Two months from today, I don’t have a job.
This has been a long time coming. I told my girlfriends over a year ago that I would be closing the door on my current job on September 1, 2018. No specific reason for that date, outside of the fact that it allowed me to finish another full recruitment year without pushing me too far into the next. That date, the day I set it, also gave me plenty of time to figure out what comes next, before wandering into the wilderness.
Here we are, over a year later, and I still don’t know what comes next. There are doors opening, but not yet wide enough to walk through. This is not the first time I’ve been here. In fact, it’s happened every three years, since the day I graduated college. 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018. Leave, darling, to be with the man. Leave, darling, to get the job. Leave, darling, to find healing.
Each time before, the knowing before the details. And so it is now.
Leave, darling, to chase your soul.
That is not an easy thing to explain to most anyone in the heart of America. It’s a couple of middle fingers to the way we do things. But I’ve discovered something this past year, as I’ve been writing through my life, deconstructing the story, charting the ups and downs, the seasons of plenty and the seasons of lack.
My entire life has been a couple of middle fingers to “the way we do things.” All of the best things I’ve ever done have flown directly in the face of the expectations set for me. All the detours of my life, the ones I never asked for and never would have chosen up front? They have all taken me deeper into the thick of the woods, further from the beaten path. It’s possible that, for me, life is there. In the wilderness spaces that are difficult to explain and quantify for the masses.
Here’s the truth that I’m stumbling over in the wilderness:
It was always going to be this. It was never not going to be this. I was not created for the “normal” life that’s been modeled for me for three decades. I have no desire, not even the tiniest scrap, to be chained to a desk for another year of my life, or to spend another day selling my life to buy some temporary, mass-produced happy. I don’t want that. I want freedom. Time. Space. Energy. Air. Stars. Mountains. Salty ocean water. Good meals stretched out over long hours with other wilderness-dwellers. Work that requires me to mine the depths of my soul, to give the very best of my Self instead of just the very best of my Time.
I don’t know what that looks like right now, if I’m being honest. It will inevitably be a process, one that includes some decidedly less-than-sexy steps that require hard conversations and self-discipline and habit-shifting and choosing to follow broader, truer desires than just whatever sounds good in the moment. It is never an easy thing, to turn the bus around and move in a new direction.
And yet, I know. I know in my gut that I don’t want to spend another three-year segment of my life trying to root more deeply into as-close-to-normal-as-I-can-stomach. I have no desire for normal. And so I leave, to chase my soul.