April 22nd last year was a Sunday. That was one of the craziest Sunday’s of my life. It was a day where there was a fork in my road. I created that fork and I knew that there was only one possible way for me to choose. I used to have a love/hate relationship with Sundays. It was a day of rest and relaxation. It was also a day of anxiety and stress thinking about the MONDAY that was about to come my way. It was a day built up with many emotions and I knew my life was about to change forever. I will give you a bit of the backstory before I tell you more about that Sunday.
Last April after months of being overly stressed at my full time office job decided I needed some time off. A week and a half to be exact. I remember it was a Wednesday in mid April when I contacted my boss and said “I really just need to take a few days off if that’s okay?” I had the vacation time banked so it wasn’t really an issue. In the past all of my vacation time had been used for “real vacations”. I love to travel and I took every single opportunity I had to jump on a go somewhere. This time was different. I needed downtime. I needed time to reflect and think. Time to figure out my life from that point on. I was a couple weeks away from my 26th Birthday and I was panicking a bit… Okay a lot! To be honest I had envisioned bigger plans for life and I was extremely frustrated with where I was at. I thought by the time I turned 26 I would have things figured out! I felt like I was a 25 year old going through a quarter life crisis (I know it sounds dramatic… but you should have seen me). I was questioning everything in my life. Everyone has a different definition of what success is and what will make them happy. I truly believe there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on the individual. I had a decent paying job at an Engineering company and I’d worked there for almost 4 years. Someone might have defined me as successful. It just wasn’t enough for me. Sometimes I felt horrible about the fact that I didn’t appreciate such a great opportunity. I worked my way up the ladder and I just didn’t care one bit. I felt like my time, abilities and passions were not being used to their full potential. I can tell you that’s really an awful feeling… Knowing you could do more with yourself but your aren’t. I had dreamed of pursuing photography full time but I was scared. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I did shoots part time and I spent most of my free time working on my photography. I put a lot of time in by that point, but I wasn’t sure if I was capable of making it a full time career. I was worried about what other people would think. I was worried that I would fail if I tried to do photography full time. I thought that by taking a week and a half off I would feel better about everything. I thought that I would be rested and able to pick myself up and go back to work at the office on Monday April 23. When Sunday the 22nd came around I knew that was not going to be an option. The entire time off I just remember staring out my apartment window watching the rainfall for hours while I was at home on “vacation”. All I could think about was how unhappy I was with my career at that point. When the time was approaching to go back to work I didn’t feel any better. I felt worse! I knew I had to make a change. Making big changes is sometimes the only way to go. That Sunday I went into the office. It was dark and quiet (it was closed). I sat at my desk one last time reflecting on the many memories I had made over the years. I then got to work. I was there for about 5 hours tying up loose ends. I felt it was only fair to leave with things finished. I made lots of post it notes, replied to emails, finished as many expenses as I could, and made notes on my whiteboard. It didn’t take me long to pack. I never brought too many personal things to work as I never wanted to show up daily and think this is where I belong- because I knew it wasn’t. Many people had photos plastered of their families and favourite things. I did not. I didn’t want to make it pretty. I didn’t want to like it because I knew that one day I was destined to leave. Before exiting the building I sent a goodbye email. You might not agree with how I did things and that’s okay. I needed to do what was right for me. I just knew that If I came back on Monday I would be smothered to death with people asking me not to leave. I knew that if I came in I would probably be convinced to stay and then I would be stuck right where I was. (I knew that would happen because I had tried it two months prior and YES I went back on the Monday.) I texted a few of my close co-worker friends that evening and gave them a heads up. I really think they thought I would be coming in the next morning to work as per usual. I placed all my important things in a desk drawer: my keys, id, corporate credit cards and walked away. With every single step I took away from that building I felt more and more empowered. I remember walking to the sky train and as I did there was a guy playing a banjo. It felt surreal-like I was in a movie or something. I had a good feeling. I knew I had done the right thing. Always trust your instincts. If a chapter of your life isn’t closing itself sometimes you just have to slam the book shut, reopen it, and force yourself to start a new chapter.
You should always follow your heart and do what you think is best for you. I will say when doing so it won’t be easy. It might be one of the hardest things you ever do. It will take a lot of self reflection. You will question your abilities. There will be MANY challenges on the way. You just have to know that with persistence it will lead you to where you need to be. You need to make things happen. You can sit around and wait for things to fall in your lap.
I’ve come a long way since last April 22nd 2012. I still have a long way to go. I still have lots to learn. I’ve accepted this challenge and I can’t wait to add some exciting new chapters.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way so far! I will be forever grateful!
I couldn’t decide what photo to post for this blog post… I chose this shot from the Whitehaven Beach in Australia. This place always makes me smile 🙂