The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. ~Alan Watts
I was so sick of it; the hustle and bustle of everyday life had worn me down. I was what could be considered a “light alcoholic” needing to consume alcohol with friends most weekday nights just to deal with the work week. The weekends, well we all know how that goes. How do I get off this wheel, how do I escape the rat race, how do I revamp my life? If I just stay a little longer, plug a little harder and save more aggressively I can retire earlier travel, sleep in and be free. That is what I am aiming for, right? But can I sustain the rat race any longer in order to get there?! What if I keel over from the stress of it all, what if I actually die from the dread of having to make my morning commute one more time. Can I really walk up the hill from the parking garage again and face my staff with a smile on my face? No, I can’t, something must give.
I started talking to others about my desire to escape the 9-5 life. Most others looked at me like I was crazy. A few said while it sounded nice to escape this routine it wasn’t for them because of X, Y or Z reason. There were however a few people who had similar feelings, I clung to these people as if all my life depended on it. We shared resources, podcasts, books and plans. It was possible!! I could actually do this! I started implementing a few financial practices into my life and started to shift my mindset. This lasted well over a year, the mental preparation is the hardest and the part that I still struggle with.
After almost two years of preparation I quit my full-time job to pursue travel with my partner and pick up work as I found it that connected with me. I am currently about 4 months in and it isn’t all roses, long naps and lattes. There are struggles but the most difficult struggle wasn’t on my radar. I was expecting to worry about money, social isolation and what to do with all my free time. In fact, I feel disconnected because I am living a life different from most people. It’s weird. Isn’t this what I was striving for, why am I not ecstatic all the time? Everyone says change is difficult, emotions and situations need time to process. I understand that but this is something different than I have ever experienced before.
I am giving myself time and space to allow my new life to unfold, I need to give myself time and space to allow my life to unfold. To navigate my new normal. This is difficult for me because as a trained nurse and expert over achiever I am used to knocking off items on my to-do list in record time.
This has been the most difficult work I have done; some days I breeze through it and some days I struggle. Sitting in what can be referred to as liminal space, the threshold between what my previous normal was and what my new normal is to become. This is what must be done, it’s part of the journey and process. Once my new “normal” is revealed to me will I feel less disconnected with those living a “typical 9-5 life”? I am not sure. But what I do know is I have the power to connect and establish relationships with people who support me and seek out those who have chosen a similar path. I can establish and connect with my own community and mitigate those feelings of isolation. I have the power.
We all have the power to control our own lives, adventures and mindsets. Yes, there are things around us that happen every day in which we cannot control but we can control our reaction to them. You have the ability to revamp your life at any time. It may not be overnight and you will face obstacles but it can be done. Dream big, preserver and go for it! Take chances, we only have one life, take the risk to live a happier, more fulfilling life.