So I am currently sitting in my backyard - in my hammock - listening to distant dogs bark about impending threats of doom - or so they think. I hear crickets calling to each other in desire’s desperate pleas. My own dog is having the time of her life with her ball that she is madly chasing around the yard. Energized by the coming dusk and the promise of possums or raccoons.
Despite the dog activity, it is peaceful and quiet. A tiny cat, weighing in at a mere 3 ounces lies sleeping on my chest after her twenty-seventh bottle of the day.
The Jacaranda tree I planted earlier this year has more than doubled in size. I am sure next year I will be richly rewarded with the purple haze of flowers that seem to burst into being then hang in the balance for far longer than seems natural. I love that lavender, muted and vibrant at the same time.
I am learning as I lie here writing in a hammock is not the most comfortable position in which to write...oh well, I am here now and I am enjoying myself all the same. No longer do I insist that comfort reign supreme, sometimes it is enough just to be present and here in the now, even if my particularities would like it to be a little less this or that.
Mostly I do not stir because of the tiny cat slumbering on my chest. She needs her sleep and rest, and I do not want to disturb her. Her tiny frame gaining weight and gravitas. Well, at least that is the plan. So far, so good.
And just like that I move my legs to one side and the comfort level of my writing nest, is altered and becomes supremely more comfortable, allowing me to relax into my being and surroundings more deeply. Breathing in the night air, feeling the coolness of night creep across my lawn.
This is a new hammock. The other one dry rotted and when I attempted to sit in it a week ago, I fell to the ground. I had that hammock for at least three years and I think I sat in it maybe a half dozen times. Lane and I used to come out at night and stargaze and talk. I guess I have to be honest, I think we did that exactly once. I can’t recall the other times I sat in it because they are fleeting and unimportant in my busy, hectic life. The hammock was the symbol of all the rest I would have...someday. Just not today. Or next week or the weeks thereafter. I would rest, one day.
My yard is filled with little nooks, places to sit and enjoy life. To be honest I haven’t sat in most of them. Too busy to actually enjoy the spaces I have created. One would think that someone who has no less than nine outdoor seating areas would at least enjoy one on a regular basis...but if I am being honest, and I am, then I would have to tell you that I have sat in two places with any frequency. And that frequency would be measured monthly not weekly, and certainly not daily.
I quit my job exactly sixteen months ago today. Left my career, with all the long hours and high paychecks. I left the security and the props it gave me and my ego. I left a place that I never, ever thought I would ever leave, and certainly not without a contingency plan. But I knew it was time. I was unhappy. I didn’t love the job anymore and I hated who I had to be to do the job well. I was idling and I knew it.
I can give you all sorts of valid reasons why it was time to go, and a great many of them have to with others and their behavior and issues, but none of those were the impetus to cause me to exit that career...no, it was an internal pull that moved me beyond reason and logic, pushing me out the door, even as I knew not where I would land or what I would do.
I had some savings. Not enough, but a little. I attempted another job for a few months but that ended badly and with rancor. I felt misunderstood and maligned. And I still don’t know whether those feelings were based on egoic structures of my well defended mind, or if they were real. Regardless, I don’t miss that job either.
I am not sure how I have pieced together the last 16 months. Really I don’t. I have started my own business and that is going well, in spite of me. I have let myself down, failed to show up for work, and been an itinerant employee to a concern that I own and operate. I have rebelliously avoided working, to my own detriment to be sure.
I have been plagued with doubt and fear. I have been immobilized with a crisis of faith - in myself, the world, attorneys, the law, and what to do with myself now that I just walked away from a really quite amazing career.
I have had no idea what I am doing. But I can tell you that it has been the best decision I have ever made. I didn’t know that the payoff for quitting would be the life I would gain. That finally at the ripe old age of 53, I would finally become the center of my own life. I would live for myself, by myself (kids excepted) and I would come to know the following:
It gets dark slowly in California. Like all of the daylight is on a dimmer switch. I didn’t know that before. I just knew it was light and then it was dark. I never noticed the nuance of evenings arrival.
I have crickets and frogs in my yard who rule the night time with their song.
That hammocks are likely good for napping and not much else, yet I love mine all the same.
That I have the time to nurse a tiny lifeless kitten back to life. I can live my life and save hers at the same time. And it isn’t work, it is just love in action. How do I know you ask? It is in her tiny purrs as she nestles into my hair and neck. That is how I know.
It is in my daughter’s presence at our home, and her reluctance to leave it. I mean, she does her thing but she is here at our home more than she is away. Spending time with me and the animals, and talking to me. She is 16 and I would have missed this if I were still working all those crazy hours that paid so well. And she doesn’t care that we have less money to spend. She doesn’t seem to care one bit.
I wouldn’t know that the stars are shy in their appearance in the sky. The daylight blurs to blue before black and the stars, like some prima donna starlet, take their sweet time before they bless us with their nightly debut.
I have learned the home I created is amazing. Not for its contents, but for its strength and beauty and for all the effort I have put into this house. I bought a house, I have made a home.
I have learned that there is really nothing I would rather do than to be right here, right now, tapping out this blog, my daughter lying on our couch, tiny kitten on my chest, learning the intricacies of hammock protocols as the night takes over for day and ushers in life that requires darkness in order to flourish.
I would have missed all of that had I not quit my job. And I will tell you that these things I have learned recently are better than anything I ever learned at work. I have learned that the value of a dollar means nothing if you have no time to spend it, and if you value what you can buy over what you can live, well then I believe you are missing the point entirely.
There were many costs for leaving the way I did, and I will tell you that they were worth it. Every one of them, because now, here in the middle of my own life, breathing in the night air, purred content by the smallest angel who consumes me currently.
The beings here are no longer things that must be handled. The chores to be done are not in my way. Time, that old master, is served quite differently today. Today, the time is mine and theirs and it can just unfold as it does. I no longer am a slave to the clock or the schedule or the incessant demands of others on my time, my life and my essence.
Sometimes you have to leave something important to find that what you once thought was important, really wasn’t all that important after all. Sometimes the reward for leaving your job is a life that is totally, 100% yours. And you find it sitting in a hammock on a Tuesday night with a diminutive feline purring her heart out as crickets regale you with their sexy song.
And all that is left to be done, is to close the laptop, and stare upwards and thank my lucky stars (they are out now) and feel, I mean really fucking feel how blessed I am to be alive.