“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” – Lao Tzu
I did it again. I quit another secure job with great benefits, great opportunities and great everything else. It was not easy and there were many thoughts involved that kept me up all night. I went to university to study and finish a Masters degree with no sense of a destination but doubled down on an anxiety attack shuffled with a somewhat mental playlist of worries on repeat all. “I do not want to burn down this bridge. This job gives me security and safety (no pun intended) and a good pension. I should go back to New York “, I said to myself over and over even though I know deep inside that I am not certain if I will even receive my pension in the end when I am like 65. I am German: security, safety and worrying about everything is very important to us. Quitting my job? A nightmare for many or just a dream? Quitting a job is not the end. One door closes and many others open.
What makes me really happy? Is it a job like this? Is it “big money”? Is it working in a cubicle from 9-5? The answer is no. After I resigned I felt I lost what had rooted me for so long even though I was on “Leave without pay”. What gave me security and to break down this bridge was definitely not easy for me. Initially, I felt small, alone and unsteady, un/and insecure in a way. But, I also realized that I am on a path to something new. Something better maybe and if it even just a clean slate to a fresh start in a new country. So I have done this major step of resigning and now it feels normal. It feels somewhat good and I am content with my decision. I am starting to adapt to something new while continuing to appreciate the simple things.
My living habits have changed even more. I live simpler which makes me happier. I also cleaned my house and sold a ton of stuff that was useless to me and just sat around collecting dust. For now, I am not defined by my former job anymore and I recently discover a somehow dormant resilience I thought I forgot completely. Simplicity overall.
So what actually happened when I quit my job and followed my dream?
I realized what is really important. It is not money. It is not security because anything can happen anytime. But love for myself first is salient. Next is love for my family and to find fulfillment in what I am doing on a daily basis. It is all so surreal but I see the bigger picture already since I know what I really want to do, what this dream of mine is and I just have to simply move forward to achieve it. I asked myself what would really make me happy. I left my job to make my own. I want to be a full-time writer and my book manuscript is edited and ready to go. I would also love to own a small bookstore with a café selling used books and some homemade pastries and good coffee. Does this all sound too surreal? I don’t think so! Until I open my bookstore I know I will have to find another job which I am applying for and I have some great opportunities coming up. I am not daydreaming, waiting for something to magically happen and relying on ze husband to support me forever. I am grateful, however, that I am able to follow my dream because he supported me so far. Studying overseas as an international student is not cheap so I thank him for that.
These days I find myself sitting at a café in the morning or in the library working on my projects that I truly love until the afternoon when I have to pick up my son. My schedule is pretty flexible and I love it. That would have been not possible before. Now I have this amount of freedom that feels great but is also terrifying and exciting. Am I eventually going to make enough money to cover our living costs and maintain the standard we have? Making money by solely writing is tough. Since I started this blog, I removed all the advertisement that I initially installed because I don’t want to distract the reader which also means zero dollars for me. This does not matter for now because I created this lifestyle with less stuff and spending by kicking consumerism habits which conveniently added more space and time in my life. Throughout my time away from a “real job” and a lot of thinking I realized that I cannot chase happiness by acquiring stuff.
I did not rush this decision to resign but thought this step through for many weeks and months and in the end, I have to say that it brings me one step closer to my vision of what I really want to do and our long-term goals as a family which is first to live intentionally. One small decision after the other to change something and aligning them with my daily actions works pretty well so far.