For a few months before I decided to quit my job and move across the country, I stared at this quote from where I’d taped it just to the right of my monitor. Every day I’d look at it and think, am I who I want to be? Am I where I want to be? Am I doing what I want to be doing? And if the answer to those questions are no, what am I going to do about it?
Here’s the thing that we all know, even if we don’t voice it: Starting over is freaking hard. And it’s scary! Change is hard, anything new is hard, because the law of inertia applies to each and every one of us. Even if we don’t love what we are doing, sometimes it’s easier to just stay stuck in our rut and live the life we are already comfortable with.
But do you want your life to be comfortable? Or do you want your life to be incredible? Do you want to wake up every day with your brow already furrowed? Or do you want to open your eyes and say, what are we doing today? Because, I don’t know about you but I want more than just a series of days that add up to weeks, and then months, and then years.
I’ve never been a super timid person, but like everyone else I had gotten into my groove. I was comfortable. I had a job that paid the bills, a long term relationship, an apartment that I loved even if it was always messy, a dog that greeted me like a hero coming home every day at 5:30. But deep down, I was getting no fulfillment from my work, and I never looked forward to the tasks waiting for me on my desk. When you are spending 40 hours a week (at least!) on something, it’s important that it brings you not just money but some sense of accomplishment/pride/joy or some combination of all three. Just because your job is feeding you bank account, doesn’t mean it’s nourishing YOU.
This is something really difficult to talk about, and I found myself saying things like “I can’t complain, I have a job!” whenever people asked me about my work. I recognize that there are so many people out there that would be beyond grateful to have any job at all, and I was worried to put out into the universe how much I disliked what I was doing in case it made me seem ungrateful or selfish. But we aren’t put on this planet to settle. I strongly believe that part of our journey is to strive for that green light across the water, whatever that green light means to you.
It wasn’t that I woke up one morning and decided I wanted a new life. But over time, I recognized that I wasn’t happy. So I want to issue a challenge to you––Are YOU happy? Maybe not all day, every day. But most days do you come home and say, “it was a good day”? Or are you coming home sad, frustrated, angry, depressed? Do you notice the things around you, or are you walking around in a fog, just trying to make it through the day? Because the only way to change any of that is if you decide to action.
Change is scary. I had a lot of doubts. I thought about keeping my job and just moving to California because that would be the safer more secure path. I was worried that I was too old for a career change and that I’d have to start over from scratch. I was worried that I would never find someone to be with and that I’d be alone for the rest of my life. But I decided I couldn’t let fear hold me back. Like the quote says, “It’s never too late… to be whoever you want to be.” If you aren’t satisfied with who you are right now, it is never too late to change. And every moment you spend being unhappy is a moment wasted that you will never get back.
So, I walked into work, gave my 2 week notice, gave half of my things away to Goodwill, sold most of my furniture on Craigslist, packed up my car and drove off into the sunset (just kidding it was like 2 pm when I left).
What I really want to leave you with is this: “I hope you live a life you are proud of, and if you are not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” There are many ways to measure success––money, cars, house, clothes, status, job title. But I want to be proud of my life. I want to have that feeling of contentment in my soul. I want to be able to meet my eyes in the mirror and smile. I want to run out into the world with my arms wide open.
If you are aching for change but are too scared to take action, I hope this post inspires you to become the protagonist in your own life story. Quit the job you hate, get out of the relationship you were stuck in, move to a city you love. And start living a life you are proud of.
*PS the quote I shared is actually misattributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was written by Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Which means, the person who really said this was Brad Pitt… so basically the same thing.