My day job recently went from full-time to part-time—by my choice, in order to focus on things like writing that matter much more in my life—which ended my insurance coverage as an employee. I’m now working three days a week and making half of what I was making previously—and couldn’t be happier.
The money wasn’t really affecting my quality of life, and my previous position at this company was making me sick. Making the decision to transition to a part-time role was actually one of the significant changes in my life before ayahuasca—as I’ve talked about previously, it starts working in your life before you even drink it. Frankly, I don’t know how I could have possibly gone back to my previous role after Peru, so I’m certainly grateful.
Losing my health insurance was a big sacrifice, but unless I wanted to bump it up to four days a week, there was nothing my company could do. I suppose there is a very pragmatic point of view that would suggest that working one additional day per week was worth the health insurance and the additional income.
Anyone with a day job that pays the bills and a passion that currently only covers the emotional utilities of life knows how easy it is to be lulled into the routine and security of the day job. I’d already watched years of my life go by where I was dedicating significantly more time and energy—specifically energy—to my day job and all of its highs and lows (mostly lows), and I knew that I needed to pull the rug out from under myself a little.
But what that meant was, if I wanted to be insured, I had to get it through the private exchange, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Which is expensive.
Once I found out what my options were, I immediately declared, “Fuck this!” I was not going to pay that much every month for something I was hoping to never use.
I cried afoul of the government for a plan that I was neither rich or nor poor enough to take advantage of. I argued against the odds of something catastrophic even happening to me. I insisted I was totally healthy and would get by just fine, and if I got sick, I’d just treat myself in some natural, holistic way.
In other words…resistance, resistance and even more resistance.
Was this really just about the money? Not really. Because I reviewed my monthly finances when I was going part-time and factored in health insurance, and there was room in my income to pay for it.
It may have meant I needed to be more conscious of my spending in other areas of my life—specifically, how often I lazily ordered $30 of takeout on Seamless, which might end up only being one meal if I absentmindedly ate it front of the television.
It could mean only having maybe one or two glasses of wine if I’m out with a friend, and not saying, “Oh, sure why not!” to another, which wasn’t doing me any good anyway, and always left me feeling like shit the next morning.
It would mean more consciousness of my finances, a willingness to review my bank account and credit card bill each month and have a clear sense of what my cost of living was, and not being afraid of that. (Anyone else occasionally terrified of looking at their bank statements?)
It would mean making self-care of a priority in my life.
Sure, it was going to cost a few hundred dollars each month, but what was making me so angry about that? Wasn’t the reason for it valuable enough? If something did happen to me—and no one is invincible—this could mean the difference between a reasonable medical bill and one that could leave me in crushing debt.
Is the extra money in my pocket, and all of the ego-based value I put on it, that much more important if I can feasibly afford to spend that money?
Since I lost my insurance from my current employer, there is a “change of life” window of opportunity to enroll for insurance through the exchange. I thought that was a particularly meaningful term—“change of life.” It’s something of an understatement for me lately, but indeed, I’ve had a significant change of life.
Life after ayahuasca also offers you a window of opportunity—a chance while your experience is still fresh and you’re still feeling something of an “afterglow” from your ceremonies to integrate all of the learnings and paradigm shifts into your reality. That window can and does close, and many people can find themselves right where they left off.
I’ve been trying to maximize that opportunity as much as possible these past couple months, and have seen dramatic shifts in my life. A lot has been clarified and cleared away, thanks to ayahausca, including a profound need to love myself more, or at all.
So I signed up for insurance today, for a number of other reasons, but mostly, because I care that much about myself. One of the most intense realizations I had in Peru was that I could take care of myself—I no longer needed to live my life like a scared little boy. I’m an adult and I can take care of myself. Life is something to live, not fear.
This is one way in which I can integrate that learning into my life.
And maybe it just doesn’t matter how much it costs.
Because I’m worth it.