Monday, October 17, 2011

Rescheduling Life and The Carpe Diem Lesson

"Carpe Diem" by Claudia Alves | RedBubble

It's funny how synchronicity works.  Angela Guillaume is also blogging on this topic today.  If you haven't visited her blog recently, you're missing out.  She's a fantastic writer with great insights.

I rearranged my schedule.  Drastically.

I've mentioned it in passing, but perhaps this is something that deserves a post of its own.  I quit my day job on September 30th and I'm now officially unemployed. Why (oh why oh why) did I do this, you ask?  The great majority of people I know think I went crazy, had a burn-out or something, lost it.  Even those who congratulate me and give a little sigh of something that could--just might--be envy, think what I'm doing is nothing short of bizarre.

Is it?  Probably.  Actually, I'm certain it is.  Because the main reason I quit is because I want to write.

Oh Lord, you're thinking.  There goes another crazy person thinking she can make a living out of writing.  But I'll tell you now--no, I'm not that naive.  I know the chances of my novel (my first novel) making the bestseller lists, or even getting published at all, are, to put it kindly, slim.  I do know that.  I kid myself not.  And I do have a mortgage, and bills to pay.  And now you're thinking--my God, she really DID lose it.

Well, maybe I did.  But let me ask you this.  How long do you think you're going to live?  Do you know, for sure, that you're going to be alive this time tomorrow?  Do you know for a fact that you're going to make it back to your lovely bed tonight?  You don't, do you?  And neither do I.  That little piece of folk wisdom bounced around in my subconscious for two years while I slaved away in twelve-hour office days, in a hectic schedule that centered around other people's wealth and left me no time at all for the things that enrich my own life.  It bounced around until one fine day it coalesced into rationality.

What am I doing?  WHAT.  AM.  I.  DOING.  My priorities were totally skewed, totally out of synch.  My relationships were suffering, my plants were barely holding on to the green, my dogs were gaining weight and becoming ADD.  My soul was shriveling.  Oh no.  No, no.  This, I realized, is not the life I envisioned for myself.

For years I'd been locked in the circle of "someday I'll".  Someday I'll write.  Someday I'll have time to take the dogs to the beach for more than a few minutes.  Someday I'll research the family history (I have a very wacky family that will one day come to you in a beautifully bound book of hysterical and heart-wrenching stories).  Someday I'll have time to take a weekend off with the boyfriend.  Someday I'll...  Sound familiar?  I bet it does.

And here's the clincher:  what if I don't live long enough to make it to that someday?  What if I die today, or tomorrow?  I don't want to die at this desk, in the midst of all these files, among these people without a soul.

So I quit.

My last day in the office, September 30th, I felt a little under the weather.  Raspy throat, bit of a headache.  In the late afternoon I realized I was running a fever.  Damn, I thought, my first weekend of freedom and I'm coming down with the flu.  But it wasn't the flu.  It was a bad bout of bronchitis that knocked me down for ten days and took an additional week to recover from.  I firmly believe that it was my body's way of saying, "we NEED to rest."  So I did.  I rested, slept 14 hours a day or more, barely even read, certainly didn't write.  And it helped.  Enormously.

Now I'm recharged and ready to move forward.  What will I do, aside from writing?  I'm setting up my own business--I'll be importing merchandise from Mexico to sell here in Curacao.  I'm not interested in getting rich from this.  All I ask--and because the Universe tends to conspire to give what we want once we decide what that is I believe I'll get it--is enough income to pay my share of the bills & mortgage so that I can write.

This requires a substantial amount of self-discipline.  Do I have it?  Probably not.  Can I do this?  I believe I can.  Why?  Because I'm going to give it my best shot.  And in the end, that's what it's about.  We all have the power to do marvelous things, and we do them, every day.  Think of the mothers that run households, chase toddlers and hold down a job.  Think of the businessmen that juggle office politics and customer service and income and budgets and pleasing the boss without pissing off employees.  Think of the supermarket cashier that bears the drudgery of that job without complaining because there's a family to be fed, a child to put through college, an ailing mother that needs health insurance.  We all do these things, work these miracles.  The challenge is to choose your miracle, to choose the life you want to lead, and then work your ass off for that and nothing else.

That's what I'm doing now.


  1. Guilie, it seems that for every decision we make, there is always someone who knows more than we do what's best to us. That may be true, but what fun would that be if we cut the risk from our lives? What success could we have by playing safe, with the gutters up? So pat yourself on the back - if you rethink, you can retrace and revise. If you go to the next level, the victory will be sweeter. In either case, the experience shall be unparalleled. Good luck with your new life!

  2. Be true to thy own self, eh? Proud of you! I hope that every endeavor turns out to be supremely successful for you. (And glad you're feeling better ;) )

  3. Thank you, girls! The support and encouragement are much appreciated. Yep, I agree: life without risk is not really life, after all. Only time will tell...

  4. Life is meant to be lived, in the now, and not the 'someday'. I never realised that any clearer than when I was diagnosed with cancer some 6 years ago.

    Someday is today, and you're doing the right thing to be true to yourself and doing what your heart desires. Hey, as long as no one's getting hurt, who are people to judge and execute?

    You exist in a life half-lived when you bow down to the drudgery of everyday business. That's not called true living!

    You'll do great, Guilie - every faith in you. Because you took that step, and are determined. These are qualities to be applauded in today's world of conformism.

    Big hugs!


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