the dream and the reality

I’m still adjusting to being back in New York, having spent much of July traveling and being out of my element.

We returned to the city to news from our landladies that the whole house has termites (meaning our apartment has to be exterminated), and the exterminator broke the main water line, causing some serious plumbing drama.

On top of all that, Kevin had his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday. So that and all that goes with it has been happening around here too. (He’s still recovering, but doing okay!)

This summer, for better or worse, hasn’t been a period of R&R by any means. And all the essential things that have filled my schedule this month don’t pay me like I want them to yet. That’s okay – I’m alive and well-fed and happy and healthy. I choose to accept that this is where I am on this journey.

Still, I caught myself daydreaming a few days ago about my old lifestyle when I had a desk job. Blasphemy, I know. I don’t miss the daily commute, the irritating coworkers, the constantly ringing phone, navigating midtown, trying to fit a workout in on my lunch break, hoping I can get out early enough to make a show or a rehearsal, calling in sick to go to an audition or shoot a video.

But I do miss the consistent income. That and breakfast from Pret A Manger are the only things I miss.

I daydreamed about being able to spend money on buying new shoes, jumping on a plane for a last minute trip to Florida, renting a car for a day because it’s fun, blowing a ton of money at the grocery store buying up whatever I please, getting my nails done every week – that kind of frivolous stuff. I can’t wait for the day when that is my lifestyle again.

But the trade off for having those things back then was that I was totally miserable at my job almost every day. I was stuck and unproductive and uninspired, I felt like my professional life didn’t make me excited and proud. I was swiftly approaching 30 and I wasn’t on my way to the career of my dreams. And that just wasn’t good enough.

Beyond that, if I still had an office job I wouldn’t have been able to go to Montreal for six days (and have one of the most memorable experiences of my life). I would have had to finagle the time off to go to my cousin’s weekday wedding. I’d be worried about getting time off in the fall to go do an HST show in LA, I’d wonder if I could get time off to go out of town for my 30th birthday in November. I’d be stressed and resentful and feeling locked in. All for a job that paid me a salary but provided little else in terms of incentive.

So if I have to choose, I’d still rather have my freedom and have control over my own professional destiny than have a steady paycheck. That’s just who I am. And I have faith that someday soon those two worlds will collide and I’ll be a billionaire. Or I’ll at least be somebody who’s willing to spend money on weekly manicures again.

August is going to be another busy month. We’re taking a trip, shooting a short film, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing and planning, Kevin’s starting a new job, and I’m hoping to squeeze a few more juicy drops out of summer.

It’s been 9 months since I quit my desk job to pursue work that makes me happier. This is where I am today.

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10 thoughts on “the dream and the reality

  1. I’ve greately enjoyed this story. Especially your words:

    “I’d still rather have my freedom and have control over my own professional destiny than have a steady paycheck. That’s just who I am. And I have faith that someday soon those two worlds will collide.”

    Keep the faith. The words have already collided! I’m the author of Professional Destiny–and so many have found great freedom, deeper meaning, success and satisfaction by following their bliss. Enjoy the journey!

  2. Ah, yes, you make many good points. When I worked in the city, I made a point every week to slip out to a “meeting” early one afternoon and get a mani/pedi…if I had a headache, I’d pop into one of those nail places and get a 20min shoulder massage to alleviate it. And though my cuticles are a fright now, and the only rubbing I get now when I have a headache are the little hands of demanding children asking why I’m not getting off the couch…I wouldn’t trade this either. 🙂

    I think I’ve said it before, but really: Good For You. I think this is going to be a very interesting journey, and I’m pleased to follow it.

  3. It’s like you’re in my brain right now. This is exactly what I’m going through right now: missing a paycheck, missing the stability, rejoicing in my freedom, looking forward to the future. Good for you! I’ll keep it up in the west if you keep it up in the east? Deal.

  4. Ugh, Jen, terminates & water damage & a hurtin’ guy – so not good! Hope you kids are braving the elements. And I know what ya mean about how being out of the city doing family/fun (HST!) stuff doesn’t equal R&R. One of my friends said, “You were on vacation for, like, 2 weeks? Wasn’t that great?!” I looked at her like she had 3 heads.

    Thanks so much for your honesty here. That’s what I love about this blog (& you!) – the balls you have to say, “Yup. I’m missing the money The Man used to give me.” But you’re also able to say, “This was my choice, this is still my choice, this is the best choice for me.” Thanks for sharing all of it.

    • “Vacation” can be exhausting, right? I guess if we were truly vacating – i.e. laying on a beach somewhere without a care in the world – we would feel differently.

      ANYWAY, thanks for your support. I’m on the mend now after getting to spend a few days in a row exactly as my little heart desires.

  5. Wow – I found you site simply by looking for a quote about BLISS. Coincidence? I think not! I am turned 40 on the 14th of this month and like you, was not living my ‘authentic’ life. I had a very good job, secure and well paying – a ‘dream’ job to many. But three weeks ago I up and quit. Walked out. Circumstances and the Universe made one foot move in front of the other, towards a journey of living my best life. It’s scary, not knowing how the bills are going to be paid – let alone ‘fun’ money. I was not in a comfortable place, financially, when my inner self decided I no longer wanted the job that gave me a paycheque. However, I EMBRACE this journey, I TRUST the Universe for guidance and I (and my hubby) are MUCH happier beings! I’ve turned my hobby business into a full time business as well as making all my creative endeavors come true. So onwards and upwards. Part of the push to live as happily as I can is the fact that my step-mom is dying from cancer and has only days, maybe a few weeks, left. I’ve been learning a LOT of life-lessons during this hard time. What I know for sure? Live each moment in a state of bliss.

    Namaste!

    • Best of luck to you, Tina! And congrats on quitting your job. So sorry to hear about your stepmother. It sounds like if there’s a silver lining to her illness, it’s what you’re learning about how precious your life truly is. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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