The First Day

This past weekend didn’t really work for me.

After spending many years collecting little packets of straw–a small project here, a small promise there–I finally collected enough on my back to utterly shatter me. It wasn’t that I suddenly realized I wasn’t enjoying life, I wasn’t going in a direction I was particularly fond of, and my health was deteriorating at a pace that made me fear for the inevitable point of no return. There was no eureka moment, no flood of insight. It was merely a casual recognition of just how much hate I was carrying around in my heart every single day, and how very sad that made me. It was the sadness that did the back-breaking.

People who know me know that I’m only a programmer because that’s the easiest way I’ve found to generate the currency required to live a simple life without worrying about bills. The money has been so typically and continually reliable that I’ve been able to take long sabbaticals from work entirely, for months and months at a time, to pursue my own personal enlightenment. I live simply enough that though I don’t have many hundreds of thousands of socked-away dollars, I do have enough that even during those breaks, I don’t worry about bills.

It’s been a good arrangement for me, and one that helps me to balance my feelings of “my worth as a human is directly related to my worth as an employee” with “corporate America remains the number one murderer of Ameircans.” I spend a couple years generating profit for companies, getting angrier and angrier, then I schedule my next sabbatical, give my notice, and spend a year writing a book (but not finishing–no, no, not finishing) or something.

This time the build-up only took 10 months. To be fair, I hadn’t done a very good job of maintaining my last break, which was interrupted by the flames of personal tragedy and self-employment over-promising, and some kindling in the guise of a convenient job offer at the precise moment I needed distraction from ashes of my life. But the embers were fed by that job, and the tiniest lick of flame was fanned by my martyrdom complex into all-consuming flame.

I’m such a drama queen.

I quit my job yesterday. I had a long conversation with my boss, who is a friend, who supports me because he is my friend (for we all want our friends to do well), and because he is my boss (for what kind of a manager values an employee sipping daily from poison and invective?), and we parted from the office on the best of terms.

And when I stepped out of that building? A hundred pounds lighter, all of it from my shoulders. My jaw unclenched without me having to think about it for the first time in months. A deep breath. When I got home, I slept without remorse, without stress, without manufactured issues floating through my mind.

So today is the first day. I don’t know if this is the first of seven or seven hundred, but when your goal is the removal of clutter your mind, counting the days until returning to chaos shouldn’t be your goal.