, I really do not have a definitive plan for my escape. Just that I want to feel free from the shackles that I feel hold me back right now. I am also planning a backpacking trip to South America with my little brother. Aside from that, I just want to exist without plans or expectations.
I feel a bit crazy... how can someone have a good job, good pay, good benefits and feel so utterly dead inside? It seems that every step up the corporate ladder has left me more empty than the step below, but I still feel the pressure to be successful, to conform. And still I feel that I am not the conforming type and that I only have this one life to live...and what a shame it would be to live it under someone else's terms.
This is it. My quit-the-rat-race date has been set. 8 months from now.
I have a Plan A, B, C and D for what I will be doing to support myself, but almost all plans include one fundamental item: autonomy. Except for plan D. Because if it all fails, I can always get another job (Plan D). Considering that my original plan was to take a year off, the fact that I am now thinking about being my own boss is pretty amazing.
This year has been especially hard on us. My hubby could have been seriously hurt in an accident and almost lost his job, we lost both our senior fur babies, we saw a close family acquaintance pass in her early 50s and 3 months later her son suddenly passed, only 1 week after turning 40. My anxiety has gotten beyond control.
I look at my life and recognize my mortality is an absolute certainty. Therefore, how do I want to exit it?
At first, I really thought I was going through a mid-life crisis (you know, soon turning 40 and all). I was missing my teens and the feelings I had then.
I felt I was becoming the most boring adult. But what I was really going through was a shift of how I saw the world. How I saw success, career, money, consumer goods, health and expectations. And I realized in all this turmoil, the one thing I wanted was time. Time to live, time to do nothing, time to choose, time that was on my terms and my choices.
I had to re-evaluate my concept of success and failure. I had to accept that my most important decisions came out of, not incessant research or preparations, but instinct.
Now, now, instinct does not mean I have not looked at the risks, pro and cons and if this all absolutely fails or if I have to change my target date (life does tend to happen with little consideration for our plans).
In the past 7 years, I have diligently saved money and paid off my debt. I have a low expense lifestyle. I have a spouse who shares similar views and desires (it is easier to change things as a team). I have saved about 2 years worth of expenses.
I try not to think about it too much. Otherwise, I will tell myself how absolutely insane it is too leave a good paying job. But recently, when I was listening to a CD about our Declaration of Independence, that this feeling really hit me. The most unalienable rights I can grant myself are exactly the ones I feel and want in my heart:"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". I want to live life to that standard, because otherwise, why bother?
I sit in my car waiting to go see a client and there is no desire, passion, good will... Only dread and the knowledge I will have to put on a fake smile and pretend I care.
It was in this moment that I decided to put on my calendar a quit date. That's it. In 12-24 months I intend to quit my job. I have really know defined plan aside from the financial steps my husband and I set for our escape plan: pay off the mortgage, pay off his credit card, I want to have enough money saved to cover 2 years of expenses.
Everything else is a possibility. It is scary and liberating at the same time. I am a planner, a ever recovering worrier, and safety is my second name. But I have also been looking at life from a very different perspective. From the perspective that life is absolutely finite. People die everyday and even if they live a long life, I am talking here we maybe have another 20 years of prime in our lives.
I really don't want to work my butt off to realize all the money I saved is going to prescription medication and that I am too old, too tired, or even too destitute to really live. I want to live now. Today. And the main drag in my life right now is work.
Althoug I am way too young to think about permanent retirement, I am not too young where I have my whole life ahead of me. I am in the halfway mark. And what if I die never having lived?
I understand that we are in a privileged position. We have no kids, I have no debt, and our carriers have been successful enough to allow us to save more than most people. I sometimes have a pang of guilt about doing what I feel is right but perceive as somewhat irresponsible, but the truth is everyone I know make decisions I would probably never make because it is better for them. Well, my instincts, more than my brain, have always been so right about the major decisions in my life and I can just go with my gut feeling now.
There is a certain peace in knowing this is not forever, that I am ok with saying "peace out" and not having any plan of what I may do after just that I need a break.
Wow, It seems that every time I now come back to this little corner of the world, a year has passed.
So much has happened in these past 9 months and if I am honest, most of it has been rather trying
The most painful is the loss of our beautiful Danielle. Last year, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and it was a slow decline from there. She passed away in my arms while my husband and I rushed her to the ER... just 5 minutes from our house. That morning, I hugged and cried with her and gave her permission to leave this world. She waited for me to come home from work and gave me the gift of being with her, when she crossed the rainbow bridge at age 13.
The above photo was taken just 1 week before her passing in April, and it hurts raw still. We miss her everyday.
Our Sparky is still here. In July, he will be celebrating his 16th birthday and I thank the heavens, because I know everyday together is a blessing and a gift.
We visited Costa Rica in February and although a beautiful country, we were not able to enjoy it. Danielle was sick, my husband's work had turned into hell and things were just not in a good place.
We adopted a new friend. Her name is Bonita and she is 6 years old.
Everything else has been... trying. I come to a place where I absolutely despise my work, but find myself having to wait a couple of more years before parting from it.
Our 5 year plan is still under way. My husband is also at a place where he can no longer put up with the callousness of our corporate careers and also dream with the moment we can say goodbye.
I have also envisioned a plan of where I may want to be, but I have to say, it has been almost unbearable to continue on. My consolation is to know that this will not go on for much longer.
We have realized that life is so finite, so fragile, and we want to live and enjoy while we still can. The corporate world is eating my soul.
wow, has it really been almost 1 year since I posted here? Is time really that fleeting or is it an illusion of the senses?
It has been an amazing, if not sometimes difficult, year. I have traveled, I have painted, I have doodled, I started ballet, I have dreamed.
My husband and I are now much more focused on our 5 year plan. We really want to stop working, if not entirely, enough where we are not completely dependent on it. I guess I will write more about it another time.
I think I missed this, missed this blog many times in my desire to find people who understand how out of place I sometimes feel, and how absolutely wonderful the world continues to be. Hope to come back soon.
Hello all, the blog will be going through some major overhaul and might be out of commission for about a month.
As I continue on this path of self-discovery, this blog has become much more than a manifesto for art and introversion. The blog is becoming more of a manifesto for all who somehow realized they are a bit cooky, quirky or maybe just off-grid.
Special, unique, weird, quiet, sensitive, highly sensitive, artsy, creative, renaissance person, shy, and all who somehow don't fit into the mold, be it by orientation, religious beliefs, or the need to focus on life, family, friends, as opposed to things. This blog has become a manifesto to all of those who want life a little less empty, stressful, anxious... for the wanderers...
I have some ideas of things I want to share with you in 2015. As this blog's focus changes, as my life changes, I want to share them with you. Many of you have touched my life in so many ways.... with kind words, with presence, and some with a deep spiritual connection, even though our physical bodies never met.
But first, I wanted to share something else. Above are 4 original watercolors that I wanted to give to you. Leave a message and I will draw names next weekend on the 21st.
Much love and enjoy your weekend.
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