Image credit: De’Jarnette K. Johnson
So I recently did an article on Malia Obama and her idea of exploring this new concept (well, it was new to me) of a “gap year”.
In researching for this assignment, I found that this concept is typically reserved for high school graduates to take a “leave of absence” from life in pursuit of self-exploration and discovery. This is not necessarily my reasoning for this self-proclaimed gap “season” in my life. I’m not trying to sound all cliché about it because I don’t feel like I’m trying to “find myself”. I’m well aware of who I am and what I want. I am a writer. I want it all. And I want to write. That’s not changed, aside from the fact that writing used to be my back up plan versus now, it’s the one thing that I wake up to do, every day. It’s my cigarette break in the afternoon and my night cap at the end of the evening.
I’m truly the happiest I’ve ever been. During just this week of being off and not working, I feel like I’ve been free to do whatever it is that I want to do. Sitting outside in the sunshine. Sipping bellinis in the middle of the day. It makes me smile right not, even as I’m writing. I’ve always loved this time of year, that time of spring perfection and just before the brutal heat of summer. Maybe I’m becoming a hippie or something. I keep thinking about what I want to do with this time and all the things that I want to discover and all the place that I want to go and all of things that I want to learn about myself and this vast world that I’m a part of. Thinking of cutting off all of my hair again. I loved my Nia Long. Maybe I really am becoming a hippie or maybe I’m discovering that I’ve been this person all along. I’ve always been a wanderer. Even thinking back to my days as a flight attendant and that desire to travel and experience the world and all that it has to offer. I’ve even thought about going back to the airlines recently, probably against my better judgment.
The only thing that I can think of right now that would bring me absolute bliss would be to wake up on a tropical island with the sun beaming against my skin, with no agenda other than to write and speak Spanish. That was actually my plan for this summer. I was accepted into the Universidad de Belgrano y Universidad Veritas to study the language for 12 weeks, beginning May 14, with 6 weeks in Heredia, Costa Rica and 6 weeks in Buenos Aires, South America. Unfortunately, I hadn’t expected the costs of this voyage to be a whopping $9800 for 3 months and I was only awarded $3000 in aid. This doesn’t even factor in pocket money for leisure or the real responsibilities at home that I would still be responsible for. So suffice it to say, that I won’t be in South America this summer.
My mother walks into the white room which has been temporarily transformed into my make-shift office. It’s not even 9 a.m. She says to me “Girl, you are the hardest working person I know without a job.” We both laugh. She continues, “You job hunting”? I nod my head in opposition. The truth is, I haven’t looked for a job, applied for a job or even thought about a job. In fact, I declined a job offer last week. “Well, whatever you’re working on baby, I’m sure is gonna turn out great. You work so hard, DeJ”, as only my mother can say. I smile at her and she walks out of the room. My entire perspective may change in a matter of months, as I do have bills that are in current rotation. But as for now, I literally can’t think of a job that I want to go to everyday. And for now, I’m 100% content, waking up every day and taking my nephews to school to have a “Muffins with Mom” breakfast in honor of the upcoming holiday this weekend and coming back home to open up my doors and windows to listen to the birds sing and the lawn mowers humming in the neighborhood while I sit in my white leather oversized chair, feet perched on my white leather ottoman, laptop on my lap. Aside from Christmas, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
If the life expectancy of an average American is 70ish, then I’m right on schedule for a mid-life crisis. And since there is evidence that suggests that this is a real thing, then I actually feel a little bit better about myself and can rest assuredly that I’m not just batshit crazy.
I’m unapologetic in my desire for wanting it all. And to be dishonest with myself about what I want would be unfair. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I’ll actually have it all. But I’m damn sure going to make sure that I leave no stone unturned in my effort to achieve my dreams.
I don’t want to go back to corporate America right now though, I know that much. Like I said before, if this writing thing doesn’t pan out like it does in my head, then I’d settle for a job with really good perks and low stress, if such job exists. But for now, I’ll settle for my pursuit of happiness in all of the simple beauties of the season.