the bum life

i recently came across these articles regarding the blog writer’s decision to quit her job, and her experience has helped to validate my own.

Two months without a job taught me what I really want from my career

during the first few weeks of unemployment, i was ambitious with how i wanted to structure my time. i thought i had to rigidly discipline myself in crafting new skills and gaining knowledge in areas that i thought i was supposed to pursue, and not necessarily ones in which i found personal meaning. i thought i had to enrich my life and surround myself with people who could push me towards new frontiers, challenge my comfort zone, and encourage different activities.

but what i’ve found is…it’s okay to do only the things i love and with which i feel comfortable. it’s okay to stay within my comfort zone instead of constantly taking spontaneous risks that i don’t intrinsically want to pursue. my happiness, i discovered, centers on stability and staying grounded in the people and activities that naturally lie within my comfort zone. and it’s okay for me to be happy that way, without radically pushing against the limits of familiarity towards new experiences. i learned that it’s okay to be a comfort-seeker, homebody, and a low-energy introvert. it’s okay to spend long stretches of time by myself doing things i enjoy such as reading at cafes and bookstores, exploring random neighborhoods, and going on long hikes alone. it’s more than okay to passionately devote myself to new cooking experiments, listening to music for hours, and painting in a uniquely impressionistic fashion because such activities are not extraneous hobbies, but rather important units of time invested in creative self-expression. these are the things that make me happy, and i shouldn’t have to seek what external conventions deem are required for a twenty-something when i am already conscious of my intrinsic sources of happiness.

i’ve also learned that patience is an essential virtue, particularly during one’s twenties. patience is integral in the development of a relationship, in the timing of particular circumstances as they unfold, and in the slow but inevitable growth of character and understanding of self. patience is also intricately connected with faith, and i’ve begun to see the importance of having faith in and trusting in myself and in others over time. people, relationships, skills, values, and hobbies — all these must be nurtured, not coddled; respected, not threateningly undermined; and gradually cultivated, not aggressively transformed overnight. while some feelings and interests may fleetingly come and go, those passions that are meant to stay, will stay. fortune does not occur out of sheer luck or coincidence; instead it is built upon a foundation of patience, hard work, and trust.

in the the past few weeks, i’ve clearly spent a great deal of time with myself while engaging in an internal monologue that has been both ridiculous and quintessential (such as — how can i achieve a meaningful life? can’t i have another decade between my twenties and thirties to get better at this adulting thing? am i even allowed to postmates anymore while i’m unemployed?). at times, i’ve desperately wanted to get back to work, questioned moving to new york, also questioned going into law, questioned a whole series of life decisions, and generally, cried and had a few too many meltdowns.

being funemployed is hard. it seems like a blast, but suddenly launching yourself into a stage in your life in which you have the complete ability to manage your own time (aside from financial circumstances that may externally affect that capacity) can be overwhelming. self-discovery is a tedious process and making the conscious decision to quit your job in order to actively control that process is as admirable as it is daunting. leaving a job towards uncertainty, especially, can be the equivalent of starting a new career that I’ll sappily entitle “Finding Myself”– in which you are the employer, the employee, the client, and multiple other roles, while overseeing an investment portfolio consisting of assets allocated to achieve the best possible you.

taking the time to evaluate self-growth is necessary and important, but i think the mental and emotional hardships associated with this process are often underplayed. it is no easy task, and certainly it is a continuous process that, ideally, evolves constantly. to all those who have, are, or even may be contemplating taking a break to pursue this process, i commend you and support your endeavors with much respect.


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