Our culture does not value quitting, but selectively quitting the negative aspects of my life has been the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s not giving up, it’s not failing. It’s cleaning house.
I once had what many would consider a very successful career. I made good money and had prospects for advancement. The problem was that I became terribly burned out and unhappy. It took a toll both mentally and physically, as I became very depressed and started getting physically ill on a regular basis.
Still, it took me several years to finally walk away. I went back to school in a completely different field. Shortly after starting school, I quit my job and started working for a lot less money at an entry level job in my new field. Many people thought I was crazy to walk away from so much monetary success. Luckily, my husband wasn’t one of them, although there were certainly times when he questioned the decision as we had to scale back our spending or deal with a major home repair.
When I had about six months left of school, I began to suspect that the career I was headed toward was not for me. A major injury a few months later took any choice away from me. Talk about self-doubt–I went from heading toward a new career to having a major injury that made it difficult to do much of anything. I felt that I had, perhaps, ruined my chances for success in life.
It was during this time of trying to figure out what was next and trying my hand at an office job, that I began to write for fun. I challenged myself to write a romance novel just to see if I could finish. I needed a goal, and that became it. Eight months later, I had left the office job, finished my novel, and signed up for a pitch event somewhat on a whim. Turns out that was a good idea. I was asked to submit four places, and two made me offers. A few months ago, my debut novel came out.
Somewhere along the line, I also learned to let go and go with the flow. As a result, I’m a lot happier, a lot less stressed, and in a lot less pain. Some days I still wonder “what if”, but I’m getting better at living in the moment every day. I have been blessed to have a supportive husband and friends. I get to stay home with my pets, which they love, and I can volunteer for animal causes I’m passionate about. I’ve found a few part-time independent contractor positions and am making do. Turns out I need a lot less material goods than I thought.
I set out to try to make changes I thought I needed to survive, but it turned out quitting taught me how to truly live.