Money is essential for survival. I get that. I mean, try to put clothes on your body or dinner on the table without it.
That being said, there is no reason for us to place such a high importance on money. There are ways to get what we need without spending a fortune. Money might be essential, but excessive money is not.
The Mess I Got Myself Into
I was working 80+ hours a week. I routinely ate two of my three meals in the car. The other was consumed at my desk.
I kept a notepad by my bed. Because sleep would often elude me, I would jot down the next day’s to-do list while tossing and turning.
I felt naked without my cell phone. All my employees and customers knew I was always only an email or text message away—no matter the hour.
I no longer owned a single pair of jeans or flats. There was no need. My life revolved around the office.
This frantic, sleepless, stress-filled—yet highly lucrative—lifestyle dominated my life for five long years.
My Day of Epiphany
My brother called. He was a month into his freshman year of college and hated everything about it. He was homesick. He hated his classes. His roommate sucked.
Would I please come to visit him tomorrow night? There was a home football game. He wanted to go, but had no one to go with him.
“Sorry, bud,” I heard myself saying. “I can’t. I have a big project I need to finish. I’ll be working super late.”
As I was inhaling my Big Mac on the way home that night, I replayed the conversation in my head. Did I really tell my baby brother no? Did I really brush off the fact that he was hating my beloved alma mater? Did I really turn down a chance to go tailgating, raise a ruckus, and support my all-time favorite college football team?
Yes, I did.
How did I let this happen? Where did I go wrong? How did I let my job take over my life?
It was simple: I had become infatuated with the money I was earning. I loved the luxurious lifestyle I had created.
But did I really?
Did I love pedicures, fine dining, and tropical vacations more than my family? (I won’t say “friends,” because I didn’t have any left at that point.)
On the surface, it appeared so. But deep down, I knew things needed to change.
I did. I quit my job. I knew I lacked self-control. There was no way I could simply scale back. I needed to walk away. So I did.
But now what?
I needed money. While I had already decided a major lifestyle change was in order, I couldn’t simply ignore the fact that my basic needs require some sort of income. Even Goodwill expects you to pay for the things you buy.
I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I could “grow” and “advance” and “excel”—at least not right then. Eventually, I would maybe, possibly consider returning to my corporate roots. But for now, I needed something that provided zero professional advancement.
I decided my best bet was to experiment. See where my interests lie. Find the balance between earning enough to survive and still having a life outside of work.
A Jack of No Trades
Since quitting my full-time job, I have tried my hand at just about everything. I have yet to find something that will keep me entertained for a long period of time. However, I have certainly enjoyed the journey so far! While trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I have learned what I don’t want to do (which is just as valuable).
I don’t have a future…
- Painting cornhole boards. My cousin has mad woodworking skills. He had started a business building and selling cornhole boards. Would I like to custom-paint the boards for him? Sure! It took me 18 hours to paint my first set. He fired me.
- Being a substitute preschool teacher. I have a pair of pants with two perfect, tiny red handprints on the bum to prove it. (Washable paint—yeah right.) That gig lasted pretty long (six months).
- Eventually, I realized the cost of my Tylenol demand nearly outweighed my income.
- Working as a waitress. That was another experiment that didn’t last too long. Those trays are heavier than they look, and quite unstable. I had five giant glasses of ice water on a single tray. As I reached around a lady to place the first beverage on the table, the other four came crashing down…on her head. You can guess the outcome.
That is just a sampling of the crazy things I’ve done. I could go on and on. However, what I’ve learned can be summarized in just a few short paragraphs.
Does Money Control Your Life?
Are you feeling the same way I did? Have you let money—and your pursuit of glory and riches—impact your life in a negative way?
Let me tell you a few things I’ve learned:
- Follow your heart. If you truly love your job, that’s great. If not, get out now. There is no reason to tie yourself to an occupation that doesn’t bring you joy. Do something that is more than just a job.
- You can survive on a lot less money than you think you can. Take a good look at your budget. Where are you spending your money? No matter how much you earn and how many bills you have, you can always get by with less.
- Material possessions aren’t that great. Seriously, they aren’t. Do those extremely uncomfortable high heels really make you happy?
- Family and friends should always be a top priority. Period. Yes, you need money to provide for your family. But the way you go about earning that money shouldn’t cause you to miss Suzie’s dance recital.
Do you have any insight into this situation? Does money have a tight hold on your life? Are you looking for ways to let go? Let’s chat it up in the comment section!
Jessica Velasco has finally settled into a money-making venture with this company. Ironically, cornhole boards are back in her life again (those who can’t do, teach…right?). She is helping the company with their efforts to market cornhole supplies. This gig might stick; the job description perfectly coincides with what Jessica does best—sharing her witty commentary on life with other people around the Internet.
Interested in submitting a Reader Quit of your own? Check out how here.
Never miss a post! Sign up here and get a free copy of Your Guide to Calling It Quits.