You May Be Right…I May Be Crazy
Okay, this post is not “By Katie,” as it automatically notes above. Anything in this post rudely interjected by me (Katie) will appear in this lovely green italic font. I can do that because it’s my blog. Our special guest poster for today is my dear friend Stacy.
Okay, I’ve actually only known her a few months, but since she was hand-picked by Erin and me to replace Erin here in Gray Cubicle Land when she moved off to Frederick, MD, we knew we’d all get along.
And we do. Swimmingly. It’s people like Stacy who make it a little harder for me to leave this place. Lucky for me, she’s decided to relieve some of that burden. In light of this whole Costa Rica thing, people frequently ask, “How can you leave a great job and go work for nothing??” To that I say, “Define ‘nothing.'” As yet another twenty-something struggling with a crisis-of-career faith, I think Stacy can provide some much-needed inspiration – and perhaps even clarification – about what makes “nothing” so damn great.
So here she is:
If I were superstitious, I’d say this tripod of cubicles is cursed.
The third leg of the tripod, Ms. Middle Chair, has been empty for months. I suspect its former occupant became some sort of Russian spy, Congolese chimpanzee charmer, or a hapless, ham-fisted victim who plunged to her death while trying to snap a perfect shot.
Whatever the cause, after just four months of staring at Erin’s derelict potted plant…
…and watching Katie’s ever-growing stack of ne’er-to-be-recycled Starbucks sleeves…
…I’ve got the “itch.”
“Isn’t there a cream for that,” you ask?
Not for this itch. The only cure is ACTION!
Am I accompanying these two brave ladies on their Costa Rican adventure? No…but I am doing something that might raise a few eyebrows: I’m going back to school…to become a park ranger.
I know that might sound anticlimactic, but as Katie often reminds me, “The heart wants what it wants.”
(Thanks for that picture, Stac. Really.)
I know that, in a hopeless economy, I should be content with my first bachelor’s degree and cling desperately to gainful employment. I know that it makes no sense to go back to school to enter a field that pays less than what I’m making now.
But I keep remembering what this Yellowstone park ranger said during a conversation with my man:
My Man: “This must be an awesome gig, right?”
Park Ranger: “I love it. Every day is an adventure.”
My Man: “But you won’t get rich doing it, huh?”
Park Ranger: “No…” (contemplative pause) “But I’m rich in other ways.”
Hell yeah, she gets to wear a really cool hat!
Rich in other ways? Wow.
I once thought I was rich, pre-this job, when I worked in insurance. Insurance was great, except for the whole “being at work” part. Hmm…How can I put this?
I read, grasped, and regurgitated insurance forms – you know, those nasty things most people immediately shred or file away in some dusty bin or bake into a fruit cake – for FIVE YEARS.
I lived for Fridays. I dreaded Mondays. I stopped laughing. I needed a stiff drink every day after work. I started talking in my sleep. I forgot who I was and what I wanted.
When I finally reached a breaking point, I called my mom. “If you stay in insurance, you’ll just be a rich alcoholic,” she said.
So I took a 50% pay cut and took the environmental writing gig here, next to Erin’s dead plant, empty Ms. Middle Chair, and Katie’s corrugated cardboard coffee sleeves.
It’s been a great run. I like my job, but it feels like a segue, like something’s pulling me in another direction. I’ve spent too long trapped in cubicles, and now I want to play in the woods.
Is it wrong for our dreams to evolve? Is it worse to listen, or to ignore? Am I crazy? Are we crazy?
Time might tell. All I know is that, in about a month, these three cubicles will all be empty, and Katie, Erin, and I will be unemployed but pursuing richness in other ways.
I’ll leave you with my mantra, from The Avett Brothers’ Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise:
“Decide what to be, and go be it.”