Updated 1/27/2016 to correct an intolerable number of typos.
I took off the last 2 weeks of December in anticipation that the last day of the year would mark my last day at National Geographic after almost 26 years--that's 9,448 days, but who counts. It was an amazing experience--many jobs, at least 2 careers, and tremendous people, all under a single roof. The decision to leave was not taken lightly or made with ease. The recent reorganization (just Google "Washington Post National Geographic") presented me with both a job opportunity and a chance to take a voluntary separation package. I chose the latter. I hope that years from now I can have a Frost-like moment when I can rightly compare this inflection point in the arc of my life story to those roads in a yellow wood. I confess that having just reread "The Road Not Taken," I'm struck by just how very appropriate it is to the moment.
So here I am, nearly a month later. I've had a couple weeks of holiday slacking, followed by a couple weeks of a lingering, gurgling, post-holiday virus, which I can always count on before Epiphany. I've cleaned the closets, remembered how to cook, cleared the backlog of ironing, and tidied my desk. And of course we've had a blizzard, affectionately dubbed "Snowzilla". Now what? I suppose it's time to embrace this whole idea of being a self-employed artist. You see, that's what this leap of faith is supposed to be about--moving from my day-to-day corporate job to being a full time working artist. The universe has seen fit to send me several bits of reassurance that I've made the right decision: a supportive husband, a host of friends cheering me on, a small show at the New Deal Cafe, and a commission that I'm hoping to finalize within a week. I'm grateful.
What's missing at this point is a routine, my great boss, and my work friends.
A regular rhythm to my day is only just starting to come together. I like a certain amount of routine and a certain amount of flexibility, but I'm little surprised to find just how aimless one can become when all structure is taken away.
I've had good bosses and bad bosses--and I mean seriously bad. I was fortunate to leave NGS on a high note, having spent most of the last 2 years working for a great boss. I miss having a leader I can follow with confidence and someone who I knew was thinking faster and farther than I was. Now that falls to me. I get to be both the leader and the follower. It's great to lead; sometimes it's also nice to follow--just saying.
I love days spent in near silence, or perhaps with an audiobook or NPR. Having said that, I can also say that a week spent that way will definitely make you appreciate the folks with whom you used to spend your days. This is my opportunity to make new connections, but I miss my colleagues.
That's the news. Whatever I write next (could that possibly be as early as tomorrow?) will be about what comes next.