Three months ago I moved out of my parents’ home in order to accept a full-time writing position in another state. Finally, I was going to get paid to do what I loved. At work, things were looking great. I was promised a consistent paycheck, my own desk, benefits, paid vacation and sick days, and, golly gee, I was even presented with my very own stack of professional quality business cards. I was closer than ever to becoming a fully functioning and contributing member of society. I was on top of the world. For once in my life, it felt like I was doing something right.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. On a Thursday morning, I was sitting at my desk, sipping on coffee, and trying to plan my day. Ugh. More mind-numbing articles with titles like “Marketing How-To’s for Real Estate” or “The Best Social Media Practices for Accountants.” The content I was hired to write bored me to tears. I found myself feeling sorry for the people who had to read them.
As I sat at my desk, willing the words to come, it dawned on me: I couldn’t fathom spending another minute doing what I was doing. And so, on that fateful Thursday, with a day of insanely boring article writing looming ahead of me, I suddenly got up, walked into my boss’ office and put in my resignation. Surprising everyone, including myself, I braced myself for the inevitable questions: “Why did you quit?” “But I thought you loved the job?” and “What are you going to do now?”
As I completed my last two weeks on the job and began packing up to move back home, I asked myself those very same questions. I realized that I had forced myself into thinking that this job was what I needed, what I wanted. Who doesn’t want a steady career? Who wouldn’t want to leave behind years of waiting tables to find a job where I was finally respected and valued? As the doubts set in, I wondered, isn’t this—working a job that may not always be interesting or exciting—what being an adult is all about? Is this something I should simply accept and appreciate?
I quit and I have zero regrets for doing so. I’ve since decided to go back to school to get my master’s in secondary education so that I can teach high school students. And I’m nervous about it. No, no—I’m terrified. What if I’m a horrible teacher? What if I don’t connect with my students? What if I fail and waste my time, effort, and money on two more years of schooling? Maybe I will succeed and maybe I won’t. All I know is that I can say I tried. And I’m okay with that.
I will be the first to admit that I am still figuring everything out. I feel like I’m constantly riding the line between adulthood and well, whatever you might call a seemingly clueless twenty-something. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing and perhaps I never will. However, if I’ve learned anything during these crazy wonderful (and sometimes dreadful) 23 years, it’s that we are allowed to make mistakes. In fact, our failures should be applauded! If we can’t find the strength to explore, to try new things, and to just say no to those things in life that do not make us happy, we will stop growing.
Whether our unhappiness is due to a bad relationship or a dead-end job, our dissatisfaction with our weight, our financial status, or our flaws, when we stop trying, this crazy adventure that we call life ceases to be what it really is: a gift. Life is about the experience. It’s about trying new things, discovering the beauty in failure, and finding the strength within us that we were not aware of before. I will never stop searching for something more, something better.
Kelly Lynn Jackson is a recent grad from James Madison University, where she majored in English and Creative Writing. Having been thrown kicking and screaming into the real world, the slightly awkward 23-year-old has suddenly found herself unemployed, unprepared, and more than just a little lost. Armed with a sarcastic and self-deprecating sense of humor, a dwindling bank account, and (mostly) good intentions, Kelly tries her best at juggling relationships, internships and the humiliation of living at home with her parents, who still insist that she eat her veggies and go to bed at a decent time.