Sometimes getting past a problem makes the process seem easy.
Take, for instance, when I quit my day job. Without meaning to, I may have skipped some realistic details. The truth is, the process wasn’t easy at all. So in this post, I wanted to share with you some of the truths behind the changes in my life.
In the second part of each section, I’ll explain why I kept going, even though some of the truths will seem disheartening. I’m sharing them with you so you can know what to expect if you’re working on the same goal.
So here it goes …
The truth about quitting my day job
I talk a lot about the benefits and awesomeness of quitting my day job. Well yeah, that’s all very true. Today, I want to share with you that I’ve also felt:
Guilty. Quitting was something I planned for years, but I went about my day job like any good office drone would. I felt guilty at times, like I was living a lie. Not guilty enough to tell my supervisors, but still. The feeling was there. Don’t even get me started about choosing to quit a good-paying job while millions are desperately looking for a day job. Yeowch.
Scared. I’ve second guessed my decision more than once. I’ve readjusted our family budget, hoping the numbers will add up, hoping I won’t have to go back into full time work. So far, so good. But the fear is there.
Jealous. When work comes and goes as a freelancer, it’s easy to feel like those with a day job are moving ahead of you, while you are still staying in the same spot. (At home, in comfy pants, with little makeup on.)
Too damn tired to keep going. Yes, I planned this for years. I worked myself out of a day job for years. Years, people. That’s a long time. And I went through phases where I stopped caring. It was easier to work and get a paycheck than it was to work all day, blog all night, research, fret, deal with guilt. Sometimes, I just felt tired.
Why I Didn’t Quit Trying to Quit My Day Job
I hope this simple answer won’t seem cliche. Because it’s the truth:
The reward was greater than the risk.
But that’s not something I can tell you about your own life. It’s something I had to decide for myself, and you will, too. For me, quitting my day job meant I could:
- Work from anywhere at anytime
- Be my own boss
- Be at home
- Drive less
- Be flexible
- Work on my own passion projects
If you decide you want to quit your day job, you’ll need to come up with a reward list, too. Trust me, if you plan to get over the feelings of guilt, fear and exhaustion, you. Will. Need. A. List.
The Truth About Minimalism
I have a hard time classifying myself as a minimalist. Yes, I love minimalism. I love simplicity. But I definitely don’t live with 100 things.
I still have clutter. I still buy stuff. While I educate myself about minimalism, I’ve learned that minimalism is:
A challenge. Decluttering and minimizing your possessions sounds wonderful, right? Well, it’s a lot of hard, back breaking work. All those boxes of junk don’t magically march out of your basement storage and end up at Goodwill. It takes physical labor and mental stamina to sort through years of stuff.
Elusive. Like I said above, I have a hard time classifying myself as “minimalist” because there are so many “real” minimalists living the lifestyle I aspire to. Like Everett, Leo, Tammy, Karol, Courtney, Nina. They are inspiring, but at times I feel like I can’t keep up. You might feel that way about them, or even me. I just want to assure you – You are not alone.
Isolating. A lot of people I love don’t “get” minimalism. In fact, my son’s response to my minimalist fashion project was: “You are getting really weird these days.” Um, sticks and stones … right?
Why I Haven’t Quit Minimalism
- The more I minimize areas of my life, the more I like it.
- So I do it some more.
- That’s it.
Your reasons for embracing simplicity and minimalism might be deeper than that. I know about the good economical and ecological reasons, too. Those are important, but I honestly wouldn’t try if it didn’t add some joy to my life.
So I keep learning. I keep trying. I keep the joy comin’.
The Truth About Getting Out of Debt
There are so many negative emotions I remember about this journey that it’s almost hard to write about. For starters:
- Mr. Right and I fought during budget meetings. A lot. It was hard not to point fingers and say, “Well you’re spending like an idiot here!”
- The kids began to ask questions like, “Are we poor now?”
- I felt like a cheapskate. (Now I put a positive spin to it with the word “frugal.”)
- I had to completely change my mentality from “buy something to fix this” to “how can I avoid spending money to fix this?” That was hard. Reallllly hard.
- I had to say no to things I wanted to do. Like go out to eat, buy the kids their latest fashion craze or go to a wine tasting.
Why I Didn’t Quit the Journey to Get Out of Debt
This might be obvious, but along the way, you can see there were some painful emotional roadblocks. There were a few months when we careened off course – I went to Los Angeles; we spent something like $500 on food and drinks at Disney World. Yikes! But after we fell off course, we’d get back on the journey to pay off our debt.
Here are some awesome reasons I’m glad we got out of debt:
- We no longer have a car payment.
- We have a good chunk of money in savings.
- I was able to quit my day job.
- It was hard, but it helped us grow. We were able to review our whole lifestyle during this change. We turned our focus from consumerism onto other things like writing, exercise and cooking with healthy food.
- It increased our creativity.
- This is bold, but true – We are happier now.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -Gandhi
This statement is quoted a lot, but it’s still one of my favorites. It’s also the perfect way to sum up the truth about change.
It isn’t easy.
It isn’t always understood.
It isn’t always fun.
But in the end, the change is the greatest reward.
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Photo by xcode