My decision to leave my cushy (albeit stressful) job has been such a trip! I keep thinking about how I have been here before and suffered – leaving Unilever with some low-paying job and pending student debt was a pretty tough experience. So it is no surprise that I have been going back and forth with this, wondering if I am making a mistake.
Am I making a bad move for my relationship which requires me to save pretty soon and could therefore do with the Delta rands? Am I making a bad decision for my cushy life – springing myself back into a mediocre or poor financial position for no reason whatsoever when I promised myself the last time that I would not do this to myself again? Am I strangling my career with these constant back and forth decisions that seem somewhat whimsical?
I then read a thread by the rapper Noname where she details how she finds the idea of secrecy around hoarding wealth and how much people have, pretty weird. She argued that it’s partly rooted in capitalism and that the idea of us all not knowing how much the other person has allows them to create an illusion of seemingly either earning less than we think and therefore, seeming on par with us, or more than we think and therefore pretty much creating a perception of wealth that doesn’t even exist. She then goes on to detail how much she earns, how much her company as an independent artist earns, how she basically donates most of her streaming money to mutual funds because she doesn’t want to be stuck in a capitalist rut where she is hoarding wealth – the money she earns is enough to feed her and her family, so she doesn’t feel the need to keep making more.
Noname’s clear idea of the life she wants, the deliberate nature of creating it is incredibly inspiring to me. It reminded me of my resolve when I left Unilever – how I wanted to dedicate my talents to doing work that matters. It also reminded me that it’s normal to fear not having enough – but that it does not mean it should lead to hypercapitalism to compensate for your fears. It reminded me about how every time I make a “big” decision, it has always led to some form of decluttering.
Decluttering: the process of removing things that may seem useful and necessary in your life which actually have just become excess. You think you need them until you have to make a choice and realise you actually don’t. So what decluttering am I thinking about this time?
Detaching myself from the idea of Sandton
- I think getting accustomed to quick and easy everything and being at the heart of capital, creates a perception of the “need” to live in such spaces. I want access to things – the theatre, good coffee spots, brunch, book stores and such but I don’t need them next door. The question then becomes, can I have access to my wants but not necessarily be at the heart of them?
Detaching myself from other people’s idea of “success”
- Being daily bombarded by people who want to be “wealthy” and to “make it” sometimes gets confusing. I have found myself questioning whether I don’t want the “good life” because of some random moral high ground that I have created and therefore are forcing myself to live up to it? The answer is no. I want a simple life full of love, enough money to make the pots and time filled with people that I actually like. The temptation for “another type of life” is merely rooted in being in it. I have become complacent and accustomed but it certainly is not a desire.
Clearing my mind from random anxiety and worry
- I want to sleep well. I want to dream and stay up working on random ideas that I actually believe in. I don’t want to be on antidepressants. I don’t want to be too anxious to open emails. I don’t want to not have enough time to barely do anything besides work and sleep. I want to go home and see my family. I want to spend time with my friends without feeling guilty. I don’t want my conversations with my boyfriend to be filled with complaints and worry. I want my skin to stop hating me and become clear again. I want to go to church and not think about the work I have to do later – I want to live. Decluttering for me means leaving behind any and everything that takes away from my living.
So now what?
I am not naïve enough to assume that some pretty words on a page mean that I magically get the life that I want. Or that because I am committed to “decluttering”, my life will not turn out differently and maybe more horribly than I had imagined. I could end up in an undesirable financial position again (please open your purse if I do – lol). I could end up asking myself whether I made a mistake, wondering why I did this AGAIN. I could end up sad and depressed, I know this. I suppose the thing that is most clear is that even after having been here before and somewhat regretting some of my decisions, I am still allowing myself to be here again. I am learning that I truly am committed to being the person I envision. I want to do the work I dream about. That if I died today, I would feel like I was on the way to becoming. That even when I wrongly envy everyone else’s wealth and “good life”, I can revisit moments like this – moments of clarity and resolve.
My dreams have always always consumed me, they refuse to allow me to quit on them. I suppose this moment reminds me that it’s okay to keep giving them a chance. And that no matter what happens, I will never be the person who says ” I could’ve been..” but the one who says “I truly truly tried to do the best I could with all that I was given – to live coram deo even in my career.”