Monday, February 19, 2007

January 18, 2005

I made my decision official by e-mailing a few friends bright and early the morning after I committed to resigning. The slightly edited message:

I am quitting my job and going to play. I don’t know exactly when, but my lease runs out March 31st, so will aim for that day.

This actually isn’t as rash or insane as it sounds. I’ve been pondering it for a long time—over a year.

Last night I ended up curled up in Mike’s arms, once again crying my eyes out, saying that all I wanted was to take six months off to snowboard and sail, read and think, and relax; to learn how to have fun. “So do it,” he said, “Get rid of this apartment, sell your stuff, and go do it.” And you know what? I didn’t fight him. Instead, I said, “Yes, that’s it. I’ll quit my job!”

I am so miserably unhappy now. I know in some ways this is a mindset and I could try to change my perspective on my job. But sometimes, radical change is necessary. (Sometimes, it isn’t all in your head or your attitude.) I can’t find the traction or wherewithal to do anything else. I really need to take 6 months to a year to play and read and relax. I have been thinking about it for a long time. Last night I finally verbalized it to some one else—and some one who I KNEW would support the idea. That means I am really ready to do this. I am ready to close the apartment door and walk away from it all.

I am rather scared about the idea, but also exhilarated.

In some ways, this is the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It is a total rejection of the path I was raised to follow. This time, there is no pre-set path. I’m just going to go, with no idea what I’ll do next. I just want to work at a job that is not too taxing and spend my non-work time reading and playing. Do all the stuff lots of other people did when they were teenagers or right after they finished college.

I don’t know what I should be doing with myself. Or what kind of life I want. Taking this time for myself is the best thing in the world I can do. I can’t imagine how I’ll be any worse off. I won’t have any financial savings at the end (probably a nice chunk of debt), but to find a way to light my inner spark, to take care of myself and my heart and soul’s needs, is totally worth it—A net gain, not a loss as far as I’m concerned.

My father is going to FLIP! But I think he’ll eventually be fine (I hope).

So, what I need from you is support and help. If my courage starts to flag, remind me that I’ll be fine.

And perhaps if you know some one in the places I go (not sure where yet), you could make an introduction?

Or maybe I’ll stay in NYC. I finally have a small community here; I’m not sure I want to leave.

It almost goes without saying, doesn’t it, that things did not turn out as I’d planned?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

January 2005: I'm quitting

I quit.

I was doing great in a high-paying professional job in New York City, "living the good life," apparently all set to ascend the "success" pyramid. And then I quit, with no plan as to what came next. I simply resigned from the job, canceled my lease, and put my stuff in storage in a friend's basement. Then I spent several weeks visiting friends and family--sleeping a lot, reading some, watching TV, staring into space--before returning to New York. Still with no home, job, or grand plan.

Actually, that was the plan--to take some time off to figure out what I really want. Do I want to stay in NYC or leave? How do I want to earn a living? What kind of work-rest of my life balance do I want? Basically: Who am I, and how do I create a life that I'll really enjoy? (Because the one thing I do know: the life I was leading was not it.)

The journey is what I’ll share with you in this blog. When I quit my nice professional job with no plans, I didn’t know anyone else doing it. But in the last couple of years a few friends have also done it. Watching all of us, I realized that there are definite stages to the quitting process, and that we need a lot of support when we hop off the hamster wheel to try to create a new kind of life for ourselves. So I’m writing: to give support, encouragement, insights into what I’ve learned along the way, and hopefully create a community of people who have decided working 80-100 hours per week to get to the top of the ladder isn’t for them—despite years of familial and social grooming for the climb.