Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When the Going Gets Floating...

So I'm seriously well into my "sabbatical" and have remained busy doing all of the things I promised I would. But, it's an odd feeling - floating between the projects of my choice. Of course I do not miss going to a job everyday and having to postpone my own personal projects, but I have not felt very grounded. Still, the experience has been incredibly life altering, even if I haven't outwardly changed that much. I still set daily and weekly goals for myself. I still keep a detailed status report on all my projects (old habits die hard). I'm still really busy.

At the same time, I feel comfortable and happy in this ongoing purgatory of uncertainty, opportunity, and "TBD" status. It feels like something really amazing is just around the corner. I just have to be on the look out for it and ready to pounce. It's like being next - which is really better than it being your turn. Anticipation is one of life's most enjoyable creations. I currently am Mayor of Anticipation Station.

There have been lots and lots of job postings in my "day job" field, and I have been compelled to throw my hat into the ring for some of the more appealing and fruitful opportunities. However, I think there must be something in the universe that is deciding a few things for me...and so up to now, the old life has not moved back in.

This whole experience has actually changed a lot of things about me. I am a better person in some ways. I'm definitely a much better wife. I'm able to do things for him that I never did before. And I'm also able to support him in a new way, that I hope makes him feel important and valued. Weirdly, I don't know if I'm as good of a friend anymore. I just feel really focused on my own projects right now. I see my old life as not just being a slave to the job, but also to all of the social commitments I ended up getting myself into and then resented later. I'm learning to say no more often, and letting go of some of that guilt.

I'm also a completely different consumer. I was an avid shopper to say the least, and the fall has always been my absolute favorite clothes season, ever since my mom took me to Belks for new penny loafers. Although I still look through some of the catalogs I get, I don't feel as compelled to buy the latest trends. Plus, I spend most of my time at home writing, or at rehearsals, neither of which require anything more than jeans and a shirt. I also am getting comfortable with not being as generous as I have been in the past. I would spend thousands and thousands of dollars on lavish gifts for my family and friends every year, and I'm not really sure why. I fear it's that I felt I needed to do this to retain their love or friendship. Now that this type of giving is no longer possible, I feel liberated. Now I don't have to try to one up myself. I'm especially looking forward to the holidays and reverting back to a more "normal" level of generosity. It will be rewarding to make or buy items that I can put more thought into, instead of just paying more. I also wonder if people thought I was a little too generous, like maybe I made them feel uncomfortable, and maybe they thought I was a little pathetic. I always felt like, if you have it, spend it, I'll make more - and you could get hit by a truck. Now that I have very little and live on a very, very tight budget (about $20 a week for "spending money"), I have found that I'm actually happier. I feel smarter. I feel healthier. And I resent my debt so much more. If I didn't have that - I would really never be worried! I have nothing to show for those three payments I have to make every month. I didn't use them to pay my college tuition or to pay for life-saving surgery. I didn't use them to fund a film or a play. I just bought crap. Crap that is currently sitting in three huge garbage bags by the back door waiting to go to Goodwill. And in three smaller carrier bags waiting to be evaluated for consignment. ROI? A truckload of regret.

So now I enjoy a slower pace and grocery store shopping. I rode my bike to the grocery store this morning - because I have the extra time - I don't have to drive anywhere anymore. I noticed a nice side effect of the bike riding is that whatever I buy I have to carry, so no superfluous items ever make it into the basket. This saves money and calories!

I hope you find your moments of anticipation to savor today - and hope you can find ways to simplify your life and time to realize your dreams.


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