avatar-panda hat closeupHello, my name is Kelly Gurnett, but you can call me Cordelia. I’m a freelance writer, editor and a hard-fought escapee from the 9-to-5.

And I have officially Called It Quits.



What exactly have I called it quits on?

To living on autopilot.

To structuring my world around other people’s biases and other people’s expectations.

To resigning myself to a “more, bigger faster,” lather/rinse/repeat life.

And especially to the notion that that’s “just the way things are.”

There are better things to do with a life, and I aim to find them.



When I was little, I had this recurring dream where I woke up one morning to find myself in someone else’s life (more than likely tied to my fondness for Quantum Leap). I’d have to try to get through the day without tipping anyone off to the fact that I was actually an impostor. It was a little scary, but also a pretty cool adventure.

In late 2011, I realized I’d been waking up feeling more and more like I was doing that exact thing. Only it wasn’t really an adventure, and it definitely wasn’t cool. It was just depressing. I’d always imagined I’d be a writer of some sort, and things were going smoothly in that direction until I hit college and went crazy. When I emerged, degree in hand but not much else, I shuffled off to the 9-to-5 existence I always swore I’d never have because… well, I didn’t know what else to do, honestly.

I was miserable.

Like clinically, about-to-drive-my-car-into-a-guardrail miserable.

It scared the shit out of me.

So I did what anyone would do in this situation and decided to start a blog after watching Julie & Julia one day and figuring I had nothing to lose. Over the course of two and a half years, I slowly worked my way up the blogosphere while building my freelance side hustle until I was able to quit my job altogether. (See here for the full journey, including a recent snag in the story that has since been rectified.)

It wasn’t easy, but for the first time in a long time, I felt like my life was “mine” again — and it was something I actually (gasp!) liked.

But I didn’t want to stop there.

Because quitting my job was a goal I knew I wouldn’t reach right away, and because once the self-improvement/lifestyle-design bug bit me, I was hooked. So I set myself on a mission to learn to live deliberately. To make intentional choices, to live an intentional life, and to try to make each day just a little bit closer to the life I’d like to live.

That’s where my Quits come in.



This blog documents my attempts to rid my life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. My Quits are my official calling of “shenanigans!” on anything that doesn’t make the cut for an awesome life.

Over the years, I’ve quit everything from fighting my hair to listening to my inner critic (and, of course, the day job).

Sometimes the Quits stick.

Sometimes I mess up and backslide.

Sometimes a Quit that was once relevant no longer is.

Such is the evolution of life. The important thing is that I continue to regularly examine what’s in my life and refuse to accept anything that’s less-than.

Being a Quitter isn’t about negativity or sacrifice or being a perfect human; it’s about being true to yourself, refusing to be limited by things that don’t matter, and living each day as intentionally as you can in the hopes of making it a little bit awesomer than the day before.

You can check out the full list of everything I and my readers have quit here.



Who am I? I’m just a conformity-hating, challenge-loving, Fight-the-Power girl who’s on a journey to live every day a little better than the last.

I’m 30-(mumble)-something, I live in the Buffalo, NY area (insert snow jokes here) and my days consist of tending to my awesome writing and editing clients, being around dogs whenever possible, and building this here blog from the glorious comforts of my own home. My combination English/Religious Studies major prepared me either for this or for a life spent as a glorified administrative assistant.

I did the assistant thing already; it wasn’t for me. Escaping took some doing, but if I can do it, anyone can. I reallky, truly believe that.

I enjoy good coffee, good bourbon (it makes me feel like classy gentleman) and good, quality snark — preferably all at the same time.


If you want to be a Quitter, too (all the cool kids are doing it!), click here to download the free ebook that will help you do just that.

Interested in working together? I’m here for you.


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  • Pretty Ponies

    We hear ya.

  • Get after it girl!!

  • I felt exactly the same way, and on new year’s day 2011, I called it quits. I have now left my job and my flat and I am now experimenting with a life as a modern day nomad. If you are curious what such a life might be like, I’d be happy for you to check out my blog at http://www.themodernnomad.com.

