August 19, 2015
I waited 30 minutes for the bus today. 30 minutes! Imagine what important things I could’ve accomplished in 30 minutes. Instead, I sat at the bus stop swinging my legs, looking at this gorgeous sunny day. Not too hot at 11am.
I discreetly stared at everyone walking past me, making up stories about their lives. I thought of random things like how many notebooks I own and what I will do with the two bags of vegetables I just bought. I thought about the difference between organic and raised without spray. I thought of the complexities of the English language. I thought of nothing particularly important. Then I realized that I am more fortunate than millions of people in the world right now facing challenges in their lives. I am sitting here waiting for the bus without worries, simply looking forward to a perfect day at home with my green juice. I have the freedom of time.
How exactly did my life become this carefree? I used to be anxious all the time. Stressed by lack of money, a job I didn’t like, a crazy long commute, and a hectic daily schedule with our four kids. I also used to feel bloated every day and my headaches were frequent. I had back pain and even without a doctor’s prognosis, I was convinced I was developing carpal tunnel syndrome. That was three years ago.
When I gave up my full-time job, life got better. A lot better. This better. Of course it was not instantaneously better. It took time, strength, and mental willpower to survive and get to this point. But I am happy and I am not going back.
In 2013 I was working as a Learning Facilitator for the biggest credit union in Canada. I was on my eighth year with them and my fourth position in the company. I kept on moving across departments to keep my sanity. It was a dream company. Great benefits like group RRSP matched up to 5% of salary contribution, 100% extended health, maternity top-up to 100%, four-day 35-hour flexible workweek, 5 weeks paid vacation, room for growth, and autonomy to do my job as I please. Why did I leave? There are days when I ask myself this question. Sometimes there are many consecutive days that I ask myself this question. I always come up with the same answer. Because I felt I had to live my life more fully than that.
I came to work one normal day. Same old same old. 9am, the train was full. As in full where if you were seated, somebody’s bum is two inches from your face kinda full. I was used to it. Been doing it for years. I just looked away, concentrated on that part of the window where the rain hits the glass. A stiff neck is better than smelling a stranger’s bum.
I got to my station, walked two blocks to my building, took the elevator. I got to my floor and the minute I stepped out of the elevator it hit me. It seemed like my whole future passed in front of my eyes in five seconds. I saw my 60 year old self in an office there, talking to an employee about performance. An old version of myself! I somehow knew that while I was talking I was pretending to care. I can’t explain how I could see it and feel it too. I even saw the whole floor teeming with people but they were all chained to their desks. I was hallucinating. I couldn’t bring my feet to walk the 30 steps to my desk. I stopped at the first desk and put down my purse. I raced to my boss’ desk. She was not there. I checked the meeting rooms one by one. I found her and her boss. I popped my head in and told them I was sick and I needed to go home. I ran back to the station. I was laughing and crying in the train, all by myself. I felt so much freedom going back home while everyone was going downtown.
That was the day I decided to leave full time employment. Of course there were other factors and events that led to the decision but that day made it clear to me. I cannot live in the corporate jungle anymore. Twenty years is enough. I need to create. I need to express. I need to own my time. I need to write. So here I am.
It took a lot of work changing my thoughts before I was able to change my life. In another post I listed down the steps I took to get to where I am right now. I am not a millionaire yet but I am making more money than when I was employed, working from home on my own time. And I am not in a network marketing scheme! I am working real jobs.
Freedom. If you want it, you can definitely have it too. Goodluck.