I feel like a sellout. With growing up not only comes responsibility but also the realization that your romantic belief that you will never make a decision based on money is a little bit naive and a whole lot of hogwash. I don’t like it but I know that to feel comfortable and stable you need money, to have money you need to work, and sometimes doing what you love doesn’t provide the amount of money you require.
I recently handed in my notice to the bookstore I have been working at for the last seven months, trading it in for a much better paying job at a bakery. I’m not dreading the position at the bakery and it isn’t about my hating the job I have decided to move to. No, it’s about leaving a job that I love for one that I don’t love as much. Baking is something I enjoy and I will be a sort of manager which looks great on a resume but is that all I have – a better paycheque and a good looking resume? Is that what I’m trading this love affair for?
Sometimes the greatest and most soul-changing love affairs must come to an end. Neither party did anything wrong but the heartbreak is mutual. Sometimes it is just the best choice for one of you and the other simply has to agree because, whether you like it or not, you love the other and are understanding in their pursuit for a higher purpose. And while you both wrestle yourselves out of the other’s arms, blinking back tears and promising to stay friends forever, you know that something fantastic just ended that you will never get back. You know that this is what heartbreak feels like because you have felt it before, you will feel it again, but it doesn’t make it any less painful.
It sounds dramatic, I know, but I have never felt happier than I did at this job. There were days when I didn’t feel like going but not because I dreaded it but because I just wasn’t in the mood to work. But then I would arrive and see the faces of the best people I’ve ever had the opportunity to know and the shelves full of all the books I could never get around to reading even if all I ever did was read and I would feel at home, safe and happy. I may not have felt like unpacking boxes but I would because I was curious to see what books were arriving that day. I may not have felt like talking to anyone but I would because someone just asked me for a recommendation and I take that opportunity to overwhelm them with far too many options. I have always felt cozy in this bookstore. Even on my worst days this store never failed to make me smile.
So how do you explain it to yourself and others why you’re leaving without seeming ungrateful? You are leaving for the money, this is true. That is the root of it. You are leaving because you just don’t get paid enough here and you so completely wish that they would just give you a couple more dollars an hour so that you never had to go. The romantic, wistful side of you keeps toying with the idea of taking your resignation back, chalking it up to some really awful, slightly early April Fools Day joke but you know that’s just not what you’re going to do. There is another side of you, some responsible side in there, that keeps telling you that you have to move on because you need to get paid. You have to move on because you need to be stable and you’ve been given an opportunity to make life work a little easier.
I don’t want to say goodbye to this job or this store. I don’t want to say goodbye to book discounts and freshly pressed hardcovers and alphabetizing and consistently being given opportunities to read whatever the hell you want. I don’t want to say goodbye to people who get me, who love me like I love them, who are just that little bit of weird that makes them perfect for me.
I don’t want to but I have to.
Love affairs either end or they last forever and I think I always knew this one would never be the latter, as much as I wished it to be otherwise. It doesn’t make it any less painful and it doesn’t make me any happier about it. And with every new announcement of a closing book store I can’t help but think I’m abandoning my better half when it needs me most.
Moving on is never easy.