The decision to be happy


So this post is probably going to sound cheesy. For those of you who know me, I can guarantee there will be a least one eye roll or some questioning as to whether or not I’ve just totally lost it. But, last week I reached a pretty big turning point, and for the first time in a really long time, I’m choosing to be happy. 

Yup—there it is! EYE ROLL CITY—AMIRIGHT? 

Let me explain. For the better part of the past few years I’ve been constantly pushing myself to work more, make more, win more... That’s the problem with being a "Red" (for those of you who know anything about Insights personality testing). I’m competitive, I’m bossy, I don’t put up with bs, and I don’t let things get in my way. The downside of this is that I’m also extremely hard on myself, I’ll prioritize work over pretty much everything, and I’m getting gray hair.

Last year my partners and I were given the opportunity to join one of our clients as part of their core team. Was this something I ever thought of doing? Hell no. But the offer presented itself and who am I to turn away from a challenge? So for a few months we worked out the details and began to transition into this new venture.

For most people taking on a new role at a startup would mean letting go of some things—but not me! I continued to work on our design firm's projects in hopes of maintaining good relationships with clients and to finish up jobs as promised. Instead of slowing down my product line I finalized and launched my most ambitious project to date, formed a new partnership to launch another 5 products, redesigned my storefront, relaunched a product website, and reissued my bestseller. I also decided I didn’t want to lose my own sense of design style and be bored (yeah, I honestly thought that was going to happen), so I launched the site you’re currently on as a personal blog/project placeholder. I also opened a new LLC and setup a few contract clients on the side because I really loved working on their projects and didn’t want to turn down the work. 

Now that I have it all in writing, I know it was absurd to think I could sustain that kind of demand on myself. I thought that having a “real job” would prompt me to ease into a normal schedule and make me want to cut back on all of the extras, but it didn’t. Apparently having a normal job is the bane of my existence. (If there’s one thing I hate more than meetings, it’s talking about meetings.) I started to realize I was hanging on to all of these extra projects because they were the only things that were even remotely keeping me going—even in small, late-night, sleep-deprived, cranky spurts. 

So after another Sunday night of tossing and turning, another Monday of 180 degree changes in direction, and a long talk with my Mom on the 45 minute commute into work last Tuesday morning, I decided to quit my job. Do I regret taking it in the first place—heck no! Do I have a plan—heck no! But that’s ok. My husband summed it up best when he told me “It feels weird to not be worried all the time. You almost start to worry about not worrying.” 

These past 7 days have been the most renergizing days I’ve had in forever. I’m free to go back to basics and do what I do best. Just me, my trusty old iMac/laptop combo, and an excessive amount of .005 point pens. 

I sincerely could not be happier. 

"I do work that interests me, so it rarely feels like work. I get enough sleep. I eat my veggies. I play with my dog and see the sun. I have an occasional lunch with friends. Best. Life decision. Ever."

—My friend Lauren's words of reinforcement