This week I announced my intent to retire. That was met with blank stares, “huh?”, “what?” and “you’re kidding?” So I changed my approach. “I’m leaving the company.” That people understood, but then wanted to know about the new job. Responding that I was taking a year off to stay home with my daughter got us right back to “huh?”, “what?” and “you’re kidding?” The confusion made me laugh, which was good because in most cases I was crying too. This was a big decision, is a big risk, is nerve-wracking. Overwhelmingly, the response in the end was, “good for you!”, “what a great thing for your daughter”, and “you can’t get back these years when they are little” (more crying). I told my daughter this weekend that in a few weeks I wouldn’t be going to work and she wouldn’t be going to school (where she’s gone every day for four years). Her response was simply “Good.”
I once jumped out of a perfectly good plane. On a whim, way back when, before child, we tried sky diving. My partner turned green. I loved it. The free fall was exhilarating, the time floating under the canopy was peaceful with a great view, and the landing was far more graceful than I expected. Granted it was a tandem jump and I was strapped awkwardly to an instructor so there was little chance of something going wrong, but he was behind me and easy to forget about in the moment. By far the strangest part of the experience was sitting (in the instructors lap) in the door of the plane with my feet dangling out into space thinking, “There’s nothing wrong with this plane and yet I’m going to pitch myself out of it.” And so I did, and I had an adventure.
This week I stepped out of a perfectly good career. I’m going on hiatus, a mini-retirement, a sabbatical, whatever you want to call it, to stay home with my 4-year old daughter until she starts Kindergarten next fall. We are going to have an adventure.
I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.