I’ll be 47 this year and my journey to NOW started about a year and a half ago although at the time I didn’t know it. I was comfortable in my job as a technology manager at a local not-for-profit association. Although the work was no longer challenging, I loved my co-workers, felt appreciated and respected, made decent money and had tons of flexibility with my schedule and travel. It was a dream job in so many ways, and IT WAS COMFORTABLE, so I stayed and found fulfillment in other ways. My wonderful, supportive Vice President agreed with my proposal of telecommuting full-time and spending 6-months in Oregon and 6-months in Virginia so I could maximize my time with family and friends. I had a 10-year plan to stay until early retirement. I had already been at the company for 14-years and loved nearly every moment, so the decision seemed an easy one.
That plan was set in motion and I started paying off my student loans faster, changed my 30-year mortgage schedule to a 20-year to save 5 years of interest (and planned on changing it again to a 10-year after I paid another 5-years in). I bought a new car so that I could drive from coast-to-coast and see parts of the US I hadn’t seen before. I was excited and re-energized once again!
Then my cousin was murdered by her boyfriend, and if that wasn’t horrible enough on its own, it was done at a time when she had finally made the decision to embrace life for herself after a lifetime of putting everyone else first. Her death brought home the realization that “Tomorrow is promised to No One” and I started taking a hard look at my life, eliminating trival “stuff” both physical and emotional, spending more time doing and appreciating things that created happiness.
Next, I got a new boss. A real blessing although I didn’t know that at the time. She came in and took away all that was wonderful and good about my job and the company I worked for. Removed my perks, didn’t show appreciation and respect, created tension in my department (even company-wide), so that everyone was stressed and fearful for their jobs.
For the first time in my 14-year tenure I dreaded coming to work!
The blessing was that she took away the COMFORT that was keeping in a job I no longer found fulfilling. Note to Self: Blessings Come In Many Packages. Keeps Eyes Open! It was time for change in my life and it wasn’t going to happen while things were still easy for me.
I started looking for another job and opened up the search to both coasts, East and West. Fortunately I had a lot of interest, interviews and great networking opportunities, yet I wasn’t happy. The jobs that looked exciting and interesting were paying not nearly enough for me to cover my mortgage, much less do the traveling I so enjoyed. The jobs that did pay my salary requirement were all corporate. The stereotypical corporate life isn’t for me. At the time I was also reading a book called “The Power of Habit” for my book club and was thinking about all the unconscious decisions I make every day without even knowing.
In early May I received a phone call from another cousin, who is mind-boggling wise, and shared my job-hunt frustration. She ask me “if you could do ANYTHING, strip away all the responsibilities, dependencies and societal pressures – what would you do?” I didn’t even have to think for a second…. “I would travel and share my experiences!” Then she said slowly “Then WHY do you have a house? SELL it.”
Why do I have the house? And why have I been so determined to keep it? Many other friends have suggested selling the house, so why have I been so against it? After taking a hard look I realized that it wasn’t because I WANTED the house…it was because I was SUPPOSED to have a house.
- It’s the grown-up thing to do
- It shows you’re stable
- It’s a good investment
- It is what is expected by society, your family or some other invisible pressure that I’ve put on myself.
The light bulb switched on in that instant and I knew what I wanted to do!
- Sell the house
- Take a sabbatical from steady employment
- Travel the USA and have an experience
- Spend the winter holidays in Oregon with family and friends
- Travel abroad and experience living in another country
An hour later I called a realtor and put it all into motion. Two months later, I’m right here. Ready to take on a grand adventure!
The best project we can work on is our self.
Next Blog: #ExperiencePlanning
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