A Rewarding Life
* This post is more personal and introspective than most on this blog. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
Ten years ago, I was $60,000 in credit card debt, fired from my job, and felt completely apathetic about life. The future seemed hopeless.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve visited 56 countries to date, and am loving life. How the heck did that happen?
A rewarding life isn’t just handed to you. A rewarding life is one that you choose, and it’s unique to each of us. While putting all energy and efforts toward career is like a death sentence for me, there are some who truly love the world of work. It feeds and fulfils them, as much as it’s soul crushing to me.
Of course, I wasn’t born knowing this, and like many others, I followed the usual path of university, first job, next job and so on. I did a lot of different things. I worked in television as a news editor, I worked for an educational publishing company, I wrote, I headhunted, I worked for the Government of Ontario, and I even had my own production company for a time. There were moments of success, and moments of achievement, but there was never much unmitigated joy.
I couldn’t help but feel that I was walking on a never-ending wheel to nowhere. I just couldn’t shake the belief that it was all pointless. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, what difference did it make if my report was handed in on time, or if I triumphed over another in the game of office politics. I guess you could call it an existential crisis of sorts. One that I’d been in for as long as I could remember.
Despite these inner urgings, it still took me a long time to give myself permission to create something new. When most of society and mainstream media feed you the constant message that only 1 kind of lifestyle is acceptable – marriage, family, career, 2 week vacation, mortgage, STUFF – it’s kinda scary to choose otherwise.
I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. In fact, my family immigrated to Canada with just $600 – that my parents worked as hard as they did and sacrificed as much as they did, to give us the opportunities we have now is indisputable and something I’ll be eternally grateful for.
Finally, after years of soul-sucking disappointments, failures and stresses, I realized that my parents had worked that hard to provide a foundation for me to choose. And I was wasting it in a terrible way.
And so I chose. I quit working. Despite the fear. Despite the debt. Despite society’s messages to tow the line. I found another way. I found a way to be free.
For me, a rewarding life meant the freedom to work if I chose to, not because I had to. The space to think, write, do yoga, and drink coffee. TO BREATHE. To cuddle with my love. To spend the bulk of our days WITH each other, and not just in brief moments, between a never-ending set of obligations. It meant the ability and time to travel, and the opportunity to experience as much of the world as possible.
It seems almost trite to write about it in a few sentences like that, when in reality, I had to transform almost everything about myself, external and internal. It wasn’t easy, and a lot of the time, it was downright scary.
I’d do it all again in a heartbeat though, because today, I have a life that’s as rich and rewarding as I dreamed it could be.
*If you’re curious, you can check out my old blog, which details more of the process I went through then, to get here, now.
You only have 1 life. What’s your idea of a rewarding life? Are you doing what you love?