Thursday, September 19, 2013


Mt. Roberts
Juneau, AK

There have been some big changes in my life recently, and it all started with Alaska.

While I was in Alaska, I felt more alive than I had in years. I woke up every morning excited for what the day held, ready for adventure. I wanted to get out of bed, a big deal for me lately. It was beyond just the feeling of happiness associated with being on vacation and escaping the daily grind. I felt content and secure with myself. I felt like I could breathe. I wanted to bottle these feelings and carry Alaska with me always.

But I noticed that I had to keep my mind almost constantly occupied. If I had a quiet moment without Kyle, a book, or a new experience holding my attention, I would inevitably find myself stressing out about work. Even with over 3,000 miles of separation on the vacation of my dreams, I was still experiencing strong anxiety related to my job. The closer our return to Michigan, the closer the tension rose to the surface. 

I had been unhappy with my career for a very long time. In theory, it was (almost) everything I could have ever wanted in a job: local nonprofit, managing an office, serving Michigan residents with disabilities and their families. But even from my first day, my gut told me that it just wasn't a good fit. I'm still not sure why. I just know that the harder I tried to be a square peg in a round hole, the unhappier I became.

When we returned from Alaska, things started going downhill. Fast. The anxiety, depression, and panic I had felt for the past two years had escalated. My usual coping skills (hydrating, running, playing the violin) weren't even remotely helpful. I felt like it had begun to take over all areas of my life. I was extremely unhealthy, emotionally and physically. Rationally I knew that I had to resign, but I was afraid. Afraid of being a failure. Afraid of not being able to find another job. Afraid of not having enough money. Afraid of what my life would look like if I quit. Afraid of what it would look like if I didn't. 

With the unwavering support of Kyle and other very wonderful people in my life, I was able to take the leap. A month after our return from Alaska, I put in my notice. It wasn't easy. At all. But I know in my heart that it was the right decision. I feel like a weight has been lifted. I feel like an entirely different person. I feel like I can breathe again. 

Although I'm scared, I'm also incredibly excited for this new chapter in my life. I feel so alive, so free. I feel like I can do anything. I'm looking for jobs, volunteering, and contemplating going back to school. I'm running more than ever, writing nearly every day, and beginning to recharge. Navigating this journey of discovery (and recovery) is scariest thing I've ever done, but also the most exhilarating.

Standing at the top of Mt. Roberts in Juneau on a cold and rainy July afternoon, I felt alive to the point of tears. Today, typing this at my kitchen table, I feel  much the same way. It's been a long time coming, but I feel a peace in my heart and mind once again. I know the road ahead isn't an easy one, but I know that a brighter future, my proverbial Alaska, awaits at the end of it. And I couldn't be more thrilled to take the leap. 


  1. What an exciting leap! We spend so much time at work that it's crucial to find something we love. Good kuck on whatever is next!

    1. Thanks, Laura. It's definitely an exciting (and scary) time! :)

  2. Good luck!!! I recently left a job for similar reasons, and couldn't be happier now where I ended up :).I also am in the helping professions, btw.

    1. It's so refreshing to me to hear that other people have done similar things. I was afraid that I was being crazy leaving a good paying job, but I see now that it was what I needed to do to really get my life on track. Best of luck to you!