F-unemployment isn’t that bad.
Coming home after traveling for nearly three months has not been nearly as difficult as expected. I love Northern California. As my plane came into final approach at SFO, I felt excited and anxious to be back on the ground in my adopted home. Even before I left Buenos Aires, I began thinking about how I would return to the Bay and take advantage of my newly discovered free time, f-unemployment.
I put the “f” in front of the dreaded word not to curse it, but to kill its edge. Sure it’s dreadful to chip away at my savings and think about how terrible the economy is and how long I might be searching. I might get a new job in a week. I might get a new job in a year. If I really want to freak myself out, I just think about that. Realistically I need to be ready for both possibilities. But on the other side of the coin, I now have time to do what I love: photography, skiing, climbing, gardening, reading and relaxing. Best of all, I have time to reflect on the trip I just completed rather than forget it in the day to day grind of a speedy return to the office. Years ago I remember someone telling me around a Yosemite campfire that in life you either have time or money, but rarely both. True. I might not have steady income now, but I do have time to do the things I love.
So after flying in on Wednesday, grabbing a Mission quesadilla and unpacking boxes of clothes and items into my Berkeley apartment, I decided that I would spend the following week in the Eastern Sierra backcountry skiing. The weather looked good and I had always dreamed of going back there with no real schedule or commitments. Even better yet, my girlfriend reminded me that she would be on a business trip to LA for the majority of the week. So on Sunday afternoon, I kissed her goodbye, loaded my car and began the six hour trek to my friend’s home in Mammoth.
The week has been just as I had hoped. I have reconnected with friends, skied mountains that had been in my gaze for years, focused on shooting skiers and even had time to reflect upon my trip to Patagonia. No, I don’t have a job yet, but that’s fine with me. Having time for myself to readjust and focus my energies on what I love most is far more valuable than a paycheck. And who knows, it might just eventually lead to getting paid for it.