Back to Reality

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So today was my first day back at work after the holidays and I was dreading going into the office. Like really dreading it. I was in tears on Saturday evening with the acknowledgement that I had only one more day off. PTO as we call it – paid time off – the paid part seems to resonate with me. And I think this is the very first time I have truly despised the thought of going to work in my life – suppose I should count myself lucky as I think there are a lot of people who hate their jobs. I know there are. And they have families to feed. And loads of responsibility, which I don’t. But for me, this feeling is new. And disturbing.

I was off of work for nearly two weeks over the holidays. I spent my time writing, learning, traveling a bit, relaxing a lot and catching up with friends. My time off was good. And rewarding. And productive. And I would like my time off to continue. Indefinitely. I have a lot of things I want to do that don’t involve my day job where I work to fulfill and support someone else’s dreams. I would rather fulfill my dreams. But that damn handsome paycheck + my cushy lifestyle loom large. I am spoiled. I have never truly struggled. At 44 years old, I don’t think I want to start now.

I did go so far as to investigate cheaper living options. What if I moved into a smaller, cheaper apartment in a less desirable part of Chicago? What if that gave me the freedom to take a mindless job as a receptionist or as a barista at Starbucks (still need health insurance), so I could use all my brain-power to write and connect with people to promote my book (which is nearly done!). What if I packed everything up and “couch-surfed” my way around the world for a year? What would I do with my cat? Would I be able to be comfortable staying with complete strangers? Is it safe? How would it feel to not have a home? Would I completely freak out and worry that I would never make a decent salary again? Would I end up with a whole other life somewhere in another part of the world? Is this what I want?

I think the real issue here is the concept of freedom. I have been separated from my ex-husband now for just over a year and officially divorced now for eight months. Freedom reigns in so, so much of my life and I dig it. I thrive on it. I crave it. Freedom feels amazing. I do what I want when I want for the most part. The exception being the time I spend at my job, which can sometimes be 12 hour days. And now I am craving freedom in all aspects of my life.

No sudden moves. The lease on my current apartment isn’t up until June and I owe myself time to think. This feeling is new but important. I need to listen to myself and my thoughts. I am considering my options. I am considering my life. Stay tuned.

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