Spring in New York City is a unique descriptor which means everything to the native city dweller. Walking through the streets of the greatest city in the world in 74-degree weather, the sun warming my newly exposed shoulders, I am dancing with every cloud. New York City is a high-fashion supermodel in every season, but with the blossoming pots of baby blue hydrangeas decorating even the most conservative buildings’ landscapes, the city softens. The abundance of colorful flowers, with silky and velvety petals, provide a much-needed balance to the hard edges of a harder city.
This is home. I’ve lived here, worked here, loved here, birthed here and moved just outside. But I visit several times a week. (It’s not dramatic; I live over the bridge 10 minutes away.)
Today I had to drop off a piece of button art with a client at 30 Rock. (Not exciting, he worked for Deloitte.) On my way there, through a midtown stroll, with earbuds blasting Hamilton: An American Musical (what else?) I felt electrified. As if solar charged, I was struck by a bolt of happy, the music propelling me forward. I was flying through a life high which felt like I was on an eye-opening acid trip. Around me were hoards of sour-faced corporate workers out for their hour allotment of fresh air time. They walked in groups, leaving the box within a box within a box they call work.
I too was once a slave to a beautiful box in the sky with a lovely view onto 42nd Street. I walked among the masses. I had a great job at an advertising agency and I was damn good at it (Employee of the Year plaque included). But inside, I was throbbing with an infection, pulsing for attention, ticking louder by the minute, reminding me the passion brewing needs an out.
Dreams are sexy; pursuing them, not so much. Clocking in habitually and living 2/7th of my life felt draining. I was working for a living but not living for my work. Having a regular paycheck was fucking awesome now that I know being an artist means hustling ALL THE TIME. I began this project, every day, another story, giving it my last big shot, knowing if this doesn’t work out, I can always go back to a corporate job.
It was always at the back of my mind. Whenever my husband and I discussed scary, financial “what if” scenarios, my answer was always the threatening, “I can always get a corporate job.”
Today, though, from within my euphoric spring NYC bubble, I had a breakthrough moment: I am not going back to a corporate job. No way, no how. I beat to my own rhythm, I write my own colloquialisms and I love too damn intensely to waste it on “The Man.” As black wool suits passed me on the streets, I felt itchy. The dark blue checkered shirts and maroon ties choked me. The knit cardigans were suffocating me. I had my epiphany.
Earlier in the week someone asked me what I did as my “day job” and I rattled off my usual defensive list: I’m a writer, a button artist, I run our children’s entertainment company, I have two kids who go to schools in two different states, and I cook most of our fucking organic vegetarian meals. After my “day job,” duties are over, I enjoy “hobbies” such as dishes, toilet cleaning, 9 loads of laundry a week, and doing our family and business taxes. I also enjoy watercolor popsicles and playing the Hamilton Lottery.
I’ll take Life, with a side of “day job,” hold the corporate.