Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Without a Net

Oh, my little brain has been bouncing around like the ball in a freakish, high stakes game of ping pong . My personal movie score changes second by second from the Rocky theme to World on Fire to Greatest Love of All.

OK, so I made up that last bit (Whitney Houston? Please.) but you get the picture. I have a burning question that plagues me. My constant inner dialogue sounds pretty much like this: Follow the money/follow the bliss? Follow the money/follow the bliss? Follow the money/follow the bliss?

On the face if it, such an easy question, but my optimism (glass half full) is usually tempered with an extravagant dose of realism - some might call it "pessimism" or "anxiety" or "vibrating too high". I call it The Glass Half on Fire.

Some dead existentialist once said that perception is reality (So, does he now perceive that he is dead? How do I know the color blue to you is the same as... ) Yoda said, "Do or do not do. There is no try."

Indeed, but platitudes do not shoes on the baby put.

The point I'm trying to make, in my rambling, parenthetical way, is that my entire view of the question of whether to keep the money job or go for the bliss job changes so dramatically and thoroughly depending on which way the wind is blowing. I have my head up my navel, searching the universe for a guarantee that everything will be OK. I've asked my parents what they think, my friends, my dogs, fortune cookies, the In Style horoscope page, random bumper stickers, the set list at Friday's Ani DiFranco show. Surely the omens are out there trying to guide me. Why can't they speak up???

The fact is that there is no guarantee. Clinging to the notion that I can find it somewhere will simply result in my dying the thousand deaths of the proverbial coward. According to Zen, it is this desire to always avoid pain and seek out security that causes suffering. In Zen, it is only by embracing groundlessness, by swimming so far out to sea that you no longer have the reference point of the shore, that you can become awakened.

Really? 'Cuuuz that sounds like it would make me rilly, rilly, uncomfortable.

Perhaps another analogy would be that, in the great trapeze act of life, you have to let go of the one trapeze in order to catch the next one. Otherwise you just hang there, swinging and running of momentum, eventually calling "A little help here?" to an empty circus tent. And no, you don't get a net.

I tell myself that the decision would be easier if I didn't have a child to consider, but maybe that's disingenuous. I'd agonize about it in any case. The real question is this: Is it a better life lesson for him to see his mommy following her dreams and standing up for her convictions, or for him to have a miserable corporate mommy who buys him lots of crap but hates her life?

I gave notice at my corporate gig yesterday.


PS: On the topic of religion, I give you Eddie Izzard's Church of England.


flutter said...

Seems to dear, dearest Foop, that you have no fear to fly.

I love it.

jakelliesmom said...

And now I'm sure the Zen masters (among others) might ask you, "now that you've quit, how do you feeeeeel?" Liberated? Panicked?

Personally, I think it's awesome and applaud your courage.

furiousBall said...

that's awesome. good on you.

liv said...


(and seriously, i award you most likely to succeed based on your accurate usage of the word "Zen." that is all.)

Ponygirl said...

No shit! Right on, Gonz. Remember the days when we were so carefree we could take acid at midnight the night before we were supposed to work a 10am shift? OK, that wasn't "we" it was me, and I did get fired from Mountain Jack's for that but you know what? I left for Atlanta soon after and I had a kicking new job there the day after I arrived and I didn't have to work for that Glen mo-fo-dick manager guy any more. So what I'm saying is that usually (putting the inherent irresponsibility of dropping acid aside) when you do what you really want to do, things turn out for the better. I think you did the right thing.

A great boss told me this once: If you love what you do, the money will come. I have found that he's right.

invisible woman said...

Oh dear,
My little girl has grown up.
I don't remember you reading about Zen in college, but hey--that was a long time ago. You've gotten much, much more independent and pretty, pretty strong.

In a weird sort of way (i mean, its not like I'm your mom or nothin'), I'm proud of you.

Good luck Original Party Chick.
p.s., to all those brunnettes out there: I still have my "South Side Irish" shirt, and i wore it on St. Patty's day throughout the Marina--where no one gave a sh__!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Flying without a net. A very good thing if you ask me.

bzybead said...

"I'm young, I'm wild and I'm free Got the Magic Power of the Music . . . in me"(FYI, I had to figure out if it was "we're or I'm. A perfect example of a Greg annoyance)

Ani gave us some good insights as always.

Love ya sista' . . .

Candy said...

I have always wondered about that color thing...I never knew anyone else wondered it too...

Good luck on this journey.

fooped said...

Flutter and Jakelliesmom: are you kidding?? I'm terrified. But in a happy, kind of amazed at my crazytude way.

Ponygirl - "Dude, where are all the damn parts to the bread bins?"

Invisible Woman - no, I wasn't reading Zen in college but I did have a summer fling with the existentialists. Might explain the binge drinking. And nobody rocks the southside Irish tank like you, sister.

Thanks everyone for the support!

Oh, The Joys said...

I think, in the end, it was thinking about how your son would see you that was the sign.

That is so effing cool!!

(But not as cool as suesue reading your blog!)

Maggie said...

sounds to me like your song is Free Falling (you know falling in a good way. no a wonderful superb awesome its so phat it's sick kind of way).

Matt Bell said...

You absolutely rule. I opted out of a cushy corporate job about 4 years years ago, and in my first year, my salary was around 1/10th of that of the previous (I'm actually not kidding). I have now surpased it by a comfortable margin, but more importantly still, feel a better person for it.

Ponygirl said...

For a second I got scared that Invisible Woman was Foop's mom and that I just exposed the true extent of my early party ways to her. But then the Irish tank made sense, and I thought god knows Invisible Woman was there to see first-hand the extent of my party ways in all their fiery wildness. So phwew! Close one.