Today, I entered an alternative universe, one that I’ve heard about for a while, but had never really seen with my own eyes. It’s as if the Mists of Avalon lifted and I entered the magical kingdom. It’s a place called The World of People Who Don’t Have Day Jobs.
Though I’ve fantasized for some time about arriving here as an independently wealthy woman of leisure, at the moment, my sole source of monthly income is a wee bit of employment insurance accumulated while working for the last two years. With little money saved in preparation (what, me prepare?), I’ve begun to suspect that this particular moment of liberation may be short-lived. But at the same time, I trust this isn’t so.
I’ve chosen to give myself the gift of this (undefined) period of time to not care about money, but rather, to manifest abundance. So far, so good. Exciting “freelance” work opportunities are presenting themselves. I am living more simply, and finding abundance at every turn.
How did I get here? I moved to Vancouver two and a half years ago and joined a nonprofit that, at the beginning of this year, closed its doors. Okay, technically, we merged into another nonprofit, but from where I sat, my job died a slow and painful death. Within a couple of weeks, I picked up a full-time contract that should have kept me gainfully employed through the end of the year, but due to circumstances too dull to recount, ended up lasting only two months. The end came without warning, though, and I felt like I had been unceremoniously dumped by my rebound job. There was a crack of lightening, and then a profound silence, from which emerged one word – freedom. It turns out that getting laid off was exactly the kick in the ass I needed to start on this journey, one that I’ve been preparing for a long, long time.
I’ve now had two and a half months of just “being.” I can’t imagine sitting behind one more desk in one more office for eight hours a day. There are far too many other ways of making a living that I want to explore. Now is the time.
During this whole PLUTTNL, otherwise known as the Period Leading Up To This New Life, I’ve been sneaking up on this blog. Okay, I’m a bit of a blogophobe, I’m the first to admit… I’ve barely read any of them, though one I do love is Effing Dykes, “a blog for the people who want to figure out which girls are gay.” Absolutely brilliant. I aspire to write something that funny and smart.
And now, after two and half months of writer’s foreplay, it’s time to get busy. Game on.
Today, this first day, really starts last night when I leave the alarm unset. What a beautiful, beautiful thing. Pure luxury. Yum. I sleep a perfectly deep and uninterrupted sleep, and wake up this morning around 8:00.
I feel like it’s my birthday, and in a way, it is. I put more effort into breakfast than I have in over two months, cookin’ up some eggs and toast with raspberry jam and a cup of decaf. I’ve stopped drinking regular coffee, as I don’t need it these days – no office to stay awake in. Plus I’m working on being a little kinder to my body than I’ve been.
At 10:00, I sit down at my computer. I spend more time than I should on Facebook (is any time too much time?). I skype with KB and find out that her wife and my best friend, EB, is safely off on her three-week expedition in the Rockies. EB is one of the great loves of my life, a true inspiration to me. I am so glad that she has the freedom and desire and strength to carry out this extraordinary journey she is undertaking. She inspires me to move forward with my journey all the time.
I’m finally supposed to have lunch today with my incredibly hot yoga teacher (a story for another day!), but alas, I get an email from her saying she’s postponing ‘til later in the week (hit by a bike? In the ER? Arm splint? Yeah, sure, could she have found a lamer excuse?). I had planned to go to her power yoga class first – it was her suggestion that I do that and that we grab a bite afterwards – but without her as the teacher, my desire to go to yoga suddenly vanishes.
A little after noon, I go for a jog in the rain. I’m loving these little jogs – I started this easy beginners running program at the start of last month, and am feeling GREAT. If the rain doesn’t deter me, it’s a good sign.
At 2:00, I walk to meet M, a fellow traveler, at Bean Around the World on Main and10th. We compare notes about living in The World of People Who Don’t Have Day Jobs, until I realize I really don’t have much to say about it yet. Today’s the first day I’ve realized I’m actually living in it, so I’d better start paying attention!
From there, I head off to the part of this new world called IGA. Who shops for their groceries at 3:00 on a Monday afternoon? Now I know. Me and a bunch of other people who apparently don’t work from 9-5. What are their stories, I wonder? The stay-at-home dad with the little kid in his cart is easy to peg, but what about the rest of them? Women older than me, men younger than me, everyone’s got their story. I’ll have to come back to watch them.
I call my mom from the chips aisle to ask her advice on a marinade for the steak I’m buying (I think it’s the first time I’ve ever actually bought a steak to bbq… strange but true). She answers her cell phone from the lobby of the hotel in Santa Barbara where she’s about to check in, and gives me the information I seek. She and two of her best friends have just driven up from L.A. for their annual pilgrimage to the Music Academy of the West, where they’d just attended a solo piano masterclass. My mom’s so cool I can hardly stand it. When we hang up from our 60-second call, I have an intense flash of gratitude and love for this woman. I am thankful beyond words for her.
I carry my couple of canvas bags out of the store and start walking home. Passing by JJ Beans on Main and 14th, I see a beautiful woman with long dark hair, about my age, sitting by herself at an inside table, looking out of the open window space. Is she waiting for someone, I wonder, or just sitting alone? I decide to find out, and walk inside. I buy a little bottle of Perrier (strictly a decoy, though I am in fact thirsty) and take a seat at a table near hers. She’s not waiting for someone – I can see she doesn’t have another chair at her table – but she also looks like she’s not interested in engaging, so I don’t.
Now that I’m here, though, I sit and look around and wonder again, who are these people? Are they working? Lots of moms. Lots of laptops. One young woman is clearly studying for school – I comment on how cool it is to have places like this to study in – there was no such animal when I was in school. She agrees, though says she spends too much money on coffee, which she actually needs to concentrate on the biology coursework she’s got in front of her. Good luck with that, little sister.
Mostly, I notice how busy the place is. There are few empty tables… quieter than a Saturday afternoon, but still thriving. The woman who sells me the Perrier says it’s always like this.
So it’s true – there IS a whole world of people who are outside of offices on weekday afternoons, who live in this alternate universe. I feel like Gulliver, having just stumbled into the land of the Lilliputians. So many stories to uncover, so many stories to be told. This feels like just the entrance I’ve been seeking.
And so, with this blog, I begin my journey of living in this new world. Let’s see where it takes us, shall we?