Today is Day 1. I am a kite, cut free of its string to soar and drift as I please before falling slowly back to Earth. And by Earth, I mean work. My parents forbid retirement at age 25.
I awake to a clear and sunny morning, the sun’s rays illuminating the rooftops of Hoboken’s yawning buildings. The dawn feels unlike other Monday mornings and from my position near the window, the bricks and facade seem to stretch in greeting the new day. Boyfriend Billy, however, is less overjoyed to hear the alarm clock buzz for the 2nd snooze and hurriedly rushes around the bedroom in the routinely frantic search for glasses and keys. I roll over and go back to sleep. Funemployment waits for no woman.
The sidewalks at 9:30am are all but deserted. The line at Starbucks contains a mere two or three caffeine-deprived yet relaxed individuals who patiently wait their turn without so much as a grumble or check of the watch. The world is completely devoid of morning commuters and I can’t remember the last time I’ve loved New York City so much.
My biggest problems now consist of when to eat lunch, if I should exercise and just what exactly constitutes the maximum number of daily naps. My body’s significant decrease in stress restores harmony to my muscles and bones. In my silent apartment, words tumble from my thoughts and through my fingers; a stillness broken only by the street noise and gentle hum of the refrigerator. Without meetings to schedule and phone calls to take, time is made whole again.
Why did I need to quit a job in order to reassess what matters in my life and focus on the people and activities that make me happy? While I’m not gearing up for another backpacking trip through Europe, my time off feels almost as special. I finally have those magical minutes in a day to be a tourist in a city I barely know and reach out to people I love yet neglected for far too long.
So let that be a lesson to you, self. Stop using work as an excuse for failing to complete those little things you’ve wanted to do.
(def.) New Sneakers feeling: the feeling that occurs directly after putting on a brand new pair of squeaky new sneaks.
As a child, it was the feeling of unwavering confidence that directly followed a trip home from the sporting goods store. I distinctly remember removing my new shoes from their box and tying the laces just like my parents taught me. Right there on the grass, I would jump and prance on the lawn before taking off down the gravel driveway and fly fly flying on shoes made for Hermes. I was the faster girl in the world and nothing could slow me down.
After high school, the New Sneakers feeling was more contained. Instead of running circles around my dad’s legs, I would lace up and take an extra long run or get on a treadmill with seemingly untapped reserves of strength. But the feeling was short-lived. I knew better by now. Shoes weren’t magic; they were just shoes. And I was the same old me.
And then, the New Sneakers feeling began manifesting itself in different ways. I recognized it as the feeling that accompanied a big change or start of something new: the day before my trip to Europe, my college graduation, my 25th birthday party. At each of those moments, I once again felt like I’d laced up a new pair of cleats before the championship game. The world was my oyster and nothing could slow me down.
Once again, I have the New Sneakers feeling. As of Friday, I’ll be leaving my current company for a new opportunity. And once again, I’m taking a risk and reveling in my newfound freedom.
We spend so much time worrying about the future. We learn to fear change because of the unknowns that lie ahead. What’s the best move? What if we fail? What if we let someone down or have regrets? I understand those fears. These fears keep us from making impulsive decisions and help us validate our current path. But these fears also keep us from the New Sneakers feeling we so desperately need to feel alive.
Do you remember the feeling of your feet in new sneakers for the first time? There was no question of where to go, how fast or for how long. There was no fear of failure or defeat.
You already had the potential to fly.