©2019 THE SMILE PROJECT

If I Hadn’t Quit My Job

August 21, 2019

If I hadn’t quit my job, tomorrow would be my three-year anniversary.

 

I do not regret quitting my job.

 

On August 22nd 2016, I took a full-time position with the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association (AHA). On May 31st, 2018, I left.

 

The AHA was an incredible place to work. I feel so fortunate to have spent almost two years learning and growing from my bosses and colleagues. The day I left was really hard. Not only was I leaving that job, but I was leaving New York City for three months – the longest I’d been away since I moved to the city in January 2016.

 

One of my colleagues gave me a change purse with a bird on the front saying, “I love New York.” I cried.

 

But change often brings tears.

 

The summer of 2015, I worked at an all-dementia nursing home. It was one of the best jobs I ever had. The relationships I built with the residents and their families are something I value to this day.

 

When it was time for me to go back to college for my last semester, one of my dearest residents gave me a big hug and told me not to come back. She said she knew I was meant to do big things and that I wasn’t going to do them here. She loved having me there, but she knew I needed to go. I cried then too.

 

If I hadn’t quit my job, tomorrow would be my three-year anniversary.

 

Instead, I spent two months driving across the country for the #SmileProjectRoadTrip. I spent six weeks living in Washington state, working for the Center for Happiness and writing about my work with The Smile Project. I took more temp jobs in New York City than I can count on fingers and toes. I started walking a dog on the weekends. I was hired by an activism summer camp which I spent all summer at. I taught a three-year-old the song “Karma Chameleon.” I helped a lost dog get home in South Dakota. I did a second road trip and slept under a full moon and a sky full of stars in Truckee, California. I found myself at the wrong place at the wrong time and at the right place at the right time. I danced in the rain on a Tuesday afternoon. I met people who radically changed how I view the world. I fell in love. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. I chose Adventure.

As I creep up to August 22nd, I think about how hard that decision was – to leave a job that I loved with a company I love in a city I love. Transitions are never easy, especially when your transition is one based in so much uncertainty.

 

As I think about the past year or so of my life, I’m not sure I would change a single thing. But here’s the thing. If I had stayed at my job, I would be writing this same post.

 

The big paragraph of things I’d done might look a little different. Instead of camping in California it might look more like professional development in Phoenix and I would probably feel just as grateful for that.

 

Whether you work a 9 – 5 or some patchwork career (welcome to my past year) or something in between, whether you’re a homebody or haven’t lived in the same place for more than three months in over a year (uhh… again, maybe me), whether stability makes you comfortable or anxious (sigh), that’s okay. Find what works for you and lean into it.

 

Choose Adventure – however that looks in your life. Choose Joy – in whatever form makes the most sense to you. And most importantly, choose to live boldly and unafraid. Today is your day. What are you going to do with it?

 

Love always,

Liz

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