*Post originally written 3/30/2014*
Tonight I write from the living room of my (temporary) apartment in Queens. It’s well after midnight and the room is silent, save for the gentle hum of the refrigerator. The only things I have to keep me company tonight are my laptop and my trusted companion Murray (the sweet rattle snake mug on the right). I’ve spent the evening talking with my parents, filling them in on my week, and rehashing the same conversations about my travel plans - all in all a usual Sunday.
But this Sunday is special.
Tomorrow I officially notify my project manager of my plans to travel for the next year and begin the process of leaving work. It’s been a long time coming, but I have no idea how my manager is going to take it - much less my client. Regardless, I have a feeling the entire exercise will be markedly underwhelming. From what I’ve heard, people over-emphasize leaving work, but in reality it's simply a matter of swapping out one cog in the machine for another.
Right before I left the office on Friday, I sent a meeting request to my manager to discuss the topic. As I drafted the invitation, my heart began racing the the point that I felt it was about to burst from my chest. Up until that moment I had not experienced any concerns with executing my plans, but now that it was becoming a reality I had a brief moment of hesitation. I remember staring at my laptop screen - heart frantically beating - wondering if this was the right decision to send the invite. I glanced up to see the depressing taupe cubical farm that lied ahead of me, and hit send without thinking about it one second longer.
I know this is the right decision.
As I sit in the quiet living room, I am still strangely at peace. I had a few bouts of terror over the weekend whenever I contemplated losing a steady income for the foreseeable future, but each time the feeling quickly passed. The decision to part ways with a stable income has been surprisingly difficult for me to accept and it feels like I’m breaking an addiction in some way. I can now understand why people have such problems with traveling long term - stomaching the fact that you will not have a paycheck is difficult to accept, regardless of your situation. All things considered, I’m significantly calmer than I would have ever expected at this stage.
I attribute part of my tranquil demeanor to the fact that everything has (so far) gone according to plan. My savings are on target (even factoring in the exorbitant tax bill I will likely have to pay next month) and have made great strides in downsizing my life - just this afternoon I sold my desk and chair. As of this writing, the only things I own are: two boxes, two suitcases, a backpack, a work laptop bag, and a mattress - that’s it - that’s the extent of all my worldly possessions in NY.
And I couldn’t be happier.
It’s going to be immensely strange to wake up one morning in the not-too-distant future and have absolutely nothing that I have to do. As far as I can remember, there have always been things that I had to do, whether it was chores, school, work, etc. and it will all soon disappear. I will be as free as the preverbal bird to spend my time doing exactly what I want - writing and getting ready for my trip! I am simultaneously thrilled and nervous to see what the future holds - this will be a stage in my life that most people rarely ever get to experience.
You don’t find many happily unemployed people in the world.
While I do have some mild reservations about finally making the jump, I’m not backing down. Tomorrow I will walk up to the ledge, gaze upon the unknown life that lies before me, and cheerfully catapult myself into it - yelling and celebrating all the way.
Because I know this is the right decision.