I quit my job.
After 5 years of college and a decade of experience in my profession – I woke up one day with enough balls to say – “Screw It! I’m Done!”
I wrote my letter of resignation and never looked back.
It took some finagling, planning, juggling, and shenanigans, but my husband and I managed to downsize and simplify our lives – making a $40,000 per year pay cut possible.
We also lost our health care benefits, 401K, and retirement.
I. Didn’t. Even. Care.
I was so overworked and overwhelmed I ended up developing chronic physical pain. Keeping a full time job simply wasn’t possible for me anymore. I woke up tired. I went to work tired. I vegged out on the couch tired. I slept tired. Everything that happened in my life happened under a veil of achy exhaustion.
Something had to give before I did. My 38 year old body was shutting down. I was under so much stress my central nervous system couldn’t keep up.
We often hear of two stress responses within the human body – fight or flight – but there is a third. When you’ve exhausted the entirety of your nervous system’s ability to fight or flee in a situation, the third response swoops in – shutting everything down while making you completely immobile. It’s called ‘freeze’.
That’s where I was. Frozen in the stress of my life.
We’ve all experienced it in some form or another. For some it may be an addiction or a bad relationship. For others it’s an outdated belief system or daily doses of negative self-talk. Whatever it is that makes you overreach, overstretch, and overwork until all you feel is pain – that’s your frozen.
For me, it was trying to keep up with – well – everything. The career, the family, the house – date night, homework, kid’s activities, workout schedules, ‘me’ time – these bills, those bills, more bills, and everything else life threw at me.
There was simply not enough caffeine – or nap time…
But let’s be real. By the time I put in my resignation, I was beyond fixing anything with a cup of coffee or a power nap. This wasn’t about putting my big girl panties on – this was about restoring my health and learning how to enjoy my life again.
For me, I was making the ultimate sacrifice – the wasting away of my health – for a three bedroom house on an acre of land with an in-ground swimming pool, two cars, electronic gadgets, cable, internet, cell phones, and a once a year vacation we never had the money to actually take.
I was working so hard for all of it. For myself. My husband. My children. I worked until I was incapable of enjoying anything. I worked until I felt like a zombie walking around in a dark, foggy cloud. Perhaps that’s why $40,000 and a dental plan barley registered in my head the day I quit my job.
That day I decided – whatever is crushing my soul – is being eliminated out of my life.
I started with my job. After that, I made the decision to wake up every day with enough balls to say, “Nope. No thank you, Stress. Not today. Not ever again.”
That’s when I started living again.