I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about the word “busy.” We are all “busy.” There’s no end in sight to the crazy to-do lists and demands on our time and schedules. I know this feeling; I know it in the core of my being. There’s a tightening of the gut, where the solar plexus just forms a fist over your digestive organs. It’s ready to fight. It’s reacting to that lack of oxygen, that constant irritation, that excitement that turns into over-stimulation.
I know this feeling well. We’re old friends.
Years ago, this gut-wrenching feeling and I had a serious talk. I was living in Charlotte, working long hours in Human Resources, and just knotted up. Every Monday morning felt like indentured servitude, every Friday felt like shore leave. Get up, work, get frustrated, get in the car, get food, get drinks, go home, eat in front of the tv, go to bed. Rinse. Repeat.
I did that for fifteen years. The cities and some of the companies were different, but I did that routine across the country for fifteen years.
My body knew what to do. It always knows what to do. It wanted me to feel better. More wine, more comforting food. If I couldn’t sleep, the TV was there to keep me company. Online shopping always seemed to help. Add a relationship here or there. Days turned into nights turned into days until none of it made me feel better anymore. I wanted out. I just wanted something else, a different existence. I was dancing the same dance every single day. I knew all the steps. I could anticipate every move.
One day, I realized that I didn’t have to live that way anymore. I was tired of dancing, but I did have one dance move I’d never tried: the Walk Away.
The Walk Away isn’t advanced as it sounds. It requires no formal training. It’s very simple, but looks complex. One day, you look your partner, Fear, in the eye. You take a deep breath. You thank them for all those years of dancing, then you turn on your heel and walk away.
Yep, just like that.
The Walk Away doesn’t require a ton of premeditation. You can’t overthink it or you could trip. Sometimes, the turn has to be done slowly and the steps are smaller, but the end result is the same: you step off the dance floor and into the unknown.
In 2007, I did just that. I left my job, I sold everything I owned, and moved to New York City with one suitcase and $300. I wanted to be a writer. My Walk Away was dramatic. Yours may not be the same. But just knowing it’s there can be the difference between a light day and a dark life.
Because one day, if you know that you can’t take it not one more day….
You can just…
All photos: Giafrese