Mark resigned from his job this week, a somewhat spontaneous decision following months of weighty conversations after dinner or over morning coffee. He and I are generally not the risk-taking types–more often falling into the first-born, responsible, plan-ahead category–so it feels weird and uncomfortable to shrug our shoulders at what might happen next. We’re not really quite sure. In the course of our fifteen years together, I can think of two similar and spontaneous course-changing decisions: the first, deciding to marry after one date, and the second, selling our previous home without knowing where we were going as a family (for the long-term). This decision will mark the third.
At some point, I suppose we all pull back the covers of our own lives to peek at what lies beneath, to expose the course, to evaluate the parts that expend and fill our time and energy. We give ourselves up to dream for a bit and consider the optimistic what if? But the practice of doing is complicated. Life is complicated, even when the course seems simple and clear. Ben Franklin admonished,”Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” It is the 18th century version of YOLO, although I’m sure the phrases are not equally applied. Mark and I both have so much in us to write, to say, to do. We have a very specific vision for our family. The tricky part for us, and any parents working to provide for their children and home, is knowing when the ideal time arrives to make the leap, to leave one path and forge another. At what point do you have enough money saved, enough opportunity available, or enough courage swallowed to start something new? Again, I’m not sure. But I do know time is a shifting unknown variable, and when I reach the end of mine, I’d like to know I at least tried, regardless of the outcome.
Do not squander time. It’s almost haunting to hear these words from the past, like Marley’s ghost warning against misused opportunity. I realize none of these words imply one should stop a salaried job or even reconsider a life trajectory, but perhaps for our family, they do. Perhaps it is time to move on, even though we’re not yet exactly sure where or how. Perhaps, again, in this third radical departure from our life plan, the most sensible route is not necessarily the best one.
Mark and I are both reasonable enough to that know plans rarely flesh out the way we’ve imagined. We know that although he has left one piece of his career behind, a much harder work looms before us. We’ve shifted to a minimal budget (again), preparing as best as we can for the pinch of an immediately smaller income. He will continue working a flexible freelancing schedule he maintained the last four years in addition to his full-time job, but he’ll also be involved with more of the homeschooling, something that feels even more special for all of us as our children grow older. I, on the other hand, plan to materialize some pocketed dreams I’ve had for this space, and again, feel an extra surge of gratitude for your readership and support. Naturally, we do at times face a twinge of panic and doubt. But we also feel expectant, trusting the path will open before us as we begin stepping forward. The future, for all of us, is always somewhat blurry, but it is also bright.