ditching it (hopefully part one of a series)

 I really fucking hate going to work.
I know, that’s pretty strong language. I try not to cuss (albeit rather unsuccessfully) and I really try not to use the word “hate.” Too strong. Too negative.
But here it is, Sunday afternoon and I’m doing laundry and I have to iron shirts for work and then there’s dinner to be made and I’m not sure but someone said we have to go to the store for vegetables and I didn’t work out today and I was supposed to vacuum the bedroom and…
And to cram all of that into two days, including everything else I WANTED to do, like write a few things, edit and print some photos, work on a logo for my new online magazine, create some new greeting cards, look at magazines at the bookstore, watch a movie, read a book…
I just have a problem with it all. In fact I have several problems with it all.
How come I have to wait till I’m old to retire? Don’t get me wrong, I plan to be in great shape in my late 60’s, but come ON, I’m already in my mid-40s and this will most likely be as good as it gets. I don’t think anything is going to get less droopier or saggier between now and 65. Why can’t I have time NOW to go hike the Camino, or go to the gym twice a day to do Zumba… while it all still feels good, and I can still enjoy the physical sensations of it all from the perspective of a semi-young (relatively speaking) person…
I’m sure I’ll enjoy retirement, when I get there in 20 years. It’ll be great to putter around in the garden or yak with the gals while knitting caps for premature babies. But there’s a few other things I’d rather be doing, and I’d rather be doing them NOW.
If I could retire now I would spend more time doing the following activities, while I’m still young:
  • Zumba
  • Get in overall better physical shape
  • Travel within the United States and find interesting places for challenging hikes
  • Learn to quilt
  • Cook something more involved than a turkey sandwich and steamed broccoli
  • Write grown-up and children’s picture books
  • Publish a book of essays
  • Podcast
  • Volunteer to teach people to read
  • Day Trade
  • Get one more tattoo and color part of my hair blue – both just because I can and before I’m so old that they both seem even more ridiculous undertakings than they already do.

 And I would spend less time doing the following:
  •  Ironing
  • Making my lunch to take to work
  • Wearing heels and “dress slacks”
  •  Having performance reviews
  • Answering the phone leading off with “thank you for calling – insert company name here.”
  • Going to meetings while listening to people in suits try to sell stuff

I also have a problem with the whole 8-5 thing. I don’t want to work for anyone else. Well really I wouldn’t mind working for someone else, but I don’t want to work for a large company anymore. Sure, the benefits are great – they match my 401(k) contributions and they pay for part of my health insurance and I get a bit of profit sharing. But at what cost? I spend 9 hours a day indoors, with a view of a lobby and a little sliver of part of a tree outside. I am on display for everyone that walks by, like when you go to the Renaissance Faire or whatever and you see they guy making candles, or the woman making jewelry – I am The Hamster using two computer screens and trying to look busy.
I experience two seasons indoors:  “cold air conditioning” summer, and “really cold air conditioning” winter. I work for someone who makes over 5 times what I do. I guess my job helps people, but I still don’t derive much personal satisfaction from it, I’m sorry to say. I am working for The Man and I know it. And part of me hates it.
The part of me that gets a gym membership, enough food to keep me satisfied, a travel budget, healthcare and a new iPhone doesn’t mind the job too much. But the rest of me knows there’s more to life than living this way – trading my life to a corporation for stuff.
I know some pretty creative people – both in my family and as friends. Some of these people make their living being creative. Some are artists, some are film directors, some are entrepreneurs, some are musicians. They have found a way to make it outside the confines of the corporate 8-5 job. Some of them despise the corporate 8-5 lifestyle. For some of them it was never even a consideration from the very beginning.
I live with the constant nagging feeling that if they can do it, so can I, but obviously I haven’t, and so if I can and I haven’t, then there must be something wrong with me… And OK so I have neurotic tendencies, but still. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME BECAUSE I HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT HOW TO DITCH MY DAY JOB.
And here it is, later on Sunday afternoon – no ironing or vacuuming done, I have to get off the computer now so we can go the store because WE HAVE RUN OUT OF ZUCCHINI and I am all bunched up and frustrated.
Well one thing’s for sure – I’m not getting any younger. Will I look back when I’m 60 and regret that I never tried? I really don’t want to do that. Am I too chicken to try? It’s now or never, at least to get started…
Deep breath.
First things first – grocery shopping. Then…

Stay tuned…

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