When I was a teenager, a girlfriend told me about some people who every few years would sell everything they owned and go travel the world. I thought the idea was so absurd. Having to start over with everything, what kind of job would hire you with all the gaps in your resume. It didn’t seem like a good way to live, not setting down roots.
A few years after moving into our house, my wife would say that she thought there had to be another way to live. She didn’t want to be stuck in one house for the rest of her life.
Sometime later, I read The 4-Hour Workweek and heard the story of taking sabbaticals or mini-retirements throughout one’s life. This time I was a little more interested.
Near the end of 2018, the company I work for purchased a local furniture store whose owners decided to sell due to one of them having health problems. When the story was related to me, the one thing I remember was they were going to focus on “quality of life stuff”.
It seemed like so many older people I knew would retire and either just be hanging out watching TV or just… die.
Working has always been the main thrust of my life. In my twenties, I watched on Facebook as my best friend in high school was traveling around the world and always thought that I would do that as well someday. But as everyone knows “someday” is not a day of the week.
When the pandemic first began my boss told us we could all work from home. I was away from the office for only two days. Chomping at the bit to work, I came back and hung out with my boss and the operations manager. Looking back, everything we did was necessary and I could not have been as effective from home. But I also saw there is a huge disconnect in my life.
My life revolves totally around my work.
Growing up I would hear about men and their mid-life crises and thought how ridiculous it was to want a convertible and trade in your wife for a twenty-year-old girlfriend. But getting older, I understand.
You have this one life, and the older you get, you begin to realize that each moment is precious. And once you see that, you evaluate your life and find there has been an imbalance you want to make up for it.
I have never been interested in cars and don’t think it’s within me to have an affair, but I do see some things that need to change in my life.
I feel like I give my best to my job and come home and give the rest to my family. My job is very sedentary, which is not a healthy way to live. People I have known for many years are upset when they hear I no longer do much artwork. For too long, my priorities have been out of place.
As a kid, I was stashed with my grandparents for years at a time. My dad would often take long-term jobs in other states. As a child, I knew I would not be the same way as a parent. One of the luxuries we have afforded was the ability for my wife to be a stay-at-home mom (she briefly had a job for a few months when we were rushing to pay off our mortgage). We both thought it was important and can see how our son has blossomed having such a strong foundation. But even though I come home every day, I wish I could have spent more of his childhood with him.
For these reasons, I let my boss know I was going to exit the company in a few months. Not wanting to leave anyone in a lurch, I told him I would find and train my replacement. While I have some good prospects if anyone knows an eCommerce guru who can code, please send them my way. It is not a remote gig, but really, they would be working at the coolest place.
Is it crazy to leave a job that you love to go and do nothing? There is a large part of me that thinks so. There is also the part of me that sees how a part of my soul is starving and I need to find a balance in my life. Being a workaholic is no joke and for years I have tried to push back.
The only thing I can think of is to go cold turkey.