This may be one of my lower points this week, but I am admitting to watching (for the first time) The Bachelorette. I, too, am a fan of Frank… and he is this week’s muse.
In this week’s episode, he talked about somewhat spontaneously leaving his job and moving to Paris … figuring it out as he went along. He was an expatriate, if you will, for a time, and said it was absolutely worth while. In the Week 2 episode, he also said: “I feel like career will always be there, and we can always jump back in to that. I feel like you only have so many shots at finding love and if you wait too long, great opportunities pass you by.”
How does one embrace this?
No, seriously. I really want to know. I have friends who are successfully expatriating, or have. And I am the black sheep of my group of cousins in that I: (a) live in America, and (b) work in a “normal and boring” job [which I still love]. But I have a little, albeit increasingly louder, part of me that wants to not do the prudent thing for once. I want to break out of this plotted course and chart a new one. Can I jump ship?
The responsible side of me is having fits right now. Why on earth would I leave a great job that I love, and head out into the unknown, without employment? How prudent is that? And good luck finding a job when you get back from your little foray; nobody likes an out-of-practice lawyer.
The slightly bolder side is countering: Why are you letting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity disappear further in the rear-view mirror? Isn’t life about living? Remember all your fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventures? Each one was remarkable and worth it. Go. Jump ship.
It’s a time like this when I call on adventurers. One of my favorite passages comes from Mark Twain:
Indeed, the Island Wilderness is the very home of romance and dreams and mystery. The loneliness, the solemnity, the beauty, and the deep repose of this wilderness have a charm which is all their own for the bruised spirit of men who have fought and failed in the struggle for life in the great world; and for men who have been hunted out of the great world for crime; and for other men who love an easy and indolent existence; and for others who love a roving free life, and stir and change and adventure; and for yet others who love an easy and comfortable career of trading and money-getting, mixed with plenty of loose matrimony by purchase, divorce without trial or expense, and limitless spreeing thrown in to make life ideally perfect.
We sailed again, refreshed.
-Mark Twain, Following the Equator.
So how do I weigh a great job, a stable living situation, and the sense of security this offers against the prospect of a hiatus from the plotted course, with adventure, uncertainty, and whatever else may come? Am I crazy to contemplate such a leap? It sure feels that way.
But, again, I consult an adventurer:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-Mark Twain (again).
Prudent versus Life.
Retro re-post of the day: Assumptions.