    • Props to you for making your dream a reality!   It’s so inspiring for me to read about people who’ve called it quits and are now living life on their own terms.  Your story is awesome and I can tell you’ve got some great things in store for you!  I’m so glad we’ve connected!

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  • Good for you! I’m horribly content – smug, almost – and I have been wondering, lately, why I am so happy when other people seem to be so stressed about everything. I realized (I think) it’s because I say no; no to owning a car, no to a house I can’t afford, no to expensive vacations, no to pop culture and gossip magazines, no to frenemies and drama. It wasn’t a single conscious decision, but built up over the years, and I think it started in high school when my geeky friends and I exhorted each other to non-conform (together, ironically, but even non-conformists need a tribe). I think I never got over that impulse to second-guess the status quo.

    Oh, and I named my second daughter Cordelia. 🙂

    • Three cheers for you!  You sound like my type of cohort!  (Any chance you might be interested in writing a Reader Quit?)  🙂

      And too cool about your daughter!  Did you happen to name her after either of *my* Cordelias?  (Anne of Green Gables or King Lear?)

      • Can I reply to something a year later? (Turns out Disqus doesn’t email me when I get a reply. No wonder I thought the Internet was ignoring me!)

        Cordelia is probably 90% named after Anne of Green Gables, 10% named after the Cordelia in Buffy, and I 100% tell people she’s named after the King Lear Cordelia. 🙂 I needed a really really pretty name because her big sister has a really really pretty name, and everyone knows Cordelia is the prettiest name.

        • Oh, yeah, Amy! “The Cordelia in Buffy”!

          ~ She is a great name-model, too. I got to know her on “Angel”…

        • I did not realize there was a Cordelia in Buffy! Please tell me she was a kickass heroine. 😛

          • I can’t say anything about the character in “Buffy” (I never watched that show) but the late-C and I watched “Angel” religiously there for a while, and she (same character) was definitely a kickass heroine on that show!!

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  • i recently quit but have no idea where to go from here. le sigh. if only i could get paid to blog? haha. BIG DREAMS.

    • You can get paid to write–have you ever considered freelancing?

      p.s.  Stay tuned for my upcoming ebook, “Your Guide to Calling It Quits.”  🙂

      • waitin on that guide. think it’d come in handy for someone like me. and i’d LOVE to freelance but i don’t know where to start looking?

        • The guide is more on”calling it quits” in general–ways to come up with your own Quits List and follow through on your quits.  If you want some places to get started with freelancing, check out my Resources page or shoot me a message at kelly@cordeliacallsitquits.com.  I’d be happy to share with you what I’ve done so far to find work.  🙂

  • I’m glad you’re enjoying it!  Feel free to say hi, leave more comments, and generally make yourself at home!

  • Hi Cordelia! 
    Saw your comment on Niall’s site. I’m all about “living deliberately” — that’s how I tried a diet and lost 25 lbs in a month (the paleo diet) and finally got out of debt last month after 2 and a 1/2 years of working at it. Just put in my notice to “quit” my job last week (go on-call) so I can write full time. I’m gonna RSS feed you into my Google Reader now! Good luck quitting your 9-5!

    • Thanks for checking me out, Mitchell!  Sounds like you’ve made some awesome progress in changing your own life.  Getting out of debt and quitting my 9-5 are my 2 biggest goals, and I can only imagine how amazing it will feel when I check off those To Dos.  Looking forward to getting to know you better!

  • Waybetterthanworking

    a most excellent hat, if I do say so myself.

    •  Why thank you!  A most excellent moniker for yourself!

  • Leanne

    Kelly, I am a bad cousin, i am just reading about your website now, but i think it’s pure genius!!!! You got a gift, and i love how you chose the name Cordelia partially from Anne of Green Gables, one of my all time favorite book series. Maybe you can teach me a thing or two about writing, Love ya!!!!

