In June, when I began conceptualizing taking this leap of faith, I had a visual metaphor occur to me. From June to October, I often said to others that I felt like a spider in the bathtub. The bathtub of my career wasn’t right for me. It didn’t meet my needs. But the walls were slippery, and it was hard to climb out. Beyond that, all I’d ever known was a bathtub.
While I struggled to come up with the right keyword to search for jobs, and to imagine a different career path, I could only envision more of the same. My little spider-self had only known bathtubs, so bathtubs were all that was imaginable. I actually started evaluating positions and potential careers by whether they were “bathtubs” or not at some point.
My little spider-self could sort of envision a potted plant. If I could climb up the slippery tub wall to get into a potted plant, that would be more comfortable. It would meet a few more of my needs. But, the universe, the cosmos, the divine that I’m having faith in when I take a leap of faith – that ineffable force doesn’t want me to live in its potted plants. It wants to scoop me up in its giant hands and carry me outside.
One of the reasons why I took this leap – into the unknown without much of a net – was because I couldn’t even imagine “outside.” There was no way for my little spider-brain to conceptualize something it had never seen. I had never experienced “outside” in the way that I knew the universe wanted me to do. I realized that in order for me to discover what it was I wanted to do once I got outside, I literally had to go outside first to see it. There was no way for me to think my way through it. This was an experience first, think and strategize later sort of situation.
What it’s like Outside… so far
It’s only been two weeks since I made it out the door. Outside is definitely expansive and big, and full of possibilities. It’s really no more or less scary than the bathtub – the bathtub was a spider rodeo for the household cats, after all. I don’t feel tenuous or unsafe.
What I’m doing right now is following and feeling into my energy and enthusiasm. Where do I feel excited, inspired, energized? That’s the stuff I’m doing. Whether it’s a home improvement project or sitting at a computer for hours writing, I’m experiencing “outside” as best I can, to imagine my way into the next right step.
Even with the fact that I’m living out of savings, my stress levels are the lowest they have been in decades. I’m more self-regulated, calmer, and less anxious than I’ve been in a very long time. This is very encouraging. It’s ok that it’s cheaper to cook dried beans from scratch, because I also have the time available to do that extra work. I’m moving slowly through life, at my own pace, and it’s pretty delicious.
I’ve got a little bit of structure, some daily to-do’s, to keep myself supported, grounded, and even-keel while I’m in this transitional time. My experience of these kinds of time outside of Full-Time work in the past shows me that I can be prone to isolation and depression without an office to show up to. So, I’ve got some measures in place to prevent that element from creeping in.
I don’t know where this experience is headed. I get little hints, little synchronicities, nudges from the universe that whisper “keep going!” and I listen to those. But we will see how it all plays out in time.