I feel like I know an awful lot about celebrity news lately. Maybe that’s because I am filing three—yes, THREE—articles per day on celebrity news right now. Which is really sort of a fun and, believe it or not, valuable writing exercise. I can be as silly as I want, but I also need to do legitimate research, include relevant links and photos, and stay on top of what’s current. It’s a fast-paced gig that’s teaching me a lot about making my time as efficient as possible.

It’s challenging and fun. I’m enjoying myself quite a bit over there.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity, because it’s this particular column for The Stir that allowed me to fully move into freelance. For me to leave Workplace, I had to create a predictable salary situation for myself. It wasn’t enough to hope I could get by on feast-or-famine corporate writing gigs, I needed the stability of a certain amount of monthly work.

I tell you that because I’ve had so many wonderful, supportive comments on this life change, and I keep hearing what a brave choice it was. It wasn’t brave, you guys.

I’ve been wanting to leave Workplace for years. Years. That’s how long I’ve been complaining about needing a change, but I couldn’t find my way out of it. It took this long to find a job that was a good fit for me, where the people are awesome to work with, where I can get it done without having to pay for daycare.

That’s the thing that made it so hard, up until now. If I wanted to find another job outside the home, it had to pay exactly what Workplace paid, or more. I couldn’t earn a penny less without our daycare costs overwhelming us. I couldn’t NOT work, even if I wanted to, because we can’t afford to live on one salary.

It’s a bullshit deal for a lot of people in this country. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about it, really, except that the system is truly fucked. Most of us need two salaries to get by. If you need two salaries and you have young children, you need to pay for daycare, because most companies still won’t let us work from home. And daycare costs are astronomical.

It’s a trap. It’s a goddamned trap that keeps people in shitty soul-draining jobs. Just like healthcare. Just like mortgages, when you live somewhere like Seattle.

If I have one overarching goal for my family for the future, it’s that we don’t get bogged down by the machine of our economy, because you know what, the machine is broken. Life isn’t like it used to be, and I don’t think we’re ever going back. Houses won’t be the investments they once were. Jobs won’t provide the same security. 401(k)s won’t save us. It’s a lie to believe that the more you have, the happier you’ll be. All you’ll be is held in place, unable to make a move.

I want my children to have the freedom to do whatever they want for a living. I want them to dig ditches if that makes them happy. I want them to be able to choose a new path if the one they’re on isn’t working. I want them to live by something other than money. I want their definition of success to be entirely their own.

So I guess if that’s what I want, that’s how I need to live. I hope I’m finally heading in the right direction.

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