Yesterday a guy I’ve done some search work with called to thank me for referring a nice chunk of business to him. We hadn’t spoken in about 6 months so it turned into a catch-up session, semi-overdone on his part based on sheer gratitude. You can always hear that mix of hysteria/appreciation when you’re on the receiving end, not that it makes the sentiment any less sincere, and I felt bad for not letting him know how much I think of him sooner.
In the course of conversation I gently broke the news – because I will still take a project here and there with people I like and he’s one of them – that I’m not working right now. The silence on the end of the line was deafening. Here he’d just finished telling me how great it was to sit outside on his rooftop deck, in Harlem on Sunday, for the first nice weather of the year, how he wished he could figure out a way to live in Southern California based on mild temps and year-round biking alone, and how he realized he just had to come to grips with the fact he’d built his business in NYC and now there was no way out.
I don’t think he knew what to say.
I didn’t know what more to say either.
He launched into a heartfelt speech turned quasi diatribe about how good I am at what I do, how much I’ve achieved, “Really Carrie, think about it. You’re a Canadian who came here without any prior business contacts and look what you’ve built?!”, and how lucky I am to live where I live. What more could I want? While trying to assure me this phase will pass, the undertones of his message clearly screamed: HAVE YOU LOST IT?
Maybe I have.
But maybe I also fanned a flame that’s burning in him. Hadn’t he just told me he wished he could make a change? Hadn’t he just wistfully admitted he could quit now and have enough to survive on for the rest of his life if he curtailed his lifestyle? That’s not me, but even more reason to throw it all to the wind! But then when contemplation got a little too real, I think, but admittedly could be wrong, he reverted back to this is what we’ve worked so hard for! We’d be fools to give it all up!
Before the questions could settle in, because they began to bubble up, I grabbed my stuff and went to the beach.
I stopped questioning my decision for just a little while.
It felt good.
In the ten years I was self-employed I don’t think I took more than maybe 5 mornings off to sit at the beach for a couple hours. The feelings of guilt and fear were immense, stifling my ability to get to the heart of genuine enjoyment. Yesterday when I sat down in the sand I breathed the air in deep. I let wet dogs bump into me at top dog speeds. I thought of every person sitting indoors at a desk wishing they were outside.
Maybe I am in a phase but I’m glad I got the nuts to take it, even if it took a stroke to get me here. How envious I am of the people out there who haven’t needed a health issue to take a leap of faith! I’m tired of doing the same old thing and even though it makes me nervous to say it out loud, it’s true. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
~Coincidentally, the second thing I was going to tell you was instrumental in helping me out of the hole last year: GET OUTSIDE. Let that vitamin D sink in. Clear your head. Remember what’s important to you and act on it. Rinse and repeat.~