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Passion Over Paycheck: Why I Quit My Job At 30 To Start Living

Life & Travel

At the end of each year, I would tell myself, "This is it. This is the year I'm quitting. I'm not going into the next year with this job." And each year, for the last six years, I stayed.


There was that one time, three years ago, where I called myself trying to quit. I was fed up with the stressors of a job that was draining me to all hell and, quite frankly, wasn't paying me enough for what I had to endure. I was unfulfilled, overworked, bored, and lacked purpose.

I had resigned to drinking wine every night just to have the strength to crawl into bed and deal with the next day. I knew at that point, this job was affecting not only my mental state, but my physical health, so I needed to go.

I typed up my resignation letter, courtesy of a template I found on Google, and confidently printed and signed it. But I couldn't work up the nerve to hand deliver it to my boss. I wasn't ready. I was afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and making a drastic change.

I allowed my fear to override my wellbeing and, like a bad relationship, I convinced myself my situation would improve.

And to further endorse my illusion that it would get better, I would receive the occasional promotion and the "good-job-pat-on-my-back" speech from my employer. So, I stayed. And the longer I did, the more I allowed my job to determine my value, build my validation, then squander any vision I had of a life of true fulfillment and happiness.

Before this year, I lived in a risk-averse universe where I subscribed to a model of comfort, structure, and meticulous planning – perfect for the office cubicle career as an Accountant. On paper, the job was ideal. I had a decent salary along with a small bonus to cushion it, and annually, I received superb acclamations regarding my job performance. But internally, I was a wreck.

My life was all about work, which I may have been okay with if I loved my job, but I didn't. I wanted nothing more than to be the person I always dreamed of – the intelligent, thought-provoking witty writer with a passion for travel. However, as a risk-phobic individual, I was afraid of stepping out of the ever-turning hamster wheel known as the corporate workforce. I refused to give myself permission to explore and pursue my authentic dreams because of the fear of failure and, for almost seven years, I suffered in silence due to my lack of courage to change my circumstances.

Then in January 2018, I embarked on a trip to LA. Somewhere between Beach Yoga with Brad (not Pitt, unfortunately) and writing affirmations by the ocean at sunrise, it became clear to me that I needed a change in my life. So, I forced myself to confront my fears and contemplate my next steps. Yes, starting over was going to be scary, but I knew I didn't want to live out my 30's the same way I lived my 20's. It was time for me to live a life of purpose and passion.

Two weeks later, Google template in hand, I quit my job.

Leaving behind my career was the most difficult but freeing decision I've ever made in my adult life. Making the decision has elevated me from a person who fears risk, to someone who is willing to face any battle head-on. My self-esteem has slowly grown, and every day I discover new things about myself as I push the bar in my life and enter a new decade. I no longer make choices based on fear and the need to survive; I live my life for the need to thrive. I know the road ahead won't be easy, but I'm committed to the journey, and if I need a change, I know I have the strength and the wherewithal to start over at any time.

Because life doesn't begin or end at a certain age, there aren't any rules about how it should be done. The power to be who I want to be lies within what I'm willing to accept and when I'm willing to change.

Featured image by Getty Images

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com

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