I get my life back today. I have all the time in the world and nothing to do but write—at least until I start teaching creative writing one day a week next month. It’s thrilling and frightening and inspiring a sensation much like vertigo. When I think about the rest of the day or week my knees get a little quivery and my brain starts to gyrate a bit in my skull. When will I have time to get my friend a housewarming gift? When will I have time to sign up for low-income health insurance? When will I have time to pack up the rest of my stuff at the Old School and move it to the house? When will I have time to finish applying black paint to the robin’s egg blue falling-apart “antique” dresser from the Confederate side of the family? Oh, that’s right—whenever I feel like it. Terrifying.
No more are the structured days of 9–5. No more waiting for the 8:34am bus on the stoop of the adoption agency. No more furtive prayers to the Bus Gods for a clean-smelling someone to sit next to me. No more getting anxious every morning as the bus passes the county hospital, the county jail, the methadone clinic, the city police headquarters. No more black cubicle walls, black chairs, black computer monitors, black keyboards, black mice, black wire baskets, black filing cabinets, black bookshelves. No more bosses and their black moods. No more food poisoning at obligatory free Friday lunches. No more waterfront smell of fish and salt and tar and cruise ship exhaust and fried food and seagull poop and sour, scalded Starbucks milk. No more elevators filled with computer programmers and their stale cigarette smoke scent and Aspergery commentary (Did you hard-manage the hosting broadband before you upstreamed the code to maximize your team’s QXL? Peels of laughter.)
One of my favorite co-workers—a man who showed up for his first day at the magazine factory in a well-worn sweater with a radish appliquéd on the front—asked me yesterday how I was feeling about leaping into the great, poorly paying literary unknown. Did I have any regrets? Let's see... I feel... excited... anxious... a little terrified... and... what's that? A wave of relief! A hurricane of joy! A tsunami of eagerness! The perfect storm of getting on with my life!
No, of all the guests visiting my psyche today, Regret was conspicuously absent.