Reporting from one week into the Unknown
It’s coming up on one week that I have been gone from work and thus far, I haven’t completely capitulated and begged to have it back. I have had a few bowel loosening moments when contemplating the magnitude of this move but it’s also been kinda fun and liberating. Focusing on putting one foot in front of the other has always been helpful when running a really tough hill and luckily, it appears to also work when completely turning your life upside down. For posterity’s sake, I have been carefully tracking my conversations with myself over the last week or so. Here is what I have been saying:
“Shitshitshitfuckfuckfuckohmygodohmygod. Fuckfuckfuck. Jesushfuckingchristwhathaveijustdone. Shitshitshit. ohmygodiamanidiot. Fuckityfuckfuck.”
“Helloooo Mid-life Crisis! I wasn’t sure we’d ever get to meet, but here you are! How long do you plan to stay? Ah.. six months- perfect!”
“Don’t panic. All you need is a towel, right? That’s what Douglas Adams said. And, I know all about 42, so there’s that. Or is it 43? Crap. I will not panic. Where is that goddam book?!”
“Maybe we should get a cat.”
“Ten things that will be better now (in no particular order): sleep, stress, sex, running, kids, writing, reading, eating, … okay, that’s eight but they are eight REALLY good things!”
“Ten things that will be worse: Money x10. Whatever- Retirement is for suckers. So is financial security.”
“Now is the perfect time to invest in the children of Washington State by playing the lottery.”
After some investigation- “5 bajillion dollars?! That’s how much I have spent at Amazon and Starbucks over the last year?! Well obviously, it’s home brew coffee and the library from now on. SRSLY PEEPS.”
“Can I start a Kickstarter for this? I have seen some lame stuff on Kickstarter (not really), surely I can do better! I will use my first chapter as a teaser! Wait, what if everyone hates it? <sob>”
“I have always wanted to play the violin, maybe I should take lessons.”
“The kids have too many toys- I can totally sell half their shit and they won’t know.”
“It’s been two hours and all I’ve done is browse Reddit. My life is a sham.”
“When can I wear sweats? Is there some kind of grace period before one starts to not get dressed anymore?”
“I vow to ride my bike everywhere…”
“What’s the etiquette for asking for one’s job back? One year? Six months? Three months? Gah- definitely one year.”
“I am totally going to rock this out! Can’t wait to start… right after this nap.”
“It’s been too long since I have experienced the joys of eating ramen and I know the kids will love it!”
These conversations and worries were the loudest directly after I announced my intention to leave and have, thankfully, begun to taper off. I have also come to another important decision- I am not going to pursue another role, no matter how good, for roughly six months.
Earlier this week, I had an opportunity come up from another big tech company and after an initial conversation with the hiring manager, I discovered that it could be an awesome role and a great fit for both my passions and skills. At the end of our conversation I eagerly said, “Yes, let’s talk more!”, but after I got home and began to reflect, I could feel part of my brain completely freaking out and saying “No! No! No! This isn’t why you quit.” and thus realized after pulling my fingers out of my metaphoric ears, that I didn’t want to jump from one high tech job to another- I truly want to try writing, even if it’s just for six months and see what happens.
Tony and I also sat down with our financial advisors (so, it was just the two of us) and “ran the numbers”. Sidebar- I have always loved this phrase, it makes me think of the old adding machines that produced a paper tape as your fingers danced across the satisfyingly blocky keys and poured out that mesmerizing sound as you added up columns of figures. When I was younger, even in my twenties, that sound felt so “professional and sophisticated”- I always looked for excuses in my first “real” job to use the adding machine rather than a boring old calculator. Anyway… we ran the numbers. Turns out the revenue column is very short and the debt column is depressingly long, but we do have enough squirreled away to “subsidize” my writing for the next six months or so- and, at least for me, once we quantified that number, I could call it an “investment” and set about persuading Tony that it would be a good allocation of our retirement funds. Now, humble brag- Tony didn’t take any persuasion! He has been 100% (I was going to say 1000% but he’d protest the accuracy of that statement) supportive this entire time and says he doesn’t care if I even make any money as a writer! Hahahaha! Life of leisure here I come! No, no, not really. But it’s obvious that I have the best. spouse. ever. Case closed.
So, I’m off to update my LinkedIn profile to “freelance writer” and from this moment forward I am hanging out my shingle as just that. If you need copy written, speeches, vision statements, blog posts, you name it- I’m up for doing it and would love to get a few professional credits to my name, while I grind away on my book. Thanks!