I was 27 years old.
I not only had a great job, but a great job that I genuinely loved. I had a salary and benefits and access to the best pilates instructor in the city.
I lived in a cute, cozy apartment with a wonderful friend. Life was good! I was learning things and reading books and celebrating every possible occasion with wine and cheese. I had a badass new haircut and even newer pair of jeans.
But I left everything and went to New Zealand.
So many people have messaged me since I left to say they admire me for doing this; that it’s brave and rare that people have a “dream” and actually pursue it. And I love these messages. They are so kind and so comforting and make me feel good. And I actually think they’re right. I am brave, and it is pretty cool, and I do feel pretty proud that I followed my heart.
Many also go on to say they wish they could do this too; that they also want to “live the dream”; that they are boring; that nothing is new; that their life “pales in comparison” to mine. And admittedly yeah, I like that too, because they’re saying it as a compliment and who doesn’t want to read a nice compliment? But here’s the thing I always want to respond to that:
You can do this too!
You don’t have to.
Our society makes it very hard to live your life without thinking you should be doing more. Without obsessing over being young and wild and free and living life to the absolute fullest.
A LIFE WITHOUT ADVENTURE IS NO LIFE AT ALL!
DON’T DREAM IT, DO IT!
DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING!
I’m a huge advocate for living the shit out of life and following your heart; however, I also think this obsession with making life the biggest and beautiful-est can add stress. It can make you feel like maybe you aren’t doing enough or striving for something more meaningful.
Sometimes these articles telling you to ‘live your passion’ are great and make you feel inspired about life, but other times they’re kind of annoying or deceivingly titled or feel a bit preachy – as if you’ve failed by not taking their advice.
And like, fuck man. Life is hard enough. Everyone’s already feeling unsure and insecure and helpless. So why are we so obsessed with hammering home the idea that unless you dare to dream and go grab life by the balls, you’re pretty ho-hum?
We have become trained to feel like we’re never living loudly enough.
When did we decide we were incapable of knowing how we felt and what we wanted and how to live our own damn lives? I have met a ton of people during my travels who gave up something and it was the best decision they could have made. I have met a lot of people who are trudging through with regret. And that’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what happens to me or him or her or what our situations were. All that matters is what happens to you. What your situation is. What you’re looking to get out of it all.
So I guess my point is this: I think passion can come in a lot of forms. I don’t think “following your passion” necessarily means you have to quit life and roadtrip through New Zealand for a few months. Maybe you’re super fucking passionate about the people in your life. Your work. The book you’re reading. The coffee shop that knows your order and has it waiting for you as soon as you walk in the door.
My passion took me across the world – and yeah, I think that’s pretty dope. The time was right and my head space was right and it just made sense for me. I quit the great job and the nice apartment and the happy, comfy life. And it wasn’t because I felt the need to get away from it or because I thought there was “more to life.” I did not feel unfulfilled in any way shape or form. I simply needed to try something new. I wanted to focus on writing. I missed my Grandma and I loved my life and I just needed it to be different right now.
If you’re feeling it too, then GO FOR IT. But if you aren’t feeling it, then that’s fine too. You don’t need to give up everything to find your happiness. You don’t need to dance like no one’s watching if you don’t want to. Just do whatever makes you feel good. That doesn’t make you boring. It doesn’t make your life pale in comparison to mine.
It actually makes you pretty fucking cool for knowing what makes you happy.