Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Vacation for Grown-Ups (i.e. Bitter Dicks Like Me)

Five days ago I quit my job.

There's no reason to publicly go into why I tendered my resignation (or, "gave the finger to the man" if you'd rather a more romantic vision), but if you know me personally, then you know the main reason. Little reasons like more vacation time, actual sick time, and a casual work atmosphere all played their roles, sure, but the biggie? No reason to divulge.

The cool thing about quitting a job, though, and it dawned on me today as I wallowed in my Short-Timer Syndrome symptoms (lots of yawning, public flatulance, and copious amounts of solitaire/freecell/Hearts/Spider Solitaire - in that order). You see, quitting a job is to us grown-up folk what the last day of school was to us when we were still barely beyond our shootie-shoot stage of formation. It's this grand, epic moment that clearly marks a Change in Your Life, a New Stage, or a New Direction.

We don't really get many of those once we get beyond our 20s. Sure there are the biggies: engagement, marriage (I imagine), kids (I suppose), buying a house. Don't get me wrong, those are big Moments in Your Life, but we don't get them in regularly scheduled intervals like we used to and we forget how important they are to us. We too easily become mired in our routines and the older you get, the fewer of those changes come around.

I feel like this is something I need in a deep and visceral way. I've never had a job longer than two and a half years. While that may be because I got fired, got sick of living in my car, or whatever, I've always been nomadically-inclined in the realm of employment. That's not always a good thing, obviously, because I've missed some really great opportunities if I'd just stuck it out a bit longer. The point is, though, because of some circumstances beyond my influence, I've always had to answer to, beg for mercy from, or simply rely on the kindness of others. Being able to quit a job (and doing so with some measure of regularity) was a big Change in My Life that I had some power over. Sure, the financial monster always needs to be sated, but I never quit without a new job lined up, first. I'm certainly not in that same position anymore, yet old habits die hard. Deep-seated needs for a mental flush and a change of scenery die even harder.

And why should I try to kill the habit off? I really only fucked it up once. Sure... that was a biggie. I know, I know - "biggie" is being diplomatic. Here's the fucking awesome thing about this habit, though: I get to feel that Last Day of School Feeling again. You know the one - the world is my oyster, the freedom of summer, that desire to go climb a tree, look for crawfish in the creek, smoke a bowl and play Halo all day whilst never getting clothed beyond boxers. I am free of the shackles that bind (for a week, sure, but play along)! I get a Summer Vacation before I have to go back to school - and not just a new grade, but a whole new school! Sure, it can leave you a tad anxious, but it's a good anxious; a refreshing anxious that reminds you that life is more than just a string of routines (Morning Routine: Wake up, piss, make coffee, let dog out, shower, let dog in, dress, forget coffee at home, drive to > Daytime Routine: Come in office, run through checklist, drink coffee, answer emails, answer voicemails, wait for something to break, lunch, wait for something to break drive home to > Nightime Routine... you get the idea).

So, I'm fucking excited. I have a big number "7" on my whiteboard. Yesterday, it said "8." My boss looked at it and rolled his eyes, but despite that snarkiness, I saw it in his eyes: Jealousy. He knows what he's missing as much as I know what I need - a Summer Vacation that's more than just one or two weeks off with the family before coming back to a full inbox, blinking voicemail light, and another year of monotony. He's missing and I need real change.

The end of the job marks the beginning of Summer Vacation. I'll have 9 days before the new job starts. Let's see how dirty my feet can get.