By Kate Marie
Last week, I quit my dream job.
Wait, no. That didn’t come out right. Let me back up and try again.
Last week, I “let go” of my dream job—the one I spent the last three years fantasizing about on a daily basis. Like, pictures on the wall, visualizations, meditations, affirmations and all that garbage. I worked my ass to the top by selling sub-par real estate in metro Detroit for two years, to then be offered the job of a lifetime selling multi-million dollar properties in Malibu (yeah, like the TV show). At which point, I “let go” of most of my personal belongings on Craig’s List, broke my lease, tearfully said goodbye to fond friends and family and an already established career, and spent three days driving 2,200 miles across the country to start from zero in a place I didn’t really know.
Yeah. Lets talk about letting go.
This was my DREAM, for god’s sake. An idea I could not let go of. Staring at me. Waiting,… no, begging me to grab it off the silver platter. Who gets a chance like that—characterized as once in a lifetime—and doesn’t take it? It was exactly what I wanted. Who the hell was I to say “Nah, I’m good; thanks though, universe!” I had been ready to let go of everything for this chance for as long as I could remember. So I did exactly that. I let it all go.
It was freeing. Liberating. Amazing. Exciting. Fascinating. All of those things that you think moving across the country for your dream job would be. I had a plan. I knew how it was going to look. I had goals, expectations, methods and work ethic.
I’m there. Ready to make it all happen. It’s only a matter of time. This is it. My dream life at 24. Looks like were all set, life lessons. I’ll just coast from here.
Fast-forward six months later as I lay, night after night, repeating a similar pattern:
I started to get good at letting go of the fact that not sleeping at night is a sign of something more. I started to get good at chewing on Tums to keep my stomach, which always seemed to be full of knots, at ease. I started to get good at telling myself that everything new and worth it in life takes change, adaptation and risk. And with that, I also got really good at wrapping it all up in a package the less spiritually evolved might call “unhappiness” and placing it in a box called “my uncomfortable path” with a shiny bow called “growth.”
But, no matter how “spiritually evolved” I was getting—or, not—I couldn’t step away from the fact that what I was doing, here and now, was not working for me. A fact that I buried for quite a while is that, despite the amount of effort spent towards this one place in time, this one apex of a life experience that I built up in my head, despite how shiny the package was, it didn’t make me happy. Like, at all. And trust me. I buried this one. Deep. I put it high up on a shelf as I walked through multi-million dollar houses, shaking hands and kissing babies. I didn’t even take it out of my back pocket as I drove to the bank to cash the biggest check of my life. This sucker of a thought wasn’t going to piss on my pride parade. Nope, not for a second. I kept it pretty tightly under wraps. Until I couldn’t anymore.
“But Kate! Don’t you, like, live in a 4 million dollar house across the street from the Pacific Ocean?! Don’t you get to, like, walk through baller houses and cash fat checks? I heard your neighbor was James Cameron! When are you going to be on TV?!?!?! Your life is awesome!”
Yes, yes, I’m not, and it is. But those facts don’t make it “Kewl, bro.”
Those facts actually made it a lot harder to look past the veil of a seemingly perfect life and really see what was going on within. The “vacation every day” lifestyle, with a career full of unlimited earning potential, made it that much fucking harder to question why I was getting lost with myself driving along the coast, and couldn’t ever keep enough food down or get enough sleep. I got sucked in.
But for the last 6 months, I couldn’t let it go.
And not because I was trying to grasp at straws of an incredibly abundant life, although it didn’t suck. But more specifically, because from as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that this is the dream, and we should all want this so bad, whatever our particular career path’s “dream job” is. Because for as long as I can remember, by choice or otherwise, I have been conditioned to believe that there is something seriously wrong with me or that I’m a lazy, unmotivated piece of shit satisfied with sub-par everything, if I don’t do this. If I DON’T take this chance. And I don’t want to be sub-par anything.
But even that isn’t what made quitting my dream job and dream life hard. What made it hard is the fact that, up until recently, there was a large portion of me that actually believed in it. I bought into it. All of it. I believed that if each of us were not pushing ourselves to the Nth degree of our outward existence—that if we weren’t pounding the pavement, stretching our limits, reaching higher, further, longer, faster—that we were merely half-dead. I was sure of it.
So sure of it that I started laughing less frequently. Stopped practicing yoga altogether, because for as much as I have stretched myself in my outward life, I have had zero time to look within. So sure of it that I hardly slept or ate anymore, because “I’m a hustler baby!” I stopped remembering entire conversations, because my phone was constantly ringing and “all I see is signs, all I see is dolla’ signs.” Maybe it wasn’t clear to me yet, but it was clear to everyone else. I was already there. I was already half-dead.
I legitimately stopped remembering what day it was, and in what month. Except for that Saturday.
I remember that Saturday clearly. I remember it, because again, I didn’t sleep at all the previous night. Alternating between bed and couch. Wondering what dollar amount would make it worth it. Wondering how I could quantify what I was going through, to later justify it to myself. I couldn’t come up with a number. And when it was bright enough to justify having a conversation with anyone who would listen, the first words out of my mouth were “I can’t do this anymore.” And with that statement. With that decision. I began to let it all go.
I can’t lie to you and tell you I had a solid backup plan. And I can’t sit here and tell you I haven’t once panicked or second-thought my decision. There will always be second guesses. Uncertainties. Ambiguities. I’m still uncertain whether this makes me a lazy piece of shit. I’m still on the fence about how I personally feel about this decision. But I’m beyond the point of caring what anyone else, including my pride, thinks about this decision.
A funny thing happens when you let it all go. You don’t really get to see the fragments of your life falling away from you, piece by piece, as you would imagine it. In fact, the opposite happens when you stop trying to know everything and loosen your grip on needing to control the outcome. When I let it go, it all ran straight through my fingers. Faster than I had a chance to account for it, I was left with nothing. No real job, no friends or family close by, no familiar place to go to sort it all out.
But now, as I look up, around me, and back inside of myself, I realize that letting go has left me with more than I could ever bargain for. More peace. More breathing. More feelings. More flavor for the things in life that do make me happy. Which has turned out to be more than I could ever want for the rest of my life.
So I am left with this. Even if I am unsure when I am actually going to see a paycheck again, I’m so sure, with conviction, I’m so absolutely positive, that whatever it does mean for me—tomorrow and in the future,—happiness and fulfillment needs to be a part of it. And with that conviction, and sense of relief coming over me, I’m letting it go.
Yep. All of it.
About Kate Marie
Born and raised in metro Detroit, Kate is a freelance writer with a degree in Psychology, which remains her most expensive wall decoration. She is a lover of life, change, travel, children and coconut water.
In 2009, Kate decided to eradicate the “four-year degree” dogma for an unpredictable, yet successful, career in real estate when the market was at its worst. Kate has been practicing yoga for ten years, while studying the human race for longer, and spent three months wandering India in 2011 to experience both in their most organic forms.
She currently resides in Malibu, California, after quitting her dream job and selling her belongings, trading in security and stability for a chance to understand all of which is truly priceless in life.
Fire away: Downwardpups@gmail.com