My new year’s resolution was “simplify.” Just that. Make things more simple. Work things. Home things. Mental things. Physical things.
It feels like the universe took this resolution as a challenge. Since I wrote the word “simplify” in my journal, the choices have become harder, my relationships have been put on the shelf, and the scales have tipped entirely toward being overwhelmed and approaching burnout. So much for finding some balance.
I envy the people like Sara Gorman, author of Despite Lupus, who have been able to quit full-time work and bring their life and disease into balance. The choice is not at all clear from where I am sitting. Income from my job supports our family singlehandedly. I have excellent health insurance – a necessity in my case – a pension and a retirement savings plan. These are huge things to consider giving up.
I did some research around Christmas, just to see what health insurance would cost without my employer, were I to do something crazy like try to live off my Etsy store, and the automated estimate said with my condition average out of pocket yearly costs exceeded $150k. A gut check says that’s probably not accurate, but even if it were 10% of that number, it would be completely undoable. The fact is that my job pays for the medication that allows me to be a productive member of society. It’s a catch-22.
Since I was quite young, my version of paradise has been a small cottage on the coast. I remember writing a short story about it in 9th grade when I lived in Montana, far from the coast, largely inspired by LM Montgomery and a recent vacation to Oregon. I can still see the imagined rooms I was writing about. Since I moved back to the Pacific Northwest – I was born here but moved away when I was three – that dream has gained power. My husband and I have spent many days staying at the ocean, and still the idea of living, writing, and creating there sounds ideal.