Living in a city again, trying to return to the profession I left 8 years ago, I am finding myself having to be something else than what I’ve become. I have already spent the first month I was here temping for a position where I kept feeling like I had to hush myself…instead of being outwardly excited about anything! I believe that part of my magic has been how loudly I laugh and how excited I get about things that make it contagious. How I can make anyone laugh at the ridiculousness of life! How to stop taking shit so seriously!
Last week, I applied for a job…yes a great job, that I could do…but yet I probably will not get it. I will probably not even be considered for it. Why? Because I have the wrong things on my resume…I don’t know how to describe myself in a way that makes me attractive for that job. Am I capable of walking into a restaurant or bar to ask for a job? Of course and yes, I am very successful at that job because I am quickly given the chance to show that world what a hard worker I am.
In the past month, I was able to get up in the morning and get dressed in professional clothes and heels and put on my wool coat and leather gloves as I commuted in to an office that was meant to be a baby step towards my returning to the level of position I had left 8 years ago…a position that then took me years to get to in addition to my having to obtain my Master’s degree. And I fit in with those commuting around me. Except maybe there’s a voice in my head screaming at me to go do what I love to do more. Go bartend and make friends with perfect strangers who come in everyday to throw one back and complain about their jobs before they return home to the suburbs/families/responsibilities, etc. that they also will complain about.
That is what I love to do…spend a few minutes welcoming someone to a place for a drink and asking what can I get them…before ushering them on to someplace else. Where it doesn’t matter if I curse or have a shiny nose or a hair out of place…where I have no problems laughing out loud at life and people and politics and at myself! Where I am my own boss, essentially because I know how to make people fans of my service enough to always tip me well. Where it doesn’t matter if I’ve spelled every word on my resume correctly and in the same fashion as the HR Manager who is reading it would want me to.
What do I want? I have been asked this a million times in my life…and I’ve always said that I want to be happy…while always having been happy. I am the most positive person you could ever meet. I seriously wake up in the morning and I am happy. I used to have to tell myself that I was happy and then I’d get up…now it’s just automatic. If something bothers me…I change it. Just like that! If someone bothers me, their punishment is that they are just not allowed in my life anymore. No questions asked.
Now if someone asks me, what do you want…I simply say that I want to be free. That’s an interesting change, no? What made me change? Why do I suddenly answer so differently? I caught myself saying it for the first time a few months ago…I want to be free. But free from what? Or free to do what? I want to be free from having to fit into a mold…a society that I disagree with. Let’s face it…isn’t that what drove me crazy 8 years ago when I had thought I had achieved my goal by finally earning 6 figures? …until I packed up all my shit and moved to Mexico to become a dive instructor…a position that certainly did not require me to have my MBA!
I understand…and always have…that money is a means to an end. It is what keeps us free from having to sacrifice material things and habits (like dining out and traveling with friends and manicures and nice apartments) in order to pay our rent and put food on the table and clothes on our back. It also causes us to feel successful. We believe that the more money we earn translates into the more successful we have become.
Recently, I saw some clips from an old Bob Marley interview where he was asked about being rich. The interviewer asked him if he was rich, Bob Marley said yes. The interviewer asked if he had millions of dollars in the bank…and Bob Marley said no and explained that his kind of richness was life.
I am going to miss out on life if I bury myself in an office again. I will lose that richness that I’ve discovered in the past 8 years just to take a job that will make me rich with money. I will lose the person I am who makes people laugh at life and at themselves and at the world and what we’ve made of it. Is that what I want? Will that make me happy? Or do I want to remain being free to be who I want to be every morning? Free to say what others are only thinking? Free to chat with people about their lives and their problems and make them appreciate what they have and what options are out there waiting for them? Remind them how lucky they are…how lucky we all are just for waking up in the morning. What a difference we all make everyday in our own worlds…the impression we make on other people…the advice we give and the experiences we have that others play witness to. How courageous we each are inside of our own realms everyday just for existing and fighting to live on under our own terms! This is what I define as being free to live the life I love…the one of my choosing!
So I get that if I earned that salary again I would have more options myself…but would I have to sacrifice myself and my freedom first in order to get there? This is what I am reflecting on this week…