Well it appears there are all sorts of things going on today…
Today I wrote a check to the State of California. Joy.
*I sure hope they spend it well but I’m not going to hold my breath. grumblegrumblegrumble
Today is the one year anniversary of Garrett and me shacking up.
*I know what you are thinking — Tax Day?Really? Obvs, we know how to infuse the romance up in here — we’re bringing tax day sexy back. Justin Timberlake told me so.
And also Today — Garrett quit his job.
*Eek! Typing that was exhilarating and scary all at the same time.
It’s a new chapter, folks.
I mentioned back in September that Garrett would be losing his job sometime in the near future. His department was being centralized to our company’s Denver office and his job was going with it. Things changed rapidly in those next few months and all of a sudden the job he signed up for was looking very different from the job he was doing 5 days per week. Honestly, I want to tell you all the emotions I have about what happened with this job and what I think about the direction his department is going (trust me I could write a novel), but you will have to forgive me for staying mum because as you may or may not remember, Garrett and I (up until today) worked for the same company. You can probably read between the lines though, you guys are smart like that.
The fact of the matter is, my opinions aside, Garrett was starting to feel physically affected by the things going on at work. The taxing nature of his job and his anxiety about the future was getting to him in a way that really scared me. I began to understand first hand, how there are people out there who have heart attacks from stress — and there was absolutely nothing about this particular job that was worth that type of personal sacrifice. His health was not worth a silly paycheck. But when we started talking seriously about making a decision that would potentially render him jobless, the big-time soul searching began, because a man without a job in this country (in this economy especially) is a really tough place to be.
So we started asking some questions:
What if Garrett quit his job?
What if we had to live on less money?
What if he had time to pursue something that he was more passionate about?
What would that mean for the quality of our life?
And the answers to those questions really revealed a great disparity between the two of us at first. I value pursuit of my passions almost above anything else. I live in the moment a lot. I think about what I enjoy. What makes me feel invigorated is my compass. Sure I think about what I want to accomplish but I also ask myself often – What makes me inspired? And when it came to Garrett, he was just not on that same page. He was always on this (very difficult) quest to be “Successful”, which was a thought that wasn’t fully defined in his mind just yet, but he knew he wasn’t there. And all of our conversations really led to me to think the generalized blanket statement that I’m about to say and that is: I’m not sure we raise and encourage the men in our society to really be in touch with their passions. And I really think that is A TRAGEDY.
Garrett graduated college with honors, got a degree in a “respectable subject” (Economics), and planned to get out in the career world and get a decent job, to be able to provide for the family he hoped to have one day. I mean that was really as far as he thought it through. That was the kind of successful male archetype that he had come to value — and I don’t really blame him. But it has taken almost 5 years of these types of negative career experiences for him to realize that his own value is not defined by his job or his paycheck. His value is defined by the person he is when he wakes up in the morning, the person he chooses to be when he has a friend in need, the person he chooses to be in each and every moment of his day.
But this is like an Epiphany of Epic Proportions to him at age 28.
(As an aside — I’m so glad he realized this at age 28 and not age 48!!!!)
So today Garrett decided that he wanted to choose his sanity over a paycheck. He chose to prioritize figuring out what makes him tick, to discover some of his passions, to figure out what it is that he really wants, not what he thinks he is supposed to want. We are lucky enough to not have a mortgage, to not have children yet. We are lucky right now in this awful economy to have the luxury of being flexible, and today Garrett chose to harness that into a turning point that I am convinced is going to change his life. Re-evaluating what is really important to him. Dreaming big about his future. And most importantly, prioritizing his Very Best Life. After months of thinking about it, I know for him that this decision was one of the toughest he has ever made. There will be questions from friends and family. There will be raised eyebrows for people who may have chosen a different path. There will be scary times and times of doubt in our future, I am sure. But it is that important.
It reminds me of a term paper I had to write in high school about Joseph Campbell and The Hero Journey. I hated that paper and it subsequently ruined the Star Wars trilogy for me forever, I think. But the one thing that has totally redeemed Joseph Campbell for me after all these years is this quote: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” And I’m so glad that today Garrett let go of that life that he had planned. For what it’s worth — even though I am going to miss our silly conversations while getting ready in the morning, his Rihanna impersonations during our commute, and the fact that the office feels a little bit emptier this afternoon — I’m absolutely dying to meet the life that is waiting for us, whatever that may be.