I'm going about this all wrong.
What I should have done was find a new job while I was still employed, then give my notice. I'd probably give myself a week or two of cushion in between in order to pack up, say goodbye to my friends, and move to wherever my new job was. Then I'd start my fabulous new life with my better-paying, more socially conscious, and lower hours-per-week job.
Unfortunately things have a way of not going the way they're supposed to. It's hard to look for a new job when you're working full-time at one job and part-time at several side jobs. (It's hard to do anything when you get home, actually. Not that you can't look for a new job while you're actually at work, but it's pretty easy to spot craigslist on someone's monitor from across the room.) And then there's this recession. All of a sudden people are much less interested in spending money on frivolous things. The entertainment industry is squeaking by all right, but for those of us who make the promos for the product lines inspired by the shows spun off from the sequels based on the original films, job security is a thing of the past.
So what happened? Before I had a chance to shock my bosses with my grand exit plan, they asked me to leave. Times are tight, work is slow, and hey, didn't you want to work in feature films, anyway? Uh, no... but thanks for asking. Suddenly I had endless free time stretching before me. What do people DO with their lives when they aren't at work?
As you might imagine, I haven't had any trouble filling my time. I now do my laundry before it reaches what Peter likes to call landslide proportions. I'm watching DVDs of shows that I never had time to watch before, and suddenly I get all those inside jokes I kept hearing at work. (That's what she said.) I'm falling back into my comfortable routine of staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning and sleeping in until 10 or 11. I'm exercising again and rediscovering that wonderful feeling you get when you come home all hot and sticky, wash it all off in the shower, and emerge clean, strong and emotionally buoyant. I'm cooking more. (I'm trying to enjoy it, but I guess that's a talent I just didn't get. Like long car trips, I'm much more interested in the final destination than the journey.)
And the big plan? I'm going to take a year off. Peter and I are going to move to Boise, Idaho and try enjoying life for a while. The overachiever side of me feels like this is a waste of time and money, that I should be striving and saving and pushing forward. But what am I pushing toward? What have I been saving money for, if not to spend on things I enjoy? I'm still young, I don't have children, and it occurs to me that I can actually choose for myself where and how I want to live. So during this year I'm going to look around, test out the pace of life in other cities, and make an informed decision about where I'm going to aim next.
It's the wrong path by all my previous standards. But for the wrong choice, it sure feels right.