In recent months, I have been congratulating an increasing number of people on their new-found unemployment or radical change of career direction.
Even writing this sentence seems counter-intuitive!
However, more and more people seem to put into question the status quo and are shelving the notion of security. Instead, they pick up the dusty adventure novel that is a more unconventional path in life. But one that they have chosen.
For some, of course, compromising their stability is not an option. And others who are currently unemployed due to circumstances out of their control, a chance to earn their living is what is most important, forget the fluff of “unconventional life paths”.
But there seems to be a large group of people who daydream about just that – something new, different and exciting. Endless books, programs and motivational speeches talk about the subject of finding more meaning in our “9 to 5″s. And it seems that I am currently surrounded by the aforementioned lot in various stages of change.
It is very exciting to witness this internal commotion – the dream of something different, the research, the trials, the anticipation, the sheer fear culminating in a jump into the unknown.
Forgive me for being an analogy junkie, but the image that springs to mind is that of us being on a giant and luxurious cruiser ship. It’s comfortable here, the food is abundant, the entertainment exciting and varied, the cabins sufficient and many people to meet and mingle with. Yet, there is the nagging feeling that in the blue waters all around, there may be more.
Among the jumpers, some seem to have a clear view of where in these waters they wish to navigate, others just want to twirl in its inviting and free-flowing blueness.
Unquestionably, the hardest part is to jump off. The cruiser is travelling fast and all on board will continue without us… No one really cares if there is one less person on the ship… more space for the others! It’s a scary thought that leaving our current circumstance will ultimately go almost completely unnoticed…
And the warmth of the sun has heated us into a state of complacency and the waters will surely be a cold shock to the system… we hesitate.
But then, a healthy dose of madness takes over and so many people decide to plunge! As we all know, it takes but 2 seconds for the water to become comfortable, and to our surprise (and everyone’s on the deck watching!) we can swim just fine. All of a sudden, we are off that ship of security and are now in the depths of exciting currents of possibilities. It’s an amazing feeling and very empowering.
Whenever I am around these individuals, there is a rawness to their presence. A sense of empowerment surrounds them. This is not to say that there is no fear; of course the deep blue waters contain many creatures of uncertainty, but I guess this is part of the excitement. We are finally steering the ship! What could be better!?
This jump could take several forms. People deciding to work less to have more time with the kids, switching careers for lesser pay but more fulfilment, gradually easing into self-employment or just making a brazen shift into the exploration of different possibilities.
And so here I am, congratulating yet another friend who is blissfully floating, enjoying every stroke of her own command. Freedom. Let’s cheer to that!
Here is a selection of pics that represent moments where I have felt this sense of magic that accompanies choices centred around freedom.
Thank you for reading and sharing these moments with me! And here’s to many more!