I've made a lot of big changes in the last three years.
I feel like I'm finally honing in on happiness.
But you know what? While my happiness is related to my Big Life Changes, it's not just the house or the marriage or the job or the baby that are making me happy. It's more that these things granted me an "excuse" to make changes I've thought about for years.
Let's look at quitting my job.
When I left my full-time gig a year and a half ago, my reasoning was pretty straightforward. I wanted to build a freelance writing career, and planned on having a family in the near future. Hence, I craved some non-pregnant/non-baby time to establish myself. Plus, I had more financial stability now that my finances, insurance and life were officially intertwined with my husband's. This is what I presented to my then-boss, who totally understood.
Marriage, baby, financial stability and wanting to freelance played into my decision to leave...
However, it's not the full story.
I loved my colleagues, many of my daily tasks, and the ability to work in an industry I adore (food and travel). But at a certain point, I felt that I spent my days juggling a million projects, never having a moment to breathe or think or even reflect on whether or not I was doing a good job.
It was really stressful and emotionally draining.
The ramifications of a stressful job stretched waaaay beyond the office. I was constantly crabby and tired (and yet, I had a hard time falling asleep at night). I spent years complaining to my significant other about my day-to-day... so much so that during our pre-marital counseling, I learned that one of my partner's biggest frustrations in our relationship was my daily post-work word vomit session.
Clearly, things needed to change.
And even though I knew that, I waited to quit until I had an excuse I felt other people would understand. I felt I needed to blame Something Big And Important because I felt my own happiness and well-being wasn't enough.
Silly, isn't it?
My career isn't the only place I've done this.
Most recently, I've used my unborn baby as an excuse to say no to things I wouldn't have wanted to do even if I wasn't pregnant. I've leaned on this baby as my reasoning for letting go or reevaluating relationships that have been stressing me out for years.
You never, ever have to spend time with someone who doesn't respect you, or treats you poorly or just stresses you out with their constant complaining and negative attitude-- no matter how long you've known them, or how much history you have! It's been easy for me to blame my reclusiveness on pregnancy (which BTW, is legitimately exhausting)... but sometimes that's just a convenient excuse. I wish I'd felt that my own happiness was reason enough to set boundaries and makes changes that ultimately led to my own happiness.
Do yourself a favor.
Don't wait until you get married or have a baby to grow the balls to change your life.
Don't wait until someone you care about gets ill to finally leave an unfulfilling job.
Don't wait until there's a "good enough" excuse to stop volunteering for something you don't really care about (or simply don't have time for). Hell, don't wait until there's a "good enough" excuse to START volunteering!
You don't need to wait until your decision makes sense to other people. Decisions made on behalf of your own sanity and happiness is reason enough. After all, it's you that actually has to live your life every single day. So why not make it awesome?
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