A year ago today I wiped my classroom chalkboard clean for the last time, and walked out into the New York City summer as a truly free woman.
I had been waiting for this moment for what felt like eons. We’d been planning to leave, in some form or another, for years, and I had been imagining this moment for nearly as long. Don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t hate my job, I just knew that this part of my life was coming to an end and I was ready to move onto the next bit.
Honestly, it was a little anti-climactic. Two days later we packed up the rental truck and drove what remained of our belongings back to a storage unit in Colorado, so at the time we were still in a bit of a frenzy.
Before we officially set out on this journey we took 4 months to decompress in Vermont, which was a lifesaver. Living in New York City turns you into a different kind of beast, and I was ready to unwind and re-learn how to live slowly.
Not working is exactly as great as it sounds. If we could do it forever, we would! At the time, there were some murmurs of worry from well-intentioned friends and family. People worried that we were leaving very stable jobs and benefits for something unknown. People worried that we would have a hard time replacing those jobs when we were finished travelling. People worried that we’d become lazy and not have the motivation to work.
The thing is, those were their big worries, not necessarily ours. I’m not going to tell you we didn’t have some moments of doubt or fear along the way, or that we haven’t thought about the obstacles we may face when we return. We’ve got a plan for facing the potentially difficult job market as well as a healthy re-entry fund, and that’s all anyone can really do in our situation.
The other day a friend posted this on Facebook:
There is incredible truth in that statement. Anything you want that requires change is likely to be at least a little bit scary. If you never confront that fear, you will never be able to make the changes.
We know that there are no guarantees in this life. That’s exactly why we’ve spent every day this last year living with wild abandon even when, or perhaps especially when, it frightens us. For the first time in my life I can say that I am living my life without regret. I know that we may not ever get an opportunity like this again, and I refuse to let fear stand in the way.