3.8
February 19, 2017

Living instead of just Making a Living.

Warning: f-bombs ahead! ~ Ed. 

~

Regret for my decision turned into regret that I hadn’t made the decision sooner.

I was staring at the pictures and inanimate objects I had brought to my office, and I realized they were all attempts to make myself feel better—less like a fugitive, hiding from a life that was desperately searching me out. I was sitting in one of those rolling office chairs when I pushed myself away from the desk and said, fuck this. I refuse to live mundanely anymore.

I quit my job.

I quit my job when I realized it was standing in the way of me living.

Please don’t misinterpret my quitting for job revulsion. It wasn’t that way. And that’s what makes this life amendment difficult to justify. The job was seemingly fine. I worked with good people, I got paid well, I held an appropriate amount of responsibility and I had the luxury of setting my own schedule.

So when I told my family and friends that I walked away from it all, I felt incredibly judged. Was I not grateful to have a career, especially in a time of job scarcity? Did I not see the reward in the work I was doing? Was I not appreciative to have a job right out of school, when so many search and search only to be met with nil opportunity?

Let me set the record straight: I knew what I was doing. Yes, I held what some would consider to be a golden ticket, but it wasn’t my golden ticket. Maybe it was someone else’s, but not mine.

I understood the risk I was taking when I listened to my heart over my head.

I’ve known for a long time that I’m not someone who will ever be happy working from a desk, doing a job that someone else, somewhere else does too. To live monotonously always felt extraordinarily negligent to me. I like to surprise people—including myself.

To live predictably just didn’t sit well.

When asked what I did today, I don’t want to say that I charted, made schedules, and updated caregivers. I don’t want to know what I’d say, because I want everyday to be different and equally exhilarating.

So, rather than think of this decision as quitting or not quitting, I chose to think of it as living or not living.

As I walked out of the office door for the last time, I thought about everything that had stopped me from doing this before—money, security, wasting my education, saying goodbye to colleagues. It all existed under this one umbrella: fear.

I wasn’t living because I was scared of failing.

When I quit my job, I quit pretending to be something I wasn’t. I snipped the strings attached to my arms, legs, head and heart that were controlling my every thought, feeling and action. I vowed to no longer exist as a puppet in a world that encourages us to all live like fucking puppets. I opened myself to failure.

And I failed.

I failed over and over and over again.

I shared my words, only to be shot down. I opened my heart, only to have it closed. I dreamed of traveling, only to come back to my reality in which I had to choose between gas or food.

I felt intense bitterness toward myself for leaving the safety of my previous way of life. I experienced illness at the hands of fatigue and stress.

To be totally honest, I felt this colossal sense of regret. And this regret made me want to withdraw my decision. It made me want to throw in the towel and surrender. It made me consider tolerating life as a puppet.

I shed more tears than I thought humanly possible over this regret. I wished for a simple life. For a brief moment, I missed going to work, coming home, getting paid. I missed knowing what was next.

But it didn’t last forever. There was this part of me that refused to believe I had made a mistake. I felt an inability to accept that I couldn’t make it work. And then, I willingly worked my ass off. I wrote everyday and I taught as many yoga classes and workshops as I could. When the road came to a dead-end, I bushwhacked through the forest until I came to another trail worth exploring.

I fought with a willpower I had never felt before.

Regret for my decision turned into regret that I hadn’t made the decision sooner.

With every failure, a wound healed. With every failure, I became a little less fragmented. With every failure, I felt more alive.

It dawned on me that I had been so busy doing what I love that I had become intrinsically happy—content with what I had, and grateful for the boundless freedom that accompanies doing what you love.

I walked away from my job and into my life. I took a hammer to the glass box that had confined me, shattering the doubt that made up its walls. As the glass flew in all directions, my lungs were introduced to fresh air.

Doubt is really just fear in disguise. So, fuck doubting yourself. I doubted I could survive without that consistent paycheck. I doubted I could travel. I doubted I could ever be free. I doubted my ability to live the way I wanted to live.

Here’s something to try—make doubt doubt itself.

Make fear a motivator and an instigator of freedom.

I was scared to quit my job; that’s exactly why I needed to step away from it. I was scared to not have a steady income; that’s exactly why I needed to experience not having one. I was scared to tell the puppeteers to let me go; that’s exactly why I needed to extend a middle finger to those holding me back.

The thought of the unknown generated that crippling sense of fear inside of me. Uncertainty strengthened my containment.

When I stopped doubting myself, stopped letting fear be something I needed to run away from, I started living. When I shook hands with fear, I started changing my focus from surviving to flourishing.

Don’t run from fear. Welcome it. Use it.

Now, when I feel fear, I get excited.

I get fucking excited.

I know that fear means I’m on to something. I’ve found something that makes me uncomfortable, which means I’m only one step away from diving head first into that discomfort.

We don’t grow from idle living. We grow from taking risks, from opening ourselves to things we’ve never done, going places we’ve never been, seeing things we’ve never seen, speaking words we’ve never spoken.

Experiment. Invent. Untie the wings that can take you anywhere you want to go.

I changed my perspective. I changed my perspective about a lot of things—about what I need in life, and about what I want. I decided to stop thinking that life was rigid and stubborn, and instead started thinking of life as supple, malleable and capable of change.

My life is as blank as the pages I stare at when I have writer’s block. Anything can fill that space.

I am entering free flow. I quit my job and now I’m flowing. I traded in my desk for an escapade driven by my own curiosity.

Curiosity that knows no limit.

My job is now and forever to live.

 

 

Author: Robyn Phillips

Image: Unsplash

Editor: Callie Rushton

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