Most of the time, leading a double-life feels like you are on the outside looking in – you’re never quite sure how to much share and with who.
Since I’ve made the decision to prioritize the most important things and (try) not to worry about the rest, I’ve become more and more aware of the opposing forces trying to pull me in different directions. The more you notice it, the easier it is to resist, but it gets much harder (for me anyway) to keep coming up with (false) reasons why you don’t want to do the things everyone expects you to be doing right now. The most frustrating part is that you can’t tell anyone the real reason why. In a nutshell, that’s what it’s like to lead a double life!
I desperately want to share with my friends and family how much I’ve learned over recent months about digital nomads and travel in general, about our specific plans for the future and about the projects I’m working on to try to make the dream become a reality. Instead, I have to push all of that down and think of something else to say when asked what I’ve been up to. I’m running out of things to say!
It’s most difficult with family – you know they ask questions about when we’re going to start a family or buy a house or when am I going to leave the job I hate! I want to tell them exactly why I can’t do those things just yet but, in the long term, yes I want those things – just as most people do. Instead, I tell them we’re just not ready or can’t afford to or I just haven’t seen another job I want to do… the list goes on.
We decided not to tell our family what we are planning until we are ready to leave. Partly because we don’t know when we’ll be going yet and partly because there are some who might not understand the changes we are trying to make to our lives and our priorities. The goal is to tell them once we have made firm plans, hopefully, this will make the news easier to digest and they will see we’ve thought it through and aren’t just going through some kind of breakdown.
Work is also difficult. Occasionally colleagues will also ask me about my baby plans – not something that’s really very appropriate at work – but mainly I struggle when asked about where I want to end up in the firm. I’m not sure if it’s just law, or maybe just the people I work with, but there they seem to equate ambition with climbing the (very narrow) corporate ladder and earning more money. I don’t see how going through the motions, following exactly what everyone else did before you to get promoted (including a LOT of brown-nosing), is in any way ambitious?!
For the last couple of years, I’ve been expected to ask for a promotion. I’ve got to a certain level of experience and now I should be asking for a different job title – because that’s what everyone else does. It would make no difference to my pay or responsibility or my daily tasks. The only difference would be one extra word before ‘Solicitor’ under my name on the website. I am torn between keeping up appearances (to avoid detection – I would quite like to keep my job until we are ready after all!) and focusing only on what is important to me. I haven’t yet made a decision and probably won’t until I have to. The deadline is in February but you’d be surprised at how often things you try to avoid pop up in conversation!
Despite how tough it is, if you are thinking about leading a double-life like mine to get out of a job that’s going nowhere or that just isn’t right for you, I’d definitely recommend it! There is nothing better than being true to yourself and working to achieve goals that are important to you. It is liberating, inspiring, fulfilling and well worth having to lead a double-life for a little while. So don’t let anyone tell you what should be important to you – make whatever is really important to you a priority each day and you’ll see what I mean.