I have been wondering where our lives are headed to next as I type this post. We have been without a “job” for sixteen months now and it has been, well, wonderful. Traveling the world for seven months and then pursuing what I love best, writing and creating handbags, was a gift.
But not all was rosy….
As some of you might recall from my earlier blogs, I thought leopards and lions caged up was a pitiful sight after seeing them roam freely in the wild. That scenario was not too far from our own lives.
Working in corporate provided us a budget for a great life. We dined out often, bought whatever we wanted, lived in a beautiful home, and had access to full health care benefits. It also provided the non-tangibles, such as stability, friends, and the ability to financially help family. Caged animals got a similar deal.
Small price to pay for security.
Suddenly, our cage was left open in 2012 and we sprinted into the wild. We, like those lions we saw on safari, now had a singular focus– survival. While on the trip, we constantly juggled finances and debated where we wanted to live in the world jungle. The finalist were Antalya in Turkey, Chang Mai in Thailand, San Francisco and Austin. Clearly, Austin won. Dumpty wanted to be closer to family which made Austin the natural choice.
Romantic, isn’t it?
But I forgot one thing–those lions were born into the wild and we were not. Recently, the free-agent lifestyle has been falling apart. Yes, shocking, I know. Living on a strict budget has been less than appealing but manageable and still worth the freedom. No question (well I only question it sometimes). We knew the consequences from the beginning.
Now add the friendship problem. I sadly discovered that many of our friends are “hi” “bye” friends. The friends we had made via work or by living in New York, the ones we thought we had close bonds with, have slowly stepped back into the shadows. Some days it bother me, but most days I understand those friendships must have been artificial to begin with. No harm done. It made us value the friendships that have stayed and put them in the spotlight.
Freedom always has a price.
Then came the security or lack there of part. The part that lions born into the wild skillfully handle and the lions released into the wild do not. We’ve recently suffered a few financial setbacks. One being my appendicitis surgery in July; we don’t have full health care coverage. And the other being our family’s greater and unexpected financial needs. That was the final blow.
Were we kidding ourselves when we set out to travel around the world and pursue a free-agent life?
So, what are we up to now?
For now there is no question we both have to get jobs given our family’s circumstances. A part of me is excited to be back in the cage and for all the familiarity and conveniences that comes with it. Does it sound weird to say that I’ve missed it a little?
I will continue to blog about different places that we visit and have begun to look for a literary agent. I hope you’ve been inspired to do what you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t wait for the “right” time because there is no such thing. A friend of ours gifted me a wonderful book I highly recommend to all: Wherever You Go There You Are. The book’s message gave me a handrail to clutch to in these uncertain times. Like the book suggests, I feel caught up wanting to have a special experience or in looking for signs of progress in my free-agent lifestyle. I had begun to doubt the path we had chosen, but then I remind myself that nobody can predict the future so why fret?
After much reflection, I’ve concluded that we are exactly where we should be. I have no regrets (now) on the risky decisions we have made–including the decision to return to a traditional job. It’s right for right now. I have realized that a meaningful and satisfying life comes from living and accepting the present moment– nothing more. Everything else is ego.
Yes I will stare at those free-roaming lions with a touch of envy, but I am exactly where I should be.