I don't know who to credit for the inspiration (or alternatively who to blame…), but I recently made the somewhat rather large decision to quit my job.
I knew for a while things weren't right. I had stopped bothering to even try and be creative, I saw it as a waste of time, and I had convinced myself I was okay with that- grown ups didn't write and draw for a living unless they were exceptionally talented. I was on the path for a stable career. I would have enough money to live, to travel and I would be surrounded by fun, sociable colleagues turned friends. Like any industry, it had its faults, but it was a small price to pay for all the benefits.
But I wasn't happy. I gave up my spare time for a year to study industry exams, but felt very little sense of achievement, or more importantly, growth. I stopped seeing where my life was heading. I was jealous of people just going and living their life, doing whatever the hell they wanted. My anxiety had gone back to being sky high, and it wasn't infrequent for me to come home exhausted for no particular reason and ratty as hell.
2017 came in and I knew something had to change. This year was going to be different.
Having looked back on all that has happened so far in my life, I now realise that in order for change to happen, we have to sometimes get uncomfortable. That those dark and twisty moments is life shifting you in a different path. That said, I didn't find the shift easy.
One Sunday I started crying. We were on the way home from a wonderful weekend with my parents back home. I should have been my most relaxed, but instead I started to cry on the train back to London, and I just couldn't stop.
Monday morning came and I was no better. It almost feels like an out of body experience looking back, but I was overwhelmed. I was sobbing as if my heart had been broken- it took over my whole body. I knew something was wrong and I needed a rope. I went to the doctor not sure how anyone could help me, or what to expect- I came out signed off work.
This wasn't a relief. I knew I'd been stressed but this seemed suddenly much much worst. It was one thing to have problems, but to appear to function day to day. Now I couldn't lie, or hide this one. I had to disappear for 2 weeks, but more importantly I knew I would have to reappear after those 2 weeks and explain my absence.
The truth was, going into work wasn't really an option. I was having some form of extended panic attack- I couldn't get myself to breathe, and just as soon as I'd seemed to stop crying, it started again. The first few days are a total fog. I didn't binge watch box sets, I couldn't bring myself to read. I didn't write, or look for other jobs, or do anything constructive in all honesty.
This too shall pass.
After a week, that fog started to lift. I was by no means better, and I was certainly not going to achieve anything life changing, but I knew I needed to start to move, whatever direction that was in. I unrolled my yoga mat. I set an alarm. I watched a few box set episodes (this was progress). I went to an art class. I met my mum for lunch. I didn't talk much, but I wrote, I took photos.
I realised my life had to change.
I started to think about what I loved, what made me excited. I read with a whole new thirst.The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying had cleared a pathway that made me realise how I wanted my life to really be. Then Big Magic made me see how I missed being creative and to just let it flourish without putting pressure on it. F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way because why would you live your life around what anyone else finds acceptable? The more I read, the more fired up I was. I started following people's journeys who had gone and done it- Mel Wells, Olivia Wollenberg, Madeline Shaw... young women taking the bull by the horns and creating the life and business they wanted.
And I started to go to events. I love food, I love travel, I love writing. When I'm doing these things, or talking about these things, I'm fired up, I'm alive and I'm myself. And suddenly it seemed criminal not to spend my days focusing on these things. So I networked. I met exciting people in co- working spaces, doing their own thing, carving their own path.
I would for the first five minutes have an unsettled feeling at these events. I was a fraud, I had no place here. I was just flirting with a different life, amongst people who had gone out there and done it.
But I had no experience in these arenas- my best hope was going back to basics and connect with people, and every time I would leave elated.
There were more realisations to come. That ultimately, I would love the freedom to do my own thing. That life really does seem to begin on the edge of your comfort zone, and I want to pave my own way. It all made sense. I left uni and traveled around Asia by myself, meeting friends for life on the way. I did my yoga teaching training in an ashram, knowing no one. I moved to Sydney and lived there for 18months getting my masters. I've never lived in a settled way. I've always said one day I would have my own business, that I would write a book. But no one was going to hand me these things. And sitting in a job that felt so safe had stopped being safe when it was making me so ill.
It sounds so simple to say if you want something, you go get it, but I've learnt that it is only through believing this it can become true- whether you call it manifesting, or working hard towards a goal, or just saying 'fuck it", I'm just going to go do it.
I handed in that resignation. I registered my business. I've met contacts and mentors. I've developed products. I've hired a branding agency. I'm going do some kind of part time work- I have a mortgage to pay, but I'm also going to pour myself into all those things I always said I wanted to do. Maybe the two will intertwine….
And ultimately, if it all goes tits up- I gave it a go. I haven't lived with regrets, or craving one life and living another. I may even end up back where I started, but that's okay, I will have learnt something.
And I'll be excited for whatever turn in the path comes next, no matter how dark and twisty it gets in between.