And Just Like That, I Quit

I have never had the most impeccable timing when it comes to life-altering decisions, I will admit. I either overthink myself into immobility or I jump without looking at the terrain below. There aren’t really a whole lot of in-betweens with me. I can rationalize things to death and then never act on them. Or I can do things like I did on Monday.

I woke up and quit my job.

The act itself was kind of rash but I knew last Wednesday, I was going to do it. I just needed to wait for Angie to come back from Texas to make sure we were on the same page. Luckily, we were.

Three years ago, I attempted to quit this same job. As I was rereading my posts from that timeframe (here, here, and here), one word kept coming to mind. Coward. I told everyone that I was unhappy with my job, that I felt as if I was no longer making a meaningful contribution, and that I was going to quit and try making a go in the freelance world. I really did turn in my resignation on October 21, 2016 but that very same day, I accepted a restructuring of my responsibilities into a part-time position instead.

I justified staying in the way that most of us do when we talk ourselves out of things – I convinced myself that 1) the timing wasn’t right, 2) we didn’t have enough money saved, and 3) we needed the benefits. Yep, none of that was any more or less true than it is today or the day before or will be three days from tomorrow. It is and was just an excuse.

This time, I quit for a lot of reasons. Every single one of them the same as they were 3 years ago. But mostly, I quit because I couldn’t wait any longer to get started living the life we have imagining for ourselves.

When I wrote A Sno-Ball’s Chance, we had set a financial goal for ourselves to save enough to pay our living expenses for an additional 3 months (we already have 6) before I resigned and to secure at least one permanent side hustle or writing gig. Over the past few weeks, we’ve worked (nearly non-stop) to jumpstart our plan. Even while Angie was in Texas, she was hustling. She painted a barn! In just a short amount of time, I’m happy to say that we have already exceeded our goal! We have an extra 3 months of general expenses saved and 5 months of grocery money. On top of that, I have secured 2 permanent gigs and have 2 others pending.

Leaving a secure job is SCARY! I will not deny that. Nor will I say that it’s not a little crazy too, especially when you are not in a position to fully retire. But you know what else it is? It’s EXCITING!

I have one more month of meetings and deadlines before everything I do is on my own schedule. One more month before success or failure rests solely on our shoulders. And frankly, I can’t wait!

Life, Love, and Ruminations on Boredom

Angie is visiting her parents in Texas for the next two weeks, so Caesar and I are holding down the fort. This annual trip usually takes place in June, when the garden is just getting started, but our favorite little human came to visit us then and the trip was delayed. So now, the garden is in full swing and Caesar and I are ever-so-diligently trying to keep up. Okay, truthfully, Caesar is no help at all. This is how he spends most of his time now:

He very much enjoys the $6 patio rug we “stole” at a yard sale earlier this year. (It retails for more than $200 at World Market. Yay, us!)

Anyway, it has only been a few days since Angie left, but they have been busy ones. The tomatoes have been coming off like hotcakes (and so have the field peas!).

Saturday’s tomato and pea harvest. Remember, we only have about 20 sq. feet of garden space.

I spent most of Monday washing, peeling, and cooking tomatoes to can or freeze – which meant that I also had to organize and inventory the freezer.

Almost full!

Yes, there are plastic things in the freezer. We have a “use it until it dies before recycling it” policy here, and most of these plastic things are older than Caesar. (Okay, maybe not that old. He’ll be 17 next month.)

Aside from preserving the harvest of our little garden, I’ve been watching our first ever watermelon grow. This is Angie’s baby. She saved the seeds from a late summer melon last year and convinced my mom to let us put it in the sunniest spot available – right next to the house.

And if that wasn’t busy enough, I’ve been working on crafts for the winter craft show, I picked up a new grant writing gig, and I started relearning the ins and outs of video editing for YouTube.

Now, make no mistake, I’m in no way glorifying busyness for the sake of simply being busy. I’ve taken some time to read and relax with Caesar on the patio too, but the truth of the matter is, I miss my person and staying busy helps tremendously with that.

You might think that two people who spend ever single day together would relish a break. Not us. In nearly a decade, we’ve not run out of things to say to one another. Our [crazy] ideas and adventures provide a steady stream of learning and growing experiences and we truly enjoy doing things together. When either of us is away, we miss the heck out of one another and get an insane amount of projects done at the same time. When I was in NC last fall, Angie took woodworking to a whole new level and even painted my mom’s kitchen!

Our life is never boring, that’s for sure. Speaking of which…

My uncle (yes, this one) is coming to visit my mom this weekend and bringing his kids (age 12 and 14). Right now, they are at the beach, enjoying the last bits of summer before heading back to school. Okay, that last part is a complete lie – not just a half-truth or an exaggeration. They are indeed at the beach but they are not enjoying anything. They are BORED. These kids haven’t left the hotel room except to go eat. My uncle spent $2,100 to stay in a resort right on the beach; and one day in, they are already BORED. They haven’t been to the pool, walked the boardwalk, taken a ride on the giant ferris wheel, enjoyed an ice cream cone, or picked up a single sea shell. My mom says they may even leave early to come here.

I mention this because I have a feeling that even though I’m not a child, I’m going to be expected to entertain them, and that’s just not going to happen. I have zero patience for bored young people, especially ones that have access to a plethora of things to do and deliberately choose not to do them.  And no patience for parents who think their middle-school age children can’t walk a boardwalk by themselves (or go out in their own yard) for fear they will be abducted. My grandmother (the same one who raised my uncle) used to tell me (repeatedly) that if someone were to abduct me, they would bring me back in a hot minute once they saw how much trouble I was. She was joking, of course, but the real message was this – go play, nothing is going to happen. She, along with my parents, taught me not to talk to strangers or get in cars or help find lost puppies; all the while instilling confidence in me instead of fear.

Yes, sometimes bad things do happen and real children disappear but in reality the likelihood of a child being abducted is 1 in 300,000. They are 100 times more likely to get struck by lightning. Yet, neither is a good enough reason to make your children so afraid to go outside that they miss out on the beauty of the world in which they live. I’m not sure how my cousins will fair on their visit to TN if they are already bored at the beach, but we shall see.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject of safety vs. independence when raising children. Or your thoughts on life, love, gardening, or any other topic for that matter 🙂

Cover photo: Our niece (circa the summer of 2008) during our 6-week adventure in Colorado. She turned 21 this week and is still one of the most independent, free-spirited, fun-loving folks I know. Happy Birthday!!