The signs may have been there for weeks or even months. Signs that this job — this hustle, this path — isn’t the one for you. You wake up each morning dreading the day ahead, you seize your breaks like they’re moments of salvation, you fail to be excited by things you formerly loved, your sleep is either restless or the kind of heavy that hurts to come out of.
You tell yourself it’s not a big deal. You’re just tired, you’re just under the weather, you just need more vitamin pills. You pop the pills, the placebo effect kicks in for a few days, you tell yourself you’re fine. Until you wake up one day and the pills don’t help anymore.
Socialising — when you do it at all — becomes an ordeal. You see your friends talking excitedly about their lives. One just got a promotion, the other is going on vacation, a third has secured funding for her new venture. You smile and say how happy you are for them and take an extra-large gulp of beer to quell the choking feeling in your throat. It doesn’t help, but you keep drinking anyway.
Back home you clench the hems of your blanket and stare up at the ceiling with a mind that’s swimming in all directions and yet circling around one single point.
I can’t do this anymore.
There are a hundred reasons you should keep doing it, of course. It’s your job. It’s your business. It brings you money. It lets you do what you're best at. It brings structure to your life.
And perhaps this too was the result of a change. Perhaps this was a job you took after the first one didn’t work out, perhaps this side hustle is what you gave up college for. Perhaps you went into this with a heart full of hope that this — this is your ticket to success.
Perhaps you’ve already fought to be where you are today and you don’t want to fight anymore. You don’t want to accept that this fight was for nothing — that you’re still stuck.
And who can blame you for thinking so, when that is what the world teaches us? Who can blame you for staying where you are when the world scorns change and upholds sweating it out? When you risk a thousand fingers being pointed at you and a thousand mouths uttering the same chilly words “I told you so”?
But you see, here’s something they didn’t tell us while we were growing up.
Our goals change.
Rarely is there one single dream we chase all our lives.
Dreams shift. Acquire new hues, shed old ones. Get replaced by new dreams, which in turn get replaced by newer dreams.
What seemed amazing at 25 lets you down at 30. What you longed for right out of college is a burden ten years later.
And this is not the universe conspiring against you. This is you growing as a person and your dreams growing with you.
The hardest lesson you’ll ever learn is that the things you fight for aren’t always worth it. And even the things that are worth it won’t always be enough.
And the greatest gift you can give yourself is to accept that you yourself are worth it, even if the things you fought for aren’t.
That you owe it to yourself to move away from something that hurts you.
You’ll always know when you’ve had enough of something. First it will be quiet, a small yet persistent nudge at the back of your mind. The nudges will grow sharper with each passing day. And the more you resist them, the sharper they will become.
From someone who has resisted the nudges until they became blows — listen to them.
Listen to the feeling that tells you you’ve had enough.
Don’t resist it. Don’t tell yourself it’s weak to change. Don’t tell yourself that you should ‘stick it out’.
No one — and I mean no one — should have to stick out something that is pulling them down.
There’s always something else out there for you. A better job, a better side hustle, a better life path. And even if it isn’t evident at once, don’t be afraid. Embrace that period of uncertainty as a treasure-chest of undiscovered opportunities. Because it is.
No matter what lies ahead, you deserve to not live a life where pills and beers and death-like sleep are your only means of sustenance.
Even if that means giving up on something you once believed in and starting over again.