I am sitting in a small, 10’ x 10’ pool house as I write this. There is a pool, some chairs, lots of greenery and a lemon tree on the other side of the pool. The temperature is warm, but comfortable with a gentle breeze and no humidity. The weather and the view are amazing, but the real attachment I have to this space is the small room I am staying in.
The last time I stayed in this space was in December of 2013. I was miserable in my job, I was miserable in the relationship I was in, and this pool house behind my niece’s house in the Bay area of California was where I came to try and figure out what my next step should be.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the guts to just walk away from my job, or if I would do the responsible thing and find another job to go to. What I had begun to realize though, was that working for other people in a large box, divided into smaller boxes, and working with people, at least a few of whom were guaranteed to have an agenda, had never worked very well for me.
I always started my jobs happy to be there, and excited about the new challenges. Then, as time went on, and usually as I moved up the ladder, things would slowly become less palatable. There would be disagreements with bosses who asked unethical or, at best shady, things of their employees and this girl just doesn’t do that. There were other employees who were so willing to climb to the top they didn’t care whose back they crawled over to get there, and I am not the type so stand there and let that happen without opening a little can of whoop-ass on their sorry selves. The reasonable workload with the ability to go home on time would evaporate, and on at least one occasion, devolve into a competition to see who was capable of working the longest hours.
No matter how many other job opportunities I looked into, and no matter how reasonable they might seem, the memories of those bad experiences were always lurking there, repeatedly jumping in to remind me of what I had experienced before. But just quitting my job without having the vaguest idea of how I would support myself, could I actually do that?
At the time, I was living in a large, rather luxurious condo and I knew I would have to do some major cutting back if I just quit my job the way I wanted to. My beautiful condo had been bought for a song, and in order to afford the new life I was contemplating, I knew it was a very likely proposition that I would end up having to sell it in order to help support myself. If that happened, not only did I need the profit from selling it, I would need to condense my “stuff” and move into much smaller quarters.
Spending a week in this small pool house seemed to me like a reasonable test of how small a space I could survive in. Please note: right off this small pool house is my niece’s beautiful home with all the amenities. I wasn’t exactly roughing it in the wilderness. Plus, my niece and her husband had generously offered me the opportunity to move to California and spend whatever time it took in their pool house until I could figure out how to support myself there, so I knew if I needed it, I had a soft place to land.
Less than a month after going back home after that much needed time of contemplation, I gave notice at my job. I had enough in liquid assets that I knew with the help of a part-time job, I could survive for about six months on the money I had and that should give me time to finally try and decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. A year later I sold my beautiful condo for more than double what I paid for it, and the profits of that sale, along with some other good investments, have allowed me the luxury to spend the majority of my time pursuing the things I love most in life.
So, when I arrived back in California for another visit, it was an absolute no-brainer when my niece asked me where I wanted to stay. I am back in the pool house, amazed by everything that has changed since I was here a little over three years ago. Not only am I loving the view and the temperate climate in the little pool house in my niece’s back yard, but I am feeling grace and gratitude at levels that are hard to put into words. Thank you Mary and David for allowing me the safe space to figure a few things out.