Who is this "karma" fellow, and why did he show up now?

I was bumming about my apartment this morning, kicking boxes instead of packing them, when the phone rang. It was Francis, the guy that is stealing my fantastic apartment from me. He was downstairs and was wondering if I wanted to sell him any furniture. Great, I thought, I might get some money, and not have to move heavy junk. So I let him in.

He wasn’t too impressed with my furnishings. I can’t blame him. It’s all (and I mean ALL) stuff that I either got for free from family garages or bought off of usedvictoria.com. No price is too cheap! But Francis decided he would take my rug (which I bought for $20) and my bookshelf (which my dad gave me for free). He asked what I thought they were worth, and I said maybe $30. I meant for the two together. But he repeated “30 dollars each? Okay.” And proceeded to write me a cheque for 60 bucks.

Now, I can justify not saying anything to correct him until the cows come home. And they never come home. They don’t call, they don’t write, they rarely twitter…

I mean, maybe Francis is just the worst bargainer, ever. You’re supposed to argue the price down, buddy. Not up. But hey, he thinks it’s a fair price. In fact, he’s writing the cheque so fast he probably thinks it’s a steal. And it’s not like I can’t use the money. That whole unemployed thing doesn’t really pay well. Sure, he mentioned his going into a masters program and is getting married, both of which don’t pay well either. But he set a price, I accepted it…Okay, feel free to comment on if I failed some kind of ethical test.

Karma certainly seemed to think so.

After he left I hopped in my car and drove to Pacific Union to abuse their wireless internet. See, when I stopped working for the corporation, the corporation stopped paying for my home internet. Jerks. Two hours later I remembered I’d parked at an hour meter. Sure enough, my municipal government left me a bill for 40 bucks. Listen, Karma, I don’t believe in you, so just leave me alone. Okay?

If Francis’s cheque bounces, I’m not cleaning the toilet before I move out. I’m just saying.

Is this brilliant self discovery? Or just a typical life crisis?

I’m looking around my apartment – at all the boxes scattered on the floor, at the piles of weird crap that have made their way out of closets and are demanding to be sorted, at the bags of things that were once “possessions” and are now “garbage” – and I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing.

In 17 days I’ll be boarding a plane to Ecuador. My oldest sister and her boyfriend have been traveling through South America for months, and I’m joining them on last leg of their journey. For four weeks I’ll hang out in jungles, goggle at the Andes, and visit with some big turtles and a few nasty bugs. It’s an exciting trip, but nothing too life-altering. My employer even offered to give me a leave for twice as long. Who wouldn’t want the ability to travel for a few months, and have some job security when they’re done?

Me, apparently. I turned down the leave, turned in my notice on my job and apartment, and in 17 days I’ll be unemployed and homeless and heading to a new continent. And perhaps it’s a little late in the game, but I’m starting to ask myself why.

First off, I love my apartment. I mean, I really, really love it. It’s in this older building and has a full kitchen – not one of those little galleys, but a big room with a door and everything. I have a fire escape with pots of herbs, hardwood floors, lots of light, and a Murphy ironing board. My living room looks great with shelves and shelves of books and old records. I have a sewing corner that I actually use, and framed artwork given to me by talented, arty friends. When my place is clean I just walk around it smiling.

And then I had this job. I’ve never aspired to any type of career,but I somehow found myself moving up in a corporate world, and getting paid pretty well for it. Making money to pay for my cool apartment. It was all too perfect.

Not perfect. Once the shiny protective coating started to wear off, I realized a few things about the life I was living. I didn’t choose it, it just sort of happened while I wasn’t paying attention. And it was a lifestyle that alternated between being incredibly stressful and mind-numbingly boring. Two states of being that I try to avoid at all costs had become my status quo. The kicker was that I wasn’t even using the benefits of the job (ie, the money) to do things in my non-working life that I loved. I was just coming home to my amazing apartment, eating too much and watching downloaded tv shows.

It was about a year ago that I figured all that out, but I didn’t leave. The velvet handcuffs had me, as my dad says. I spent a year getting more and more pissed off with myself for doing nothing to change anything about my life. Until finally, a few months ago, I up and quit. Maybe I’ll talk about why later. Let’s just say that it wasn’t planned. Gave up my apartment, and emailed my sister to say I’d be down in July. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

So why am I re-evaluating that decision now? Probably because I hate packing and this is just another way to procrastinate. Maybe also because people are making it way too easy for me to change my mind. Hey, my boss said, let us know when you’re ready to come back. I know he means well. But while having no definable future is a little terrifying, the thought of finally having got the nerve to leave, only to come back to the exact same thing a few months later, makes me feel nauseous. Maybe that means I’ve made the right decision.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. It is intended to help keep me honest and on track. Just look at my last decade. You’ll find plenty of scenarios where I’ve been in a similar mindset, only to backslide into the rat race. I want out. Hopefully this time it’s for good. And hopefully keeping a regular and public record will keep me focused.

Wish me luck! Okay, first hurdle – packing up my books. My beautiful, comforting books. Sigh.