I’ve held hundreds if not thousands of manila folders in my life. They’ve contained things that were very important at the time I was holding them, but today have very little significance. Today I’ll be holding a special manila folder. It will contain my request for a leave of absence.
Today is the day. Today is the day that I tell my boss that I want to take a 5 month leave of absence to go hike the CDT. It is finally here. I have been waiting and planning and fearing this moment for a while now. We know these moments are coming but they are always so far away you don’t think of them as real. You focus on the cool parts like the mountains, deserts and open sky you’ve read and dreamed about. You don’t think about the moments where you are making the biggest step in the process, quitting the one thing that separates you from being part of society and basically being homeless.
When I started thinking about hiking the trail it was just this big plan, this grand event that I wanted to do and thought I could put together. Today is that day. I am taking the biggest step of telling my boss that I am not going to be around, that my job will be a casualty of this dream that I am going to fulfill. I am quitting my job in a poor economy, saying good-bye to a regular (or any) paycheck for that matter, for at least the next 5-6 months. No more emails, voicemails, meetings, status reports, follow-ups and reply alls. No longer will I answer the phone, commute, have kitchen duty or eat from the candy jar. I am saying good-bye to it all.
I like my job so its not going to be the kind of quitting where I say F-you, F-you, F-you, you were cool; but in a professional manner. I don’t want to burn any bridges or make enemies out of these coworkers of the past 2 years. I just want to go live my dream and take a long walk. What’s so wrong with that? We hear it every day that we should pursue our dreams, to live the lives we’ve always wanted to, to be the person we want to be. Isn’t that what marketing is all about? Today I test this theory. Will it come together like the books, TVs and infomercials promised me? I don’t know but I’m going to find out.
In the end, if I really think about it, I’m just a guy sitting up in his bed late at night, in his house, in a town, on a planet that’s spinning at a million miles per second, orbiting around a giant yellow star, in a galaxy like billions of others in this huge black open place called the Universe. Maybe it doesn’t matter at all. Maybe it only matters to be happy with the time I spend on this spinning molten rock. Maybe its time for me to start doing what I want to do, and not care about the end consequences. In the end it doesn’t matter how it ends up, I guess, because it’s not going to stop me from hiking the CDT. They can accept my request for a leave or they could fire me on the spot. That’s fine because I know I am doing the most honest and best thing for me and no one can take that away.
So later today when I’m standing up out of my cubicle and walking into my boss’s office holding that manila folder, I know is not just the end of a job but the beginning of something great.