Today when I was sitting in my cubicle testing an application I’d just finished upgrading, the sky turned suddenly dark, lightning flashed, thunder roared, rain came down in apocalyptic torrents and then mixed with hail. I left my desk and looked out the window and watched a river of water and ice rush down the street past the office, flood the railroad tracks and come off of the patio of a building next door like a water fall.
A little over two weeks ago I resigned from my job where I’ve been for the last 5 years. I worked it out so that my exit would be as graceful as possible and gave a healthy lead time. At the end of June I will leave for an anniversary vacation with my wife, a mulligan honeymoon, to make up in some small measure for the heatstroke fiasco from last year, and then on July 7th, I start the Next Thing.
It’s a peculiar (and possibly baffling) thing to work very hard to have steady and gainful employment for 15 years and then to decide to intentionally walk away from it. People have asked me what my plans are and I’ve given a mix of answers, in some ways hedged based on who I’m talking to. The truth is that I’m not leaving to A Next Thing. I’m leaving to do, as my wife would say with affectionate reference to Allie Brosh, ALL of the Next Things.
Anyone that knows me well (or just reads the nonsense I post here and on social media) knows that I have some diverse skills and interests and I have a bounty of good and entirely terrible ideas. What I’m going to do starting July 7th is dive right into those ideas, swim through them, splash them around and see where the current goes. I will be writing a lot more. That’s certainly my oldest and most enduring passion and what I’m most excited about. I’ll be writing more original fiction like you’ve seen posted here. I’ll be writing a lot more original fiction that’s not really much like anything you’ve seen posted here. I’m going to be trying new things, new genres, new formats, new ways of reaching readers and ideally new ways to turn all of these words into dollars. I have comic book scripts, short stories, serialized novels, journalistic endeavors, blog posts and dirty limericks eager to make it out to the page. I’m also going to be investing in some of my other skills and passions. I’ll be learning more web development, working on mobile application environments and educating myself on the kinds of gleefully technical things that database developing dorks whisper about. I’ll be looking at freelance and consulting options, trying out some things and partnerships with old friends and associates to see what comes out of it. I’m even going to be working on some card games you can play with your friends on Saturday nights. I have a tremendous amount of vigor and ambition and in coming months I’m going to be sharing it on grand scale with the world. Trust me. It’s going to be a million tons of rad sauce on top of hot damn awesome.
For my professional life I’ve consistently placed my passions and ideas on the back burner to support the passions and ideas that paid for the food in my refrigerator. This isn’t weird. I think that it’s probably typical to make those sorts of sacrifices to live in the real world. In fact, there’s an audacious privilege in having it any other way. I recognize that and I’m grateful that I have 10 years of smart financial and professional decisions, some modest savings and a wife that supports this insane plan. Now is the time for me to take the biggest, boldest chance of my life and I hope it’s inspiring or cautionary or just entertaining for you to read about in coming months.
An hour after the end of days weather display out the window at my soon-to-be former office building, the skies cleared up. Spring time in Portland. Sometimes you just need a big, fucking storm.,