    •  Aw, you’re not a bad cousin at all.  I’m glad you stopped by, and I’m glad you like it so much!  Can’t wait to see you at the shower!  🙂

  • I found you and shared your url with a like minded sisterfriend. I admire your courage to strike out on your own. I’m on a simliar journey and appreciate knowing I’m not alone.

    •  Thanks so much for the share, Melissa!  I’m glad you’re reading.  I understand how important it can be to know that other people are going through the same quest that I am.  It has kept me going many a time.

      I look forward to getting to know you better!  Explore, take a look around, and feel free to jump into the comments in the future!  Glad to have you on board.  🙂

  • Omar

    I’m on the same path as you! I’m 27, have a wife, a house (no dogs) and I HATE 9-5, its so stupid… oh, and getting up early, grocery shopping … ugh

    Anyway, I don’t have a debt to pay, only the mortgage. I still don’t know what I will do when I quit, but I’m trying a few things. As soon as I can earn enough cash to pay the mortgage and the basic expenses, I will quit =)

    I “liked” your page on facebook, but I can’t share there because I have my boss as a friend (he is actually my friend, but I cant tell him I don’t want to work here forever… yet).

    I’ll be sure to come back and read your previous posts =)

    • Pleased to meet you, Omar! Thanks for stopping by, and please make yourself at home here. Browse around, comment, join the conversations. We quitters need to stick together. 🙂

      Good for you for going into adulthood debt-free. That is a HUGE advantage and I can’t wait until I get to that point and have more freedom as a result of it.

      I understand about FB. That’s why I deliberately don’t have any of my coworkers friended. 😀

  • Magpiebaby

    Cordelia! Officially in love with your website……I am about to turn 52 – have done all the house, kids, divorce thing – and have always felt that our society has begun to value us more for what we own than who we are. I too was the office imposter doing an amazing job, rising up the ranks, yet still feeling I didn’t belong!!! No matter what job I do – it’s not me – for the true me is a writer, a wordsmith, a passionate reader for whom words are the only TV my brain really craves. The musical notes to which my dreams and thoughts dance. THAT is how I wish to earn my keep on this planet and not get sucked into the conformity that others so eagerly embrace. Thanks for being out there. I am an eager new subscriber on my own path to making a living the non-9 to 5 way! Ciao, Ciao.

    • Go you! I’m so glad you’ve come to realize what really makes you happy and that you’ve decided to pursue it! It is such a liberating feeling, and you are by no means alone in this journey. One this this blog has shown me is how many people out there share the exact same frustrations (and dreams) that you and I do.

      I look forward to having you along for the ride! Keep me posted on how your own progress is doing! 🙂

  • Jennee Rasavong

    My my my! I knew there were others out there who felt the same way I did but I never imagined anyone feeling the EXACT same way! I am now a loyal reader of your blog, it’s inspirational and realistic at the same time…just what I need right now.

    Reality TV usually does the trick (it makes me appreciate my life much more) but your blog is something I won’t be ashamed to let people know about! (I’m not really ashamed about letting people know I watch the Kardashians but at least I won’t get any disapproving looks!)

    Just loving the blog!

    • Oh, there are MANY of us! I had the exact same realization when I first discovered the blogosphere! I am very glad to meet you and to have you on board. 🙂

      (And, I have to admit that certain reality TV shows are guilty pleasures of mine, largely for the same reason. Nothing wrong what that whatsoever!)

  • AndrewDButts

    11 months. I’ve got 11 months of indentured servitude left. I recently made a resolution to cut the “Kipple” (Phillip K Dick) from my own life so I can spend more time doing the things I love.

    The way you mentioned doing the same thing over and over, reminded me of “Everything Will Be Okay” by Don Hertzfeldt. I’d recommend youtubing it.

    • Adding that to my “to check out” list now. Congrats on your less than a year! That’s awesome progress.

  • Stumbled across your blog and love, love, love. Good for you for calling it quits to living on autopilot. I agree with everything you believe in / trying to do. I’m also following you on Twitter. I’ll be reading regularly!

