It’s an age old adage, one that is constantly spewed out in rehab programs about taking it easy and facing the demons one day at a time. And while it’s a great proverb for fighting the urge to stab yourself with needles, or chase those bunny lines across a toilet seat, or drown your liver in embalming fluids, it becomes a problem when “one day at a time” is a prescription for surviving daily life, as opposed to enjoying it.
“Work work work work work,” as Rihanna so eloquently put it, gobbles up an obscene amount of our lives. Unfortunately, we have crafted and acquiesced to a world where we spend most of our days away from the ones we love, to work in boxes with people we don’t love as much. The majority of our hours and golden years are taxed by this irrational need to generate printed paper, so that we may indulge in a miniscule amount of leisure and relaxation, while supporting our lifecycles. Most of us acknowledge the senselessness and sheer idiocy of this formula, yet we are in too deep to step outside of the matrix and do anything about it.
Some people are lucky, they literally spring out of bed and can’t wait to punch in and do what they love. However for most of the humanoid population, the endeavor is not as titillating. We either love our work and hate the pythons we work with, or love our comrades and hate the asinine tasks we are paid for.
It’s a dangerous thing when you get to the point where you tell yourself “one day at a time” as in let me get through this sewage pile, instead of “one day at a time” as in ‘I’m having so much fun please I don’t want this ride to end!’
Many of us have side dreams and projects; things we would love to do for ourselves that don’t entail wearing a tie or putting up with bad breath in meetings about how to generate money from pigeons. Yet it’s a really scary thing to take that step and leave the cushy security of a pay check to venture out into the corporate jungle on your own.
So when do you take the leap? When do you answer the suit yelling at you with a staplette right to their forehead? The sad reality is that many of us who try to step off the wheel never actually do, from fear of failure. However, if you are sure about your idea, if you are passionate about your dream, then not taking the risk will haunt you for the rest of your days. That being said, there are a few rational rules to follow before jumping into the abyss:
1) Plan your exit strategy: And I don’t mean a choreographed Black Swan dance to HR, I mean plan a date where you will leave in a calm and sophisticated manner that doesn’t involve peeing on your boss’s keyboard.
2) Start saving: You need to be prepared to live on a budget for a while. That means forgoing the facials, massages, and lush restaurants in place of rubbing your back against the wall and eating sardines.
3) Don’t burn bridges behind you: even if you loathe the people you worked for, telling your seniors that you hope they get raped by rabid bears is not the wisest way to end that relationship. You never know when these ties might be back to haunt you in life.
4) Research: to me, this is the most important aspect of all. Invest in a financial plan, get the knowledge from experts, and talk to your peers. Guarding an idea like Fort Knox will stifle you because you need feedback to evolve it into something really great.
5) And finally, have a plan B : I’m all for going the distance, but be prepared for the fact that the world is not ready for your goat-sex-toy-cushion idea and have a plan in place in case your dreams fizzle into naught. Remember that life is a hot mess of experiences, but it is ours to enjoy, and if you find yourself fantasizing about murder or suicide on a daily basis, then the time for change has come.