Paving the Path to Exploration with Tough Choices

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I am struggling with the idea of going back to work in the fall.   There are so many tough choices surrounding motherhood, but this one takes the cake.

A curse of being an Intentional Explorer is often putting too much thought into a tough choice about the future.  I am currently compounding this problem because  as I have become more honest with myself about who I am and what my true interests are I find myself wanting to spend my time focusing on my family and myself discovery rather than becoming better at my job.  

I see the idea of staying home enticing in two ways.  First, I could concentrate on spending time with my family and putting them first.  Second, I could have some time to figure “me” out.  So many people are able to stay home with their babies, and I want that opportunity too.  Unfortunately, staying home is not in the cards for me and come fall I will return to teaching my 800 students.  Hopefully to help them discover themselves and the wonderful world of music.

The tough choice to keep working makes me wonder how this will affect my path towards exploration, self discovery and fulfillment.  I have not lost all hope though, thanks to Jon Acuff and his book Quitter.

I discovered Jon Acuff listening to the Dave Ramsey show during our journey to financial peace. I have always struggled to find my calling (see how do you define Happiness) and when I heard about “Quitter” AKA “Jon Acuff’s guide to quitting responsibly” I knew I had to read it.

The thing I love about his book is that it really connected with me.   The book validates my struggle of not fitting in at my job, and wanting to find personally fulfilling work without being too risky.  When I first read “Quitter” I didn’t feel like I could follow the book’s advice.  I did find It was helpful to have his guidelines to work by as I get my life on the path of my desires.  Now I can reflect and put his advice to more practical use.

Ironically, I listened to the audiobook while I was setting my classroom up a few years ago. The book isn’t super long and is definitely worth reading.  I recommend the audiobook because Jon reads he inserts tips, thoughts, and reflections that aren’t in the book.  Not only are these extras helpful, they also make the experience like you are talking with Jon rather than just reading his advice.   Here are the parts of this book that stuck with me years later as I continue on the adventure of designing a happy life.

If you quit without a plan you will be slaved to the work presented to you.

This means that if you quit without savings and a plan you will be forced into taking whatever jobs come your way instead of being able to choose the work you want to do.  This is exactly the position I find myself now. I want to have work that fits better with having a family.  However, if I quit now I won’t have the freedom to do things I want and will have to say yes to just about job to survive.

You have to make the choice to work harder first.

Working harder is a real struggle now.  I have discovered more about myself, and found my callings and interests.  Next I have to make them profitable while still working full-time.  Plus I do like my day job, so I want to keep doing well at that too. All of this requires a lot of time which is a very limited asset.

It’s ok to choose to live without things other people think are important.

In the Acuff’s case it was ok to live in a house with no furniture. In my case, it is ok to live in a small apartment, rather than a house… I get a lot of pressure from friends and family to buy a house.  For now our little one bedroom apartment fits our goals just fine.  Thinking back to the chapter in Quitter where the Acuffs had a house but no furniture helps me feel confident that my makeshift baby space and work area are temporary and part of the process in achieving our long-term goals.

If you can dream it you can do it!

I was so encouraged by Quitter that I listened to Jon’s other book “Start” to really figure out who I am and what I should do.  I feel more confident in my search for fulfillment knowing quitting my job and spend a year wandering the world to find my calling isn’t the only way to find happiness.

If you are struggling with finding yourself or considering quitting your job read “Start” and “Quitter”.   They are two great books to read to aid an intentional decision.

Are you in the process of being a “Quitter”? Have you quit responsibly or irresponsibly? How did it affect your journey?

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