It’s taken six years and the majority of my twenties but I actually, finally, eventually, suddenly (?), did it. Not quite suddenly, I admit, because I “always knew” I wouldn’t be doing this forever. I’ve always had a sense that I didn’t want to work for someone else. That, if it were possible, it would be perfect if I could somehow turn my life into a business rather than operate as a cog in someone else’s. Nonetheless, six years dedicated to dusty monitors and bleary eyed alarm clocks, trading my time, energy, some stress and even a few white hairs for a decently high number in my bank account.
I honestly expected most people to tell me I shouldn’t go through with my plan. That I should be more careful. That I had a good thing going. To be fair to them, I’ve done one to two hours of work a day for the past year and a half. And before that, maybe two or three. I’ve never been much for working hard for someone else but hey: what you call lazy, I call efficient! The funny thing is that more people on our side of the wall have been urging me to be cautious whereas everyone at work was congratulating me for leaving and giving me that “I wish I was doing what you’re doing” look.
I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. For the office workers – and believe me I’ve always been scared by that identikit sea of office blue that greets you each day, the shade that says “I’m a good worker-bee: hardworking, dependable and non-threatening” – you’re going on an adventure and breaking free of the 9-5… only to return a little while later to “grow up and get on with your life. Get a mortgage. Be normal!” Whereas for those in our community who are concerned with financial freedom they would consider it a no-brainer to stay in your easy 9-5, ferret away a fat stash of cash and then close shop and move to Eastern Europe. The thing is, I don’t want to do either. I don’t want to plug back into the nine to five-trix nor do I want to permanently move to Eastern Europe; I’m happy for that to remain as a holiday destination.
When I woke up this morning – a bit earlier than usual – I took a glance at the light shafts peeking through my curtains and thought to myself “this is an auspicious day.” It reminded me of some of my first few days as a (sometimes) hardworking drone where I would get into the city early to beat the morning rush. Oh God… that was a terrible time. Crushed into a metal carriage to be sent hurtling through tunnels towards a beige monolith. “To think I’ve come all this way,” I said out loud, mulling over how I felt a kind of nostalgia for that time. It was shit. Honestly. But I think it’s the weight of memories rather than the quality which makes them feel heavier. Sometimes you know you’re moving onto something better but you can’t help but feel a twinge of melancholy. Anyway, if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.
For everyone else, it’s just another day. I guess part of me thought that there would be some grand finale where everyone celebrated/commiserated my leaving. But it really is just another day. You move on with your life and they move on with theirs. Another cog turning in the great wheel.
I’ll still live only 20 minutes away but these are two separate worlds coexisting in parallel universes. But at least I can tell myself I’m freer than them. The truth is that you’re never free, just freer than you were yesterday. Do your part to pick your poison and wake up tomorrow to see the rest of your life stretch out ahead of you.
Here’s a toast: to a forever of never working again.