I remember a big question for me, when I was contemplating the leap of faith away from a wage was: ‘What is it really like?”
It has been four months since my last day at work, and I’m pleased to confirm I feel every bit as happy and energised and inspired as I did on the 9th of April, when I wrote the below journal entry. If you’re contemplating changing your life, and can’t seem to get the final push of strength to jump, know this. There will never be a good time. But, if you are unhappy – there’s sure as hell never a bad time.
Seize it. Who knows what you could be.
Life after –
I lay in Queens Gardens today, staring up into the cerulean. Sun hot on my thighs below my shorts, my bag a makeshift pillow. Soft greenery under me; shag pile relaxing. My Kindle and phone obsolete in my hand – I couldn’t bring myself to think, only to feel. Walkers came and went, little drifts of conversation found me and threaded on with the wind. I fell asleep, shoes off, complete abandonment. In the space of a week I have become so relaxed that I fall asleep in parks. Drunk with the relief, the familiar taste of the cream of living, the simplest of natural pleasures. Cotton sheets. Warm afternoon sun. The smile of a friend as they greet me. Small talk with strangers. The sway of a bus, half-filled with a smattering of my neighbours, old and young. It makes me drowsy with contentment. I don’t care if I never shop again. Let my clothes wear away to rags. Let my mugs all be chipped. My soft heels will harden with my wanderings; my handbag will become a rucksack. If the cost of freedom is everything material, then it’s still so cheap. Take all this consumer crap and throw it in a pit, I’ll light the match. And laugh around the pyre with my friends, my family, my neighbours. I’m back from the corporate labour camp. Ready to join the land of the living again.
I went out to lunch with Danya, a business associate from my former life. Having never had a role model to speak of, Danya embodies everything I want to be. She’s gracious, naturally beautiful and warm, highly intelligent and a natural leader. I can’t help but fawn. I was worried we wouldn’t have as much to talk about since I’ve resigned, but how wrong I was. She took me to a cute new eatery, the Gordon Street Garage in West Perth. The colour scheme was just like my home – blues and greens and cute little plants and odd items strewn around. The food was rustic and interesting. We leaned into each other on stools, chatting ceaselessly and naturally. I didn’t think I could adore her more, but she continues to surprise me. I’m tickled every time she wants to meet – I wonder what it is she sees in me. Perhaps her own charm, reflected in my eyes.
Later still, I met Lauren, and Conrad, and Mike in chinatown for dinner. We missed the beautiful Raf (regular readers may remember I borrowed his name for Northern Lights) by a matter of minutes, as he came later. He’s lovely; quietly kind and gentlemanly. I love that he can let a pause resonate, deepen, without obliterating it with chatter. It gives one time to think.
For myself, more and more I see no one but Conrad. Other men seem weak, obscured by their selfishness, their insecurity, their guarded fear of falling foul of the fashions of the day – atheism and apathy. To the urban male, nothing could be more demoralising than appearing as though they cared more about a woman than she about them. Chivalry is not only dead: feigned nonchalance and bravado defaces its corpse. But they doth protest too much. Boy children, there is little to gain in this M.O. besides nursing a weak mind and childish pride, which aren’t worth protecting. Don’t fear the humiliation of wearing your heart for all to see, and being scorned. Fear that when you need to show your heart, you will be too cowardly, and too inexperienced to find it. There is no shame in engaging with the full spectrum of human emotion. Be passionate, be rejected; love and lose all. Most of all, be present. Walls keep things in, and keep things out. Therein lies the problem.
Conrad is never afraid of being the last to text, the first to call, the first to say “I love you.” He was never ‘fashionably’ late, never changed into a different person with his friends. He turned up when he said he would. Yes he’s beautiful, and strong, and fit and funny and honest and kind and gentle with animals and children. But the best part is that he never pretended to be anything else.
Be yourselves, young men, and do it with conviction. Love and lose authentically. Without apology, without a backward glance to the pack. Be courageous. Take off the shades and look her in the eye.