I have never been one to ‘sit still’.
As a kid I was always outside, living in my little wooden treehouse next to the blue house on the hill, running around the yard and showing my parents every lizard, toad, worm and insect I could find. Nathan asks me every day (fondly, I think?), “you never stand still, do you?” as I sway in front of him for a kiss, read two books at once, or fitfully try to fall asleep. While dreaming, I often rotate under the covers in his arms like I’m roasting on a spit. My toes tap, my legs bounce, my jimmies are constantly rustled.
Even now, as I work on getting my first post up, I am writing on google docs in one window, waiting on images to re-size in another and simultaneously waiting for them to upload in a third because I can’t bear to watch the loading bar tick by in such agonizing increments.
At whatever rate, I’m a keep-thirty-tabs-open-at-once, suicide-soda kind of girl and that’s always worked for me.
When I finally graduated college with half of a photography degree, most of an entrepreneurial business degree and an actual, on-paper bachelors in business management, I found myself dazedly buying business casual outfits to fit into my new role as a junior sales rep at a fortune 100 tech company. A company I had, as an art student and reluctant business major, quite honestly never heard of before. A company with a supply closet, and cubicles, and a prize-winning yacht team.
Suddenly I had phone metrics, and an 8-to-5 schedule, free coffee and a name tag. I never wanted these things.. what is this sh*? I still wanted to train dolphins in the Caribbean or make hammocks or rehabilitate elephants deep in the jungle where there isn’t a WiFi signal to be seen for days. I wanted to never wear shoes. I didn’t like coffee.
But man, living in Austin is expensive. Having a dog, two cats, a snake and a horse is expensive. Eating tacos every day is expensive*. So I resigned myself to the call script, the leader board, and the communal fridge (I’m still looking for you, avocado thief).
justice will be had
I fought the new regime I was faced with by bucking against my metrics in favor of quality over quantity, building a solid reputation for myself in my client base for being helpful and honest, and networking with every member of my virtual team to make sure we stayed operating as a single cohesive unit who understood the business we were in and the businesses of our clients. On the side, I made friends with other beautiful coworkers/rebels who still wanted to start their own businesses (and one who already had), and together we wistfully talked of brighter days managing our own schedules and a future sans accessorizing with an itchy grey headset.
But after three and a half years of this I found myself as the last remaining non-‘X’ on our original team picture, having lost all of my coworkers to other jobs. Somehow, I was one of the top three middleware reps most quarters of my tenure. I had been promoted early and was making fistfuls of money; so much hard cash that I wasn’t even sure what to do with it, so I (obviously) spent wildly and with abandon on tacos and appeasing our horrible landlord. I had started to become comfortable with my schedule, comfortable with being stagnant. Comfortable with being comfortable.
Even with all this comfort, an unnamed anxiety gnawed my insides. It gnashed its teeth against the bars of its structured, 9-to-5 biweekly-paycheck cage and stretched out chipped, dull claws towards an image of a scruffy haired little girl covered in mud, holding a worm; all smiles and sunshine. Inside and out, I missed that girl. Don’t get me wrong, as much as that little girl loves collecting fireflies in jars and climbing trees in the woods, that little girl also loves to throw herself into projects, immerse herself completely in causes that interest her and make her heart feel full, and pore over books and schoolwork that make her brain tick. But corporate drudgery and buzzwords like ‘dialing for dollars’, ‘Sandler submarine’, ‘pain funnel’, ‘low hanging fruit’ and ‘one throat to choke’ make her want to ‘deep dive’ into a neverending hole. Where was I at 25? Was this where I wanted to be? Would little Kim be proud of me, with what I was doing with my life? Or would she look at my cubicle, with its sad string of rainbow lights and 10,000 post-it notes, and wonder where the dolphins were?
That’s when this beautiful opportunity to pack my life into six suitcases and move 8,000 miles away from home presented itself.
Three and a half years ago Kim would have already been packed and on a plane, three books deep into an encyclopedic tome on Kangaroos. But settled, stagnant, comfortable Kim was apprehensive of this change on the wind. What about my pets? What about my stuff? What about my friends? What about my job? Lots of things in the last three and a half years made me anxious. How do I stocks? How do I 401k? How do I taxes? HOW DO I LIFE AT 25?
Deep breath in, deep breath out.
I had started my own business but had never had the time to start it, maybe this would be a good time to see if I can cut it. I had always been interested in every hands-on craft there is, maybe I can finally take up woodworking. I’ve always wanted to actually learn another language other than Spanglish, maybe I can take up Russian, or French, or Esperanto. Maybe, maybe, maybe this will actually be perfect.
My parents are amazing people who agreed to both watch my pets and update my room at home with my stuff, and if my job actually stood in the way of me undertaking this new, amazing adventure that I’ve been waiting my whole life for then I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve Nathan, the catalyst to all this craziness. I don’t deserve to undertake this ‘sabbatical’ from work to find out what I really want to do, what my passion actually could be. I still love working, I still love the idea of starting my own company, I still love the idea of diving every day covered in sharks up to my eyeballs, happy as a clam.
To the people who told me I was passing up on ‘so much money’ and that I was ‘crazy’ to agree to this when my sales career was going so well, thanks for making me smile. As I sit here on the grassy patio of our apartment, watching the sun set over the tops of the trees filled with singing birds with colors and faces and names I’ve never seen or heard before, listening to the girl next door practice her scales on the piano, waiting for Nathan to get home so that we can go get some more amazing seafood and coffee.. I feel still. I am here.
I am still learning to unwind, I am still learning not to be anxious, but inside I am starting to feel truly composed. Truly myself. And I’m excited to see what else I can do.
*and I don’t think they have Torchy’s in the rainforest.