I think it was about this time last year that I realized I really, really needed to quit my day job. And I can honestly say it was one of the best, most frightening, and empowering decisions I’ve ever made. Not only did quitting my job teach me that I could trust myself, damn it, but it gave me the opportunity to switch gears and decide what I want to be when I grow up.
Then I spent nine months working from home, writing for xoJane and picking up some other work here and there. At first, it was blissful. No one to bother me. I could wear yoga pants all day. And if we’re being honest, I could fart whenever I wanted to (and really, life does not get much better than that).
But then being at home all the time got to be kind of a drag. The 10-foot commute that was so great at first turned out to be the reason none of my pants fit -- I just wasn’t moving around as much as I had before. My eating habits became erratic and cat-like: I would saunter into the kitchen at odd times, eat a mouthful of food, and leave. Sometimes I would completely forget to eat until about two hours before dinner.
Then there was the issue of my seven-year-old, Oliver. At first it was so great to be able to pick him up from school and have the afternoons with him. But as the months wore on, I realized that forcing him to play by himself after school while I finished my work wasn’t really doing either one of us any favors.
And finally, there’s poor Jeff, who was getting tired of dealing with the uncertainty of my freelance paychecks. Me too, Jeff, me too. I also found that being home by myself all day with no one to talk to meant that I practically attacked him the moment he got home from work every day, so desperate was I to have a conversation with another human. I mean, I talked to the cat, but my cat is a lousy conversationalist, on account of the fact that she spends 90% of the day asleep.
So I did what anyone who is broke, busting out of her pants, and going stir crazy would do: I got a ding-dang job. And I never thought I’d say this about a day job, but I am blissfully happy.
Maybe it’s the steady paycheck, or maybe it’s the fact that I work in a freaking botanical garden (seriously, I work in a botanical garden), but these last few weeks I have been awash in happiness.
In between texting Jeff throughout the day (Sampling olives that were grown on our property! Looking at pictures of flowers! Visiting ducks!), I have been Instagramming nature, the way nature intended, and saying a daily thank-you to the universe for opening up this path for me to follow.
It’s also been an adjustment. For one thing, my brain is forming all these new connections and firing new synapses or whatever -- as I learn a new job, new faces, and a new schedule. I haven’t had much time to write, because frankly, up until this week I haven’t been able to string together a sentence after I get home from work. I am just so in awe of it all and still sort of astounded that what I thought I wanted (working at home, alone, all the time) turned out not to be what I wanted at all. Isn’t it funny how that works out?
As happy as I am so far, working with people again is weird. I spent the last nine months hunched over my keyboard like some sort of yoga-pants-clad ogre, farting with abandon and not even caring if I dropped food on the floor under my desk. And now I work with lots of people, I wear real pants every day, and if I drop something, I pick it up because I wasn't raised in a barn (or at least, I don't want anyone to think I was raised in a barn). How did this even happen?
One thing I know is that working with people is weird. Here are things I do now that I didn’t do for a long time, and it’s kind of freaking me out (in a good way):
- Saying hello to people in the morning.
- Talking out loud.
- Free coffee.
- Actually eating lunch.
- Hearing verbal confirmation from live humans about whether I’m doing something correctly or not.
- Talking with co-workers about kids, shopping, crocheting, and whatnot.
- Wearing real clothes.
- Walking more than 10 feet in any given day.
- Enjoying my home again because now it is just my home and not my home-slash-place of employment.
All of these are good things, definitely. Just a big change. In a world where it’s becoming more common for all of our interpersonal transactions to happen remotely -- including not only business dealings, but friendships as well -- it’s sort of refreshing to just be around other people. I thought I wanted solitude, but it turns out I did not, even if it does mean I have to hold in my farts all day.
Did you ever get the thing you wanted, only to find out that it wasn’t what you wanted at all? Do you work from home and wish you worked in an office? Or do you work in an office and long to work from home? Do you do a combination of both? And isn’t farting whenever you want the best thing ever? I'm really going to miss that.
Somer is tweeting pictures of nature in between meetings: @somersherwood