Welp, I quit my day job
I finally did it. After years of stagnancy, months of planning, and several weeks of realizing that my "planning" could go on forever, I put in my notice and left my steady agency design job after 6 years. I knew I wanted a change—needed a change—and I also knew that I only ever do REAL shit when I'm up against a wall. So I built a wall, and am currently in the terrifying process of smooshing myself against it, with only a moderate amount of savings to cushion the smooshin' (I mean, we have a puppy to feed after all). While this step was exciting and terrifying in all the ways I expected, it has been...surprising...in many ways I did not...
In the past month, I have barely left my house. I have realized the full, irritating extent of just how needy my animals are. I've gained 10lbs, and am down to one pair of non-yoga pants that still fit comfortably. I've probably worn a bra for a combined 16 hours in the past 6 weeks (now that I think about it, that hasn't been all that bad). My face has broken out. I keep forgetting to call my Mom. The only money I've made since January has been from selling stuff on Craigslist. I nearly forgot my own birthday. I have worked harder in that past month than I ever have in my life.
On the flip side of that coin...
I have been more productive in the past month than in the past several years combined. I've been intellectually and emotionally invested in my work for the first time in my life. I have become my dog's best friend. I've stuck to a workout plan more closely than ever before. I know now that it is in fact possible to be excited to go to work in the morning. And with happiness, true drive, and real buttery self-love, I have worked harder in that past month than I ever have in my life, and it's been great.
Now, I say it's been great, and I mean that. But great doesn't mean easy. Great doesn't mean successful. Great doesn't even mean I've liked it every day. Have you ever attended a great workout class? Then you know what I mean. Every day has not been great. But every day has been great for me, and therein lies the true benefit. Growth hurts. I can feel the resistance, the world telling me to start cruising job listings, checking in with my old agency, sprucing up my resumé. But I'm not gonna do it. I am going to make this work. It may not turn out the way I planned. It may not be sustainable in its current state. And that's ok. What matters is that I'm showing up every day—EVERY DAY—and giving it my love, my attention, and my best creative energy. Because it's a sexy Universe doling out inspiration, and she deserves nothing less than the best I can offer.
Enough about me
That's been my story so far. But if you're reading this and aren't related to me, you have probably read 100 articles just like this one. You probably hate your day job, or are at least ready for a new one. You are probably taking classes (online or otherwise), creeping on people who are already doing what you want to do, saving money, applying for jobs, trying to navigate the shitstorm of paperwork that goes along with starting Your Hustle, LLC, and taking any number of other baby steps toward becoming the person you want to be. Congrats. If you're anything like me, these baby steps have done precisely dick to ease the feeling of aimless fear that seems to be lodged square in the way of the next big step. I know how that feels. It sucks. It sucks bigtime. Now, I'm not usually one to offer up unsolicited life advice to people, mainly because I've never been one to heed unsolicited life advice from people. But I will leave you with the names of two books that proved immeasurably helpful in shoving me past the baby steps and off in to the deep end:
You are a badass by Jen Sincero
This book reads like the encouragement of a best friend who has been to rock-bottom and back. It is full of beautiful ideas and insights, and helpfully includes tips on how to keep those ideas from fading once you finish the book. If you're struggling to believe that you deserve, and are capable of attaining the life you want, this paper pep-talk will turn you into a believer.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
This one is absolutely invaluable, but it's about as sugar-coated as a salt lick. You will not be coddled by Mr. Pressfield, because coddling will get you nowhere and he has work to do. The only thing that will take you anywhere, as you will learn, is work. Although it's geared toward creative pursuits, the hard lessons learned about Resistance (with a capital R) can be applied to almost anything.
A few closing thoughts
If you have read or plan to read these books, drop a note in the comments and let me know what you got, or hope to get out of them. If you're turned off by the idea of "self-help" books (as I was), here are a few thoughts to chew on:
- Get over yourself—everyone needs a guide from time to time, and some very rad people have written their guidance down for you to absorb in a very inexpensive and pants-optional setting.
- Seeking guidance is not weakness. What you are trying to do—changing your life and yourself for the better—is hard. It's really, really fucking hard. Just about every force in the natural world does not want to allow you to do this. You are gonna have to dig deeper than you ever have before, and once you start digging, you might be thankful for some tips on how to clean the shit out of your clothes from someone who has spent a lot of their time buried in shit. It's not weakness, it's common sense.
- Reading books like this is not action. It is research, which is a very dangerous trap—reading about how to change your life is entirely different from changing your life. Reading is just reading. If you're worried that they'd be a waste of your time, you may be right. Your time is precious, and it's up to you how to spend it. But if you could use a helping hand, there's nothing to be ashamed of if that hand is a book.
How bout you?
So how about you, dear reader? Are you thisclose to taking the plunge into your new life? Just dipping your toes in the surf? Thinking to yourself, "fuck that, there's monsters in the deep"? I'd love to hear where you're at, and more importantly, where you're going. We gotta stick together, amirite? Now buckle down and work hard. You got this.