Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Into the Wild Blue Thingy

So, you know that scene in the movie where the guy rips off his tie and says "I quit!" and then he goes off to fight crime or become a spy or something?

I basically just did that. Except I don't wear a tie. And fighting crime is hard when you cringe away from every punch and scream "Not in the face! Not in the face!"

But aside from that, it was just like that.

Okay, it wasn't really like that at all. Except that I did leave my job, and now I am boldly facing the future with what I hope is the barest minimum of pants-wetting.

So what happened?

It's a weird sensation to watch your own life slip away from you. You do the same thing, day after day, knowing that you're not really moving in the right direction but somehow rationalizing it, like maybe at some point you'll be able to tack into the wind and make up lost ground. Or water. Lost water. Whatever.

Only, the where and how of that little TBD miracle remains a bit vague. And the reason I think it's vague is because you're kidding yourself. I mean, I was kidding myself, at least. I have no idea what you're doing.

But I was kidding myself.

Maybe it was fear of failure, or the seductive quality of the path of least resistance, but I wasn't tacking into a damn thing. I was in a rut. And if there's something I believe about ruts, it's that you can rut yourself right through old age and into the grave. Like a really poorly-designed flume ride. 

I always felt like, if I just had the chance to step outside my own life for a while, catch my breath and get my bearings and just look the hell around, I could figure out what to do. What to really do. Dooooooo.

I'm not sure how else to emphasize that word, but it's the heart of the whole enchilada (I apparently now eat organ-meat enchiladas...). What I was doing before was writing, technically, but it left me feeling frustrated and empty. It didn't feel like what I supposed to be doing.

Now I've stopped doing that, which feels great. And I believe, honestly if a bit shakily, that I can succeed by writing what I want to write, and how I want to write.

Well, my money is officially in the space previously occupied by my mouth. I have a family to support, a house to keep, and a lot of big ideas about how my career is supposed to go. We will see if all of these things converge nicely on the horizon, or if I will soon be panhandling at a corner near you.

Like Indiana Jones, I'm making this up as I go along. Unlike Indiana Jones, I don't look like Indiana Jones.

But I do have friends. I have been shocked and humbled and then humbled some more by the number of people who have cheered me on, sent me unsolicited recommendations and references, or told me that they just knew I was wasting my talents before.

If there's one thing this whole situation has taught me, it's that I've got amazing people all around me, and I am truly grateful for them. I have good people in my life. I love my people. I clearly have done something right.

Also, my wife, who has every right to freak the hell out, has not freaked the hell out. She's got my back. Sweetie, when you read this, I want to say that I won't let you down.

I guess that concludes my declaration of independence. Wish me luck. 

(Photo courtesy my amazing wife.)