Slowly, then all at once

Slowly, then all at once

In The Sun Also Rises, one character asks another how he went bankrupt.

“Two ways,” he says. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

I feel the same about this move and all the changes I’m making. It’s like I’ve been standing in line for the high dive, watching kid after kid plummet before me, working up the courage as I take one step up the ladder, then another. Finally, I’ve arrived at the top. It’s my turn to summon courage, take a running start, and leap.

People don’t see the waiting. They don’t see you eyeballing the high dive for hours while splashing around with your friends, maybe across several visits to the pool. They don’t hear you float the idea, “I might try that,” then giggle-splash. They don’t see the lead-up to your even getting in line. They see your cannon ball or hear you screech, limbs flailing, on the way down. (This is VERY BAD high-dive strategy, for the record. Keep your arms to your side and try to enter the water as a skinny little plank. You don’t want your arm fat slapping needle-water from such great heights, trust me.)

A common response when I tell people I’m going freelance and nomadic is something along the lines of, “Wow, you’re really going for it.” They feel like I’m doing things all at once because they’re catching me at my running start. They haven’t see the slow, long process that got me here—a year of interviews with Adrift on Purpose guests, tiny little changes to my habits and life setup, extensive planning, and so, so many journal entries.

Like with Hemingway’s bankruptcy, a series of tiny decisions compounded over time to create exponential effects down the line. Unlike bankruptcy, I’m happy with the outcome.

Of course, I’m still terrified of the leap ahead—it’s still surreal to think in one week I’ll be officially without an address—but I’m exhilarated, too. I can’t wait to find out how it will feel to have jumped. (Wedgie. If experience has taught me anything, it will feel like a wedgie.)

Setting Adrift — On Purpose

Setting Adrift — On Purpose

After a year of interviews for Adrift on Purpose, I finally decided to untether myself, to take the lessons from the people who’ve shared them and apply them to my own life.

To that end, as of June 16, I’ll no longer have a day job in corporate America and will be going it on my own as an independent contractor.

As of June 30, I’ll no longer have an apartment. Instead, I’ll be traveling in the US and Canada for the summer, spending a few weeks with family Minnesota, and making it up as I go after that. Everything after August is a question mark. (As move-out day approaches, this timeline seems completely bonkers, but here we are.)

I wanted to chronicle this experience, in real time, for two reasons:

  1. To help Future Meg remember all the wide-eyed optimism I started with, and all the weird experiences that are sure to come from this
  2. To demystify the process for others

My favorite part of the podcast is getting to interview people who are living unconventional lives—hearing how they untethered themselves from soul-crushing mundanity and found fulfillment on alternative paths. If I can offer a similar peek behind the curtains for curious onlookers, possibly help them muster their own courage to make changes, then maybe I’ll feel like I’m giving back even the tiniest sliver of what’s been gifted to me.

So that’s why I’m here, and that’s what’s on the horizon.

Alternately, I’ll give up after a few months, crawl back into a corporate womb, and pretend this blog never existed.