It has been two months since being jobless and NO, I haven’t lost my cool. Now when I look back on time, I feel it was the best decision of my life. I went through a series of emotional as well as mental turbulence. It was an amalgamation of several factors that led me to finally take a call, and choose between struggling to survive (depression) and deal with it every day or to pause and take a break, reconnect with self and understand myself better.
Leaving my job was not the answer to my never-ending questions. But, it acted as a catalyst to move everything in the right direction.
It may seem normal, but for me, it was a task. I was used to being in a routine of 9-to-9. Traveling every day to work, meeting new people every day. I was going through a hard time in my personal life and I didn’t let it affect work. But slowly, as days passed, I forgot how I used to be. I was pretending to be happy and normal and in the process of doing so, I lost touch with the actual happy-go-lucky person I was. Owing to the stress I was dealing with, I couldn’t put on a sad face at the office. So I did that as long as I could. Until one day, I woke up to a feeling of not doing what I was doing. I probably wanted to just pause and take a stock of things. I just followed the normal course, boarded my cab and on my way to the office, informed my parents about my decision to quit and leave the city for some time. They were supportive but shocked at how cool I was. It was news for them. Likewise for everyone else who was close to me and had known the kind of person I was. It was very typical of me.
I didn’t have a backup plan or another source of income. Maybe some savings to survive and live alone. I knew that this decision would need to be a well thought over decision, however, to my surprise, it was a decision I took that very day. I had stretched myself so far, that I couldn’t see how I had stopped relating with my own self. In the process of pretending to be normal, I had forgotten the feeling of being hurt and overcoming it. I skipped that stage and directly told myself to get over things. What I didn’t know is that skipping that crucial stage would further damage my emotional state as it had started affecting my decision-making skills.
A month long sabbatical taught me who I was and how I just so different from what I thought I would be.
So I’d say. Take a Break. Pause, every once in a while.
From the job, the house chores, the laundry, the to-do list, the things we need to get done, the people we have to please, and the ever so endless travel back and forth from office and so on and so forth.
What I was scared of, just like any other working individual was to lose a sense of worth, since leaving a routine can mean leaving a job, leaving a certain lifestyle, leaving a city or just simply doing nothing but self-actualizing.
The things I never thought I could do—I did exactly that. I left a handsome paying job, shut down any other personal issues and just simply discontinued everything around me. I took a break. I didn’t define it, I didn’t question for how long. I just had enough faith in myself and took a plunge.
It might seem quite unnecessary when a routine is what we are used to. Sure a routine is good and is definitely required to live a disciplined life. But for a change, break the routine and the monotony of things.
That decision was hard and was difficult. It was something that was against my notions and I just wasn’t the kind of person who would be satisfied not doing ‘real work’.
I was not aware of the consequences, but it felt right and it felt like the exact thing to do. Because when I questioned myself on what exactly was I running after…I did not have a clear answer except for the salary and the lifestyle I was leading. But those were not the reasons I wouldn’t want to risk it.
Here are 9 things I did that helped me understand the importance of taking a break:
1. Doing nothing meant ‘doing stuff’ I had ignored and didn’t have time for
Yes, the word nothing had a whole new meaning. Because I didn’t do nothing except work earlier. I reconnected with my hobbies. I loved writing and expressing emotions through words. I started writing articles and began writing the novel I had once conceptualized in my head. On other days I painted and discovered that I could paint for my own room. If not selling them, they would be my personal treasure and complete the walls of my room. So doing nothing actually meant doing ‘everything’ exclusively for my own self.
2. I reconnected with family and spent quality time with them
For all the working professionals, going home is luxury, but we know that more often than not, taking a leave is a difficult task. Every leave needs a lot planning and sometimes we don’t even visit home for months.
The first thing I did after leaving the job was to go home to my family and spend quality stress-free time with them, knowing how things had changed so much. Family time definitely helps one come over anything. The reassurance parents provide is second to none.
3. I practiced meditation and eventually sat down with myself and thought about what things would make me feel satisfied and made a virtual list of those.
It is important to make a list of things you have been ignoring. Once you know what is bothering you, you can make a plan to address those concerns.
4. I went baggage free on holidays and enjoyed every BIT of it- Need I say more?
No more of ‘oh I have office to go on Monday!’
5. I made myself a good breakfast every day
Running for work every day and skipping meals had become my routine. This new step helped me develop a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and a hearty breakfast became the most important start to my day and actually keeps me happier through the day.
6. I made ‘Happiness’ the center of all things
I made sure that in each and everything I did, I could derive some happiness from it. It could be painting, dancing lessons, cooking, baking, having a coffee alone at a café, or just drinking a good beer with a match. I made sure I was content and satisfied being the way I was, and happy with what I was doing.
7. I developed confidence in myself and kept trying out new challenges
Once I finally regained stability I again searched for new job opportunities. I gave interviews at as many places I could. There were hardships but it was learning experience in its own. It taught me how to face failure and finally build enough confidence to go back and prepare harder. It does come at a price, but when you finally succeed, you can only look back to your personal journey and soak in the happiness it gets along with itself.
8. I learned to distinguish between real friends and fake friends
Yes, it’s an important thing. Real friends no matter how difficult the time is will stick along. They will make time for you and assure you of better things, and make you believe in yourself. For those friends who were only there when you had a job, and you could afford their ‘plans’ would slowly drift away.
9. I realized that it was completely okay to risk it.
If it feels right, just do it anyway.
For some people, it may vary and their happiness might actually be their work. But for the rest, who have given into corporate slavery without taking a risk. I’d suggest, take that risk, for life is too short to regret and ponder over things that have gone by. But do make time to stop and stare every now and then.
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