I resigned from my full-time position this year to enter a new chapter and embrace a life of simplicity. At the time, I had no idea what would come next. To this day, I continue to receive questions about the transition. Many ask whether they should do the same thing, and some have. Others wonder what I do now. How has it gone? What have I learned? Was it worth the risk?
To answer these questions, I can offer that I entered a one-day-at-a-time adventure. And I never could have predicted, imagined, or planned to land “here.” Where is “here” exactly? Well, I can try to describe it with the following:
1. This new chapter is full, but the burden is not heavy.
I still work in a couple of different roles. But within the fullness, there is a margin of space and time. Margin to learn, to synthesize, to create, to connect the dots in new ways, to encourage and help others, and to take naps.
Interestingly, I experience very few instances where I twiddle my thumbs, wondering what to do next. Sure, I still set an alarm clock, use a calendar, and make “to do” lists, but I don’t book all the days and slots. Space allows me to say yes to the unexpected.
2. I left for a solo adventure only to discover my tribe has grown.
I no longer spend all of my waking hours in the office going through the motions with a small band of colleagues. And yet, the paradox is that my tribe has grown. What is my tribe? Well, it doesn’t fit in a box. We don’t have all of our pictures on a website, and we are not all found in the same org chart. Nevertheless, as I enjoy independence, I also treasure community and ignited connections with others.
3. It is a life of both deep engagement and daily surrender.
The surrender started the day that I submitted my resignation notice without having a clue of what would come next. But here is the thing, I didn’t ever really plan “next” I just engaged deeply with whatever landed in front of me. By giving 110% to the assignment in front of me, I realized that what “is” today contains the preparation needed for what “is” tomorrow. The present moment forms and equips if we can reside there long enough.
4. Along those same lines, there is no plan B, but there is a heightened awareness that there will be detours on the road ahead.
I quit trying to plan life and all the possible detours. It seems that when we live in the future, we miss out on the beauty found within the grace of today. We borrow future joy at the expense of current joy. And sometimes we borrow future problems that never become actual issues!
Through this “one day at a time” rhythm, I realized that the present moment contains little gems of insights, tasks, connections, relationships. These jewels are like marshmallows on a trail leading us to the next thing. As we learn to trust the trail, we begin to see more of our path, purpose, and life work unfold.
When considering my life today, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. My heart is full. I could never have planned it. At the same time, I know that there could be detours on the road ahead, so I hold it all lightly in an ongoing posture of surrender. The best could still be yet to come.
When I left my former position, it felt like I was leaping off a giant cliff, uncertain whether the net would appear. In hindsight, I see that I did not jump off a cliff. It was more of a step off a curb. Once I stepped off, I just kept stepping, one foot at a time. The ground has been solid, yet I can’t see too far ahead.
Is the grass greener on the other side? I think it might be. Should you quit your job to enjoy the green grass here? Not necessarily. “Here” is where you are right now. Just engage deeply while you step one foot at a time. You’ll know when you hit the curb.
About the Author: Jen Macnab is an avid reader, writer, and runner who recently resigned from a full-time career in higher education to pursue balance and simplicity. Jen launched Toward Thriving, LLC to support others on the journey toward her best self.