The announcement went companywide this week:
I’m stepping down from full-time work as a professional writer.
Yup (and gulp): I quit my job.
(But I am grateful that I get to stay on with the company as a freelancer.)
The biggest catalyst for making this decision is the health journey I’ve been on the past year. (In October 2016, I was diagnosed with adenomyosis and Stage IV endometriosis. Since then, a functional doctor found additional, chronic infections, a concerning level of inflammation at large…and some scoliosis in my spine. For good measure. By the time he called with that news, I’m pretty sure I just laughed.)
(And because of the endometriosis and adenomyosis, I had 3 endo- or adno-related surgeries in less than 6 months. By my third time getting wheeled into the OR, I was cracking jokes with the anesthesia team and letting the medical center live stream my operation to high school students. The most recent surgery was just shy of 3 months ago: a total hysterectomy, except for an ovary that’s still holding down the hormonal fort. Thanks for holding off early menopause, little buddy.)
What on earth could compel me to give up benefits and a steady paycheck?
(No, I’m not on medication.)
The hunger for healing compelled me.
For 4 weeks while recovering from the hysterectomy, I was on short-term disability and worked medically advised half-days. Recovery was harder and slower than I expected. I began struggling with depression and anxiety. I even began coping in the afternoons or evenings with an occasional (but not necessary) oxycodone, as prescribed. Especially once my sleep became more erratic.
So each workday, at noon (I was urged to stick to the half-day rule):
- I exited my work email,
- logged off of my laptop, and
- buried my work bag in the hall closet…
…where it would stay the rest of the day. From noon until the next morning, I would rest. Or walk. Or write — only for the joy of it. I would sit in the sun and daydream about writing my next book, or stretch on my yoga mat. Once I was cleared by my surgeon, I would go to the gym.
And it got me thinking:
What if this is meant to be our normal? Not stressed and strained. Not “hustled” and drained. I had tasted of better BALANCE, and now I want every last bite, nibble, and crumb of the healing that I can receive during this leg of the journey.
I had touched the hem of simply living again. Or living simply.
And what I unexpectedly discovered is this:
Living is healing.
When we do more of the things that are life-giving, we have more life to give. And that’s never been more important for me, than when my body’s been battling multiple chronic illnesses, infection, or inflammation. My post-op recovery generated some positive momentum. Some of my most recent blood tests showed improvements.
I want to keep that momentum going, while creating more space for continued healing (in every sense of the word). I can feel the need to stay gentle and generous. I can sense the present opportunity — and urgency — to heed what my mind, body, and soul most need.
So what’s next? I have some hopes. I have some ideas. I have some savings.
I’ve also already got a home-based business that I can build on my terms (you can, too). It pairs perfectly with finding a simpler way to live well. I’ve got some savings, and also paid off my apartment’s lease. (So there’s no worry about not having a roof over my head between now and September.)
But what exactly will happen, and how much will life change during these next 3 months?
That’s anyone’s guess…
…but it’s safe to say that quitting my job will turn out to either be one of my best decisions yet — or one of my biggest mistakes. And the exciting (or scary, depending on how you look at it) thing is that there’s only one way to find out:
Try. And see what happens.
Sign up below to receive the next post before it goes public. I’ll be emailing each new post to subscribers, the day before anyone else can read it here on my blog. It’s encouragement (or maybe some laughable entertainment), straight to your In Box before it’s anywhere else!