Has there ever been a time in your life when you knew your life was about to change?
Maybe it was a slow change like a pregnancy when you had a little time to prepare for it. Or maybe it was sudden change like a car accident or winning the lottery. Maybe it was something that you chose to change and maybe it felt like the change happened to you.
In any case, change happens. We can resist it, we can hide from it, but it’s going to happen with or without our approval.
On Monday, I chose to make a change. A BIG change. I quit my job.
It feels strange to even write that. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but have kept relatively quiet about it. At first, I thought the change was happening TO me and was out of my control. I was unhappy in my job and spent a lot of time saying, “If only I had more time, if only I didn’t have to do X or that person didn’t say Y or I was able to do more of Z.” When you’re not satisfied with a situation, the natural reaction is to point fingers and place blame. After several months (maybe even a year) of staying with my job even though I was not satisfied, I discovered the right reason to leave the job. It was not the fault of the job or the people I worked with or office politics. The reason I chose to leave my job was because I had outgrown it.
Quitting my job felt a little like a break-up. I almost wanted to say, “It’s not you. It’s me.” It was bittersweet. It was not an easy decision. But it was the right decision for both of us.
So what am I going to do now? What am I going to do with my life?
I used to wince at this question. I was desperate to get to the bottom of it and figure out what would make me happy. Earlier this year, I had a realization that I didn’t need to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. But I did know how I wanted my life to feel. I wanted to be creative every day. I wanted time to spend with my family. I wanted energy to take care of myself – cooking healthy meals, doing yoga, taking walks with my hubby. I wanted to feel relaxed, happy, balanced. At the time, I wasn’t feeling any of those things.
I had been hearing the whispers from my creative spirit for quite some time, but wasn’t sure what to do about it. So I waited. I didn’t quit my job out of desperation. I waited. I didn’t search for a new job to replace the old one. I waited. I didn’t grasp for a creative outlet. I just waited. And when the whispers got louder and pointed me in a direction that made sense and felt good, I stopped waiting and I LEAPT. I leapt towards photography because it was the first time in years that I felt inspired to learn and the first thing in years that I spent hours doing without wanting to stop (sometimes forgetting to eat lunch). It was something I was making time for instead of complaining that I didn’t have enough time for. It was something that cheered me up on difficult days. And it changed the way I look at the world. These were all key indications that I was on the right path.
Then I started saying YES to things that scared me because I knew that the fear was an indication of something that excited me. And the more I said YES, the more free I felt. The more “me” I felt. The more joy I felt. And the more doors opened.
When I started considering the idea of quitting my job – without another job lined up – I felt that same kind of fear. The exciting kind. The kind that is an indication that I was doing the right thing. The kind that makes so much sense despite all of the risks.
Minutes before I gave my boss two-weeks notice, I read the following question on Danielle LaPorte’s blog:
“What would I do if I were not afraid?“
And I knew what I had to do.
It’s only been a couple of days and it hasn’t quite sunken in yet, but what I do feel is relief. I’ve felt like a balloon on the verge of popping for months and finally, I’ve let the air out. I’m also surprised and pleased with what’s coming out of my mouth without hesitation as I tell my coworkers the news, one by one. They ask what I’m going to do next and I tell them that I am going to concentrate my energy on things I’m passionate about and that I’m starting a photography business. I’m also telling them that I don’t really know what’s next and that’s okay. I’ve never felt MORE okay with not knowing what’s going to happen next. It is freeing and exciting. Even more freeing is that I am being true to myself and following my heart wherever it leads me.
So am I nervous? Yes! Do I have doubts? Hell yes! But I am also full of a new energy that I haven’t felt in years. I am ready to harness that energy, put it out into the world, and create the life I envision for myself.
But first I need a nap.
Jamie Ridler has a fabulous series on her blog called Wishcasting Wednesday. I thought it would be appropriate to share my wish today. This week’s prompt is “What do you wish to experience?” And my answer: the freedom and confidence to follow my dreams.