So I quit that life and I hit the road. And I’m still going. Everyone likes to call it a phase. And rattle of trite clichés about “growing up” and “settling down” and “changing my mind” and “getting it out of my system.” I think they truly believe that one day you reach a magic age when you must get serious and settle down into the mendacity of a 9-5 job. This life supposedly offers the steady security that your life will never falter and will never be scary, but will never be crazy nuts either. I promised myself never to go back there lest I go back to the dark corner of hell where I was wallowing. Go ahead. Roll your eyes at my youthful naïveté all you want. I’ll add you to my list of people to call in ten years and say, “I told you so.” And yes, there really is such a list.
Monday, May 17, 2010
The Quitter Who Laughs Last
This is not a fairy tale. But it does end happily ever after. I think.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I lived in cubical hell. And then I quit my perfectly logical, very reasonable, well-enough paying job, packed a duffel bag and hopped on a plane to Aspen. And I’m not going back.
I have a history of quitting. And of making quick decisions once I make up my mind. I just pack my bags and go. My father likes to be melodramatic about these things and worry that I will never amount to anything and end up barefoot and pregnant every time I quit something. Herein lies a brief history of my quitting.
First I quit college. Four times.
I spent approximately one month of my freshman year at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. It just didn’t feel right. And for the first time I trusted my gut. And it felt good. And then I quit two more schools just for good measure. And then I graduated.
Then I got into Oxford. So I went. Because it was Oxford. And if you get into Oxford you go. I guess. But it just wasn’t for me. I like freedom, and mountains and madness. Not seven hundred year-old stiflingly damp tradition in a flat, damp land. So I quit.
Then I went a got me one of those high-paying jobs. At a reliable company. With reliable pay increases. Doing reliable work. With reliable people. It was a great company. Just not for me. The problem was that I hate reliability. I like remarkable. And really the opposite of remarkable is very good. And McMaster was very good. But not remarkable. I was seeking something.
I was seeking myself. I still am. Hopefully I still will be on the day I hit the pearly gates with a six-pack and a slew of stories. I was seeking that madness that feels like its going to explode out of you like an orgasm of lunacy. I was seeking people who inspire me to be just a little more insane every day. People who ask, “Why not?” instead of, “Why bother?” I needed to find my fellow dreamers and sinners – my desperados and free birds, my rolling stones and high-flying birds. I like crazy people with a gleam in their eye. I like the kind of people who might walk out the door and never come back because the world was calling and they had to go. These people have broken my heart and destroyed me. They’ve left me lying naked on the floor asking, “What the hell just happened?”
But they challenged me, and pissed me off and made me question my reality, my morals, my dreams and my soul. And I have stories and laughs and tears. But never a dull moment. And I’d rather have that remarkable life than a life of safe reliability, a stable marriage and a good paycheck. Because I guess I am just fucking nuts. And each day I get a little bit closer to the authentic me. My own crazy devil without a cause.
And I know it’s going to end happily ever after. And I will find people to share my ride with. And every night before I fall asleep I pray (even heathens can believe in God). I thank God for having the strength to change the way I was. And I ask for peace of mind, and a gentle hand, and a miracle to heal my broken soul. And I pray – don’t let us get sick, or old, just let us be together tonight.