What is it about life that makes the things we can’t have so tempting? After nearly a month of putting off writing again and again – my mind shelving it alongside such beloved tasks as cleaning the bathroom and taking out the garbage – this morning I woke up primed and ready to go. The same day I start a new job.
While putting on my face this morning, extra thick because I’ve got people to impress now, these very paragraphs flowed from my consciousness and I couldn’t help but skip a couple beautification steps to jot them down. For me, writing is like crab fishing or oil drilling – once the good stuff starts to flow I better take full advantage because it could dry up at any moment. Fortunately, writing from my couch, laptop on lap and tea in hand, is much safer than either of those other careers – though sadly it doesn’t pay squat. On a more positive note, my couch and I have gone well over six months without a workplace injury or incident, unless you count lethargy.
Unfortunately I’ve got to head off to work today – I can’t just sit around and let the words flow from me as they so choose, drying up just as I reach the last couple paragraphs, resulting in yet another unusable and unpublished piece of writing. After slinking around like a pouting child for the past month, struggling to form sentences, let alone string together a few paragraphs, life doles out a burst of inspiration the minute I don’t have time to see it though.
Fortunately for my bank account, this new job will be a lifeline for my depleted savings; accumulating nicely in a high interest savings account to be spent on a currently unplanned trip to a currently unknown destination to take place at a currently yet to be determined time.
Which brings us back to travel. While accepting a full-time job in an office doesn’t do much to affirm my commitment to the blog, it’s also the only way to make sure we eventually take a trip worth writing about. I’m sure I’ll also be able to pay for a few other secondary items with my shiny new job too – like food or utilities, things that come right after travel in the Have Blog Will Travel Hierarchy of Needs.
Accepting a full time job also emotionally signals the end of a glorious, travel-riddled, chapter of our lives. For the past two years life has been grand, and although we’ve been home for months now with Travis practically living at work all summer, for some reason the future didn’t seem so bleak until I too succumbed to the (self inflicted) pressures to “contribute”.
And this is where our friends and family call bullshit on us because really our futures are pretty darn wonderful – I mean we’re two middle-class Canadians with no real grasp of what the term even means – but for a couple of travel bloggers, a lack of travel plans is just plain painful.
And enter this new chapter of our lives. After putting off the job hunt for as long as possible, opting to focus on my writing and developing our blog, I just couldn’t maintain this holding pattern any longer. Something was going to break, and it eventually did, coming in the form of my words and inspiration and passion for travel writing completely drying up. So it’s back to the grind for me, quite literally, I’ve been hired back by my former employer into a similar position as the one I held right out of university. My life has come full circle already and I have yet to reach my 30th birthday.
Returning to a position like this comes with plenty of pros and cons; however, I can’t get over the personal changes I’ve gone through in the four years since I last haunted these cubicles. Not necessarily noticeable to the outside world, everything about accepting this job feels so different than the last time I was in this position – from my frame of mind, to my outlook on the world, priorities, and the type of life Travis and I want to make for ourselves.
This evening, after my first day at work, I remarked to Travis how interesting it is to see where people end up after we’ve moved on. People I attended training with are now moving into senior roles, leading projects, having families and feel so settled in, just as I’m arriving to start all over again at the beginning. I feel as though I’ve been living in a bunker for the past four years, hiding away underground only to emerge into a world I don’t recognize.
It’s also impossible not to feel a little pang of jealousy for the achievements I could have had if only I’d stuck around instead of chasing jobs and travel. Visions of a cushy office in place of my empty cubicle, a six figure salary, and an impressive title printed on thick business cards immediately come to mind. However, as quickly as this jealousy hits I find it replaced with relief. Relief that I got out, if even for a little bit, and relief that I haven’t been working at any of my previous jobs for the past four years.
Not that there is anything wrong with any of these jobs – actually every position I’ve had since university could be considered a great job – but I just can’t imagine having spent the last four years of my life at any of them. To be blunt I can’t imagine spending the next four years at this new job either.
Call me restless but I don’t quite know how to settle down. For now I’m going to take comfort in the opportunity to replenish my bank account, the sense of accomplishment I feel at the end of each day, and the return of my words. While our domesticated lifestyle is somewhat frightening, and our lack of travel plans overly annoying, nothing has felt as empty as the loss of my voice over the past month. And if 40 hours a week in a featureless cubicle can cure that, I’ll work until retirement and never regret a single moment.