Change for a Year

Take a year. Change your life.

Why I Quit My Job and You Should Too

Not an hour ago I sent an email to my boss. It’s time to step down, it said. I need to chase my dreams.

The career I spent years building towards, the white picket fence, the security and comfort I wanted — it all turned into a puff of smoke with just a few strokes of the keyboard. By morning that old fog will have lifted, and the remnants of those dreams will be gone, burned away by the bright light of the new day and new dreams.

Never make a vow in the dark of  night, sleep on it before you make a decision, nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m. — it’s advice I’ve heard often. All of it is terrible. In the dark is where the truth lies. All my best moments happen after 2 a.m. Late at night, free from the hustle and chaos and distraction of life, that truth can finally penetrate.

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”
-Lao Tzu

I’m reminded of a night a week into my 16-day, solo, motorcycle camping trip. I pulled into a rest stop late at night. It was freezing cold. I unstrapped my sleeping bag from the passenger seat and shimmied into it, boots and jacket and all. I slept that night on the cold concrete under a picnic table on the side of the road. At first I imagined a scene from a horror movie: the empty rest stop, the cold wind, and the distant woods. I never felt so alone. But then a strange thing happened. I heard music in the darkness. A horse neighed from the bottom of the hill. I could hear the faint sounds of laughter and dancing. The locals had a fair of some sort. Alone in the middle of nowhere, zipped up like burrito with my head poking out from under a picnic table and looking at the stars, I closed my eyes and had the most peaceful sleep of that trip. Live simply, I thought as I drifted off. Enjoy life.

There is magic in the darkness, and yet I sat there for ten minutes staring at the send button, filled with panic at the possibility of change. Maybe I should sleep on it? Maybe I should wait until morning? Maybe I should wait until the daytime distraction of life drove away my true nighttime dreams?

That is only fear talking. Leap–that is my new motto. Just leap. So I hit send. I leapt.

It is terrifying and exciting and liberating. Maybe this year will be grand and transformative. Maybe it will be agonizing and painful. No matter, I plan on closing my eyes in the dark and having a peaceful sleep tonight.

Live simply, live fully. Chase, chase, chase is all so many of us do. And for what? A bigger house. A newer car. More junk you think you need. I’ve given up on that way of life. At least I’m trying. It is daunting because then what are we left with? Only ourselves. That can be scarier still.

If I live to be seventy, that gives me about 15,000 more days on this earth. That’s around 500 months. That’s only 40 more years. To waste a year, a month, even a day by putting off what I dream of every night is simply idiotic. It will be work. It will be hard. It will be worth the risk. Such is life.

When those thoughts creep into the darkness at night, don’t wait. Don’t postpone. That’s your true heart calling out to you, trying to give the answer. Sometimes it’s hard to know the question. Listen in those moments.

Then leap.

13 Comments

  1. WOW! It takes real guts to do what you did. I imagine most would call you crazy. I consider you a genius.

    Many will leave our little planet not never knowing what it feels like, doing what you did. I, for one, applaud you for your courage and wish you much success in your new endeavors. Wherever life takes you, may God be with you.

    Paul

  2. Bold, bold move. Congratulations. A friend of mine always used to say, “the universe will provide”. I like that sentiment. Rice and beans, with salsa – that’s what I ate whilst in “job transition”. I am pretty sure with all you’ve been learning, you’ll do better than that!

  3. I wish you well in your new venture. God bless and take care.

  4. Fantastic post, and a gutsy move that shows the spirit of Thoreau is sweeping through you. I’m sure it’ll all work out.

    • I hope to one day live in the woods for year. Another goal for the bucket list. Maybe I’ll be broke and homeless at the end of this year and get that dream yet! 🙂

  5. I’m thinking about it. I’m working on a business idea that I can run out of my house. Still in the R&D phase, but i’m still pushing forward.

  6. One of the best articles i have ever read. congrats! inspiring!

  7. Wow! I love you broke down the years into months. It really makes what feels like a long time so short. Thanks for adding that perspective to my life. Good luck on your changes. I am making some huge ones in my life. Have you ever thought about going Vegetarian? I am taking a challenge to see what happens in my life if I eliminate meat. Thanks for the inspiration to keep changing and keep a different flow to life 🙂

    • I’ve been vegan on and off this year. I really like it. I feel way better when I don’t eat meat and all that cheese.

      It’s crazy reading this almost a year after I wrote it. It was definitely the right decision. My new job is awesome. I probably write for fun less often, and this blog suffers a bit from that, but I get paid to write every day. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I plan on riding it out as long as possible.

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