A friend called me last week, upset that she had to cancel our plans, but much more distraught over the reason why. She was exhausted by work. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. Her job, it seemed, was eating her soul. Well, perhaps I’m being a little dramatic about it. So I guess you can see where I stand on that subject.
If my life could have a theme, I think it would be that life is short. I’ve always felt this way. Even before becoming disabled. After all, I did quit my own soul-sucking job when I was twenty-seven to bike solo throughout Europe. Then again, I stayed for the money for years before quitting, socking it away and planning my escape while driving home every day miserable and in tears. So, who am I to advise?
But, I’ll do it anyway. Maybe, the question for my friend is — is it worth it? Is the trade off of investing more of your time in this unfulfilling place all for some nobler cause? I think, in her case, it is. And we’re talking about sticking it out for less than four months anyway! People can survive a lot for just four months.
In my case, I stuck it out much longer. But I’d like to think my plan was that much grander, too. And what about now? Now that I’m in a wheelchair? You better believe I think about that trip all the time now and am filled with gratitude that I had the guts. What if I hadn’t gone? I had some friends making bets behind my back about how long I’d last. In case you’re wondering — those are naysayers. What if I’d listened to the naysayers? “Aren’t you worried about the gap in your resume?” they asked. Look at me now. Do I seem concerned about the gap? And it was a big one. I was gone for close to six months.
I have another friend who just quit managing a restaurant she’s owned for twenty-five years. She had to listen to lots of naysayers. I tried to be the voice of reason. “Think of it as simply making space. You’re making more room in your life for the things you really want to be doing.”
And these courageous acts don’t have to be as huge and life changing as the ones I’ve described. Heck, brave for me nowadays is rolling into the Subway at the gym and ordering from a stranger who I hope will understand me and be patient while I fumble through the transaction.
I was at the gym last week, using the only machine I felt comfortable with and suffering from a severe case of gym-timidation when in rolled my friend Dani. (I’ve written about her before. The girl with Spina bifida? Who’s blind?) Well, you haven’t felt cowardly till a blind girl in a wheelchair taps her way right past you to try out several different machines. So what’s my excuse? Or yours, for that matter?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, in the words of my friend Michele and Nike, do it. Whatever it is. Take a deep breath and go for it. And in the words of that overplayed song that I love, I wanna see you be brave.