    • Awesome, I’m glad to have you on board! Make yourself at home in the comments–we’re a friendly bunch here. 🙂

  • AnthonyDejolde

    Way to go girl! I’m just starting to see some bright looking prospects in my writing career and I tell you, there’s tons more OUT there! Ohh, by the way, you might wanna check my guest post at Be a freelance Blogger http://beafreelanceblogger.com/freelance-blogging-k-pop/ @sophielizard runs it. Please let me know how you’re fairing in the blogosphere.:) Thanks.

    • I’m just beginning to see the possibilities that can open up when you give yourself the full time to pursue them. Here’s to incredible success for the both of us!

      • AnthonyDejolde

        Thanks for the positive reply Cordelia. Really appreciate it. I’ll be open about it–when I checked your profile, I was overwhelmed with your credentials! Sooo impressive. I’ll surely pick-up tips from you.

  • Gretchen H.

    How have I missed this bog until now?! Soo glad I found this! I have a lot I want to do, I’m just working on paying the debt down/off. Loving the articles. Thanks for having us all along for the ride!

    • Gretchen H.

      *blog….although it does suck you in like a bog.

    • I’m so glad you found it, too! Keep me posted on how your own Quits are doing, and welcome aboard! 🙂

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  • Miss 24

    I love this blog! I also love the line where you said you are an escapee from the 9-5 because so am I! I pursued a course that was normal and after having worked in an office job for three years, I felt frustrated, annoyed, boxed in and creatively stifled. Having had enough of living my life by time and to boring standards, I decided that I wanted to be happy again and so I called it quits. I passed my driving two months after quitting and now I am pursuing my real dream, that of Graphic Design and more importantly enjoying my life instead of complaining about it and staying stuck. It’s nice to know that there are others who think outside the box and are brave enough to do something different, regardless of what society and people tell/ think we should do. Awesome! 🙂

    • Good for you! I love how you say your dream is “Graphic Design and more importantly enjoying my life instead of complaining about it and staying stuck.” That is SO important. Sometimes when we quit the 9-5, we can get all caught up in how to make our biz work, how to bring in the dough, etc. But never forget that the whole point of quitting in the first place was: first, to do work you love, and second, to live a LIFE you love. Never lose sight of that. Money only does so much. You have all the time and freedom in the world now to pursue LIFE itself in all its fantastic, windy paths of adventure.

      How freakin’ cool is that? 😀

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  • Dear Cordelia,

    You are my new hero.


    Some Random Person From The Internet

    • And you are my new favorite reader.

      ~Some random girl who happens to have a blog, and hasn’t done anything you can’t do, too. 🙂

  • Holly Makowski

    What a truly refreshing blog. You are so funny and I love your blatant style. You have a new fan!

    • And I love being told I have a “blatant style.” Awesome. Glad to have you on board!

  • Asha T’nae

    This blog is awesome and JUST what I needed to discover, as I, too, refuse to fulfill whatever it is a 28-year old, college-educated woman is supposed to…I can’t wait to dig in and share! 🙂

    • Woot! So glad you’ve found me! Make yourself at home here. 🙂

  • Ashley Ponder Richards

    Someone recommended your blog and I’m glad they did. I can’t wait to examine your blog more. I want to be a quitter too!

    • I’m glad they did, too — welcome! Make yourself at home and don’t hesitate to jump into the fray. I hereby declare you a Quitter! 🙂

    • I’m glad they did, too. Welcome!

  • 30-something. Love it. Me too. For a wee bit longer anyway. You are gorgeous and lovely and I LOVE working with you, Cordelia!

    • Right back at you! So glad we met up!

  • Meg Evans

    Hi Cordelia, great blog! I’m working to call quits on drama and negativity by visiting a positive blog every day of 2014; came to yours today, and will definitely return to read through the archives more.

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  • Samantha

    I came across your blog today. And well, it was right up my street! Well, not literally-but you know what I mean. Looking forward to reading the rest of your stuff.