It's an anniversary of sorts around here. Do you remember what happened here a year ago today? There was an ode to ketchup and the fine art of dipping. And there was a job lost.
One year ago Mike walked in the door at 9 a.m. We'd been worried that this might happen. Things hadn't been going well for him at Sunbelt. There was a meeting that morning, and he was pretty sure he wasn't up for Employee of the Month. As soon as I heard the key turn in the lock that morning I knew it was over. I cried and Mike was calm. We balance each other out that way. When he's going bat-shit over something I'm able to breath and focus and talk him back down. He doesn't possess quite the mad zen skillz I have, but it takes a lot for me to lose it. He only has to step it up a couple of times a year. He did well that day.
We spent most of December pretending he was on some kind of extended leave. January rolled around, the kids went back to school, and I pretended not to notice that he was spending most of his time on Poker Stars and very little time on his resume. I knew he was hoping to turn his poker hobby into a full-time job. It just scared me to death, and to say it aloud meant we'd have to discuss it as adults.
It's a funny thing, living out your dream. I think everyone wants that for the people they love – the ability to do what they're passionate about, to love their work, to have that passion translate into a livable income. It sounds good, but add the realities of life – kids to feed, a mortgage to pay, the necessity of health insurance – and it makes you want to say, "Yes, but . . . "
"Yes, I know you're good at this, and you love it, and you think it will be okay, but is this really the time? "
"Yes, but what about the gap in your resume should it not work out?"
"Yes, but what about health insurance?"
"Yes, but what will we tell people?"
"Yes, but how will we not kill each other?"
Yes, these are all valid questions, but I love this guy. I'd seen him spend the last 5 years miserable in his "career." Yes, I was scared as hell, but how do you tell your kids that anything is possible if you aren't willing to fully explore your possibilities?
To answer the questions, it was the right time. If not then, when? The fear would always be there, the timing would never seem quite perfect.
You bite the bullet and buy your own health insurance. And one broken arm later, you learn that maybe a super-high deductible with small children wasn't the best idea you ever had.
You tell people the truth. Even if it means your daughter's teacher pulls you aside because he thinks your kid's making up stories about daddy playing poker all day. Even if it means people give you that look, the one where you know they don't approve.
You try your hardest not to kill each other. Honestly, this one is my cross to bear. One year later and I'm still trying to get used to the fact that we're together all. the. time. Mike loves it. I develop a nervous tic. Sometimes I leave. Sometimes I strongly encourage him to leave. Sometimes I just pretend I have gastrointestinal issues and spend some special time in the bathroom with Martha Stewart.
And as for that gap in the resume? There isn't an answer for that one yet. Perhaps he'll write December, 2008 – Present: Living My Dream.