As of today, it’s been one year since I quit my job. In some ways, I’m still careening around a bit, trying to figure out what I’m capable of, and where to go from here. There are moments when I still worry about how I’ll be viewed by others, when I live in a culture that idolizes very narrow definitions of what a valuable human, and valuable woman, should be.
Making this choice has meant delaying some lifelong dreams, such as owning a home. I have to worry a lot more about health care. I can’t shop for fun, or be frivolous with money. I have a lot of uncertainty that can still cause my anxiety to flare up.
But when I think of this past year, all I feel is a sense of gratitude and relief. I truly believe my decision saved my life. That I’ve been able to grow and change in ways that I was literally too exhausted to even contemplate while working full time. That taking a step out of the expected path has made me see everything in a new light.
Many of the biggest decisions in my life have been made accidentally. Growing up, I took it for granted I would get married and have kids, because that’s what everyone seemed to do. For a long time it just didn’t happen, and now I’m at a point in my life where I genuinely feel lucky that I lived long enough to realize it was a choice I never truly wanted.
When I decided to quit, it wasn’t from a desire to completely change my life. I had just come to a point where I just couldn’t do it anymore. Something flipped a switch, and I was done. And yet it did completely change my life.
Of course not everyone can just drop out. There are lots of paths in life that lead to obligations, and those shouldn’t be taken lightly. But I do think we can all try to take a chance to step off the expected path in some way, even a small one. To shrug off a little bit of what we “should” do for what we truly want to do.
What do you truly want to do?