I was comfortable working as an office manager at a integrated wellness center, who had employed me for over fifteen years. I moved my way up after graduating from the University of Washington, starting as a receptionist. It wasn’t a glamorous job that traveled me all over the world, but it paid well and it was stable. I chose to continue with the company after graduation because I liked who I worked for and believed in natural healthcare. For many years I worked Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6:30 pm, coming home exhausted and never taking vacation. But, I figured it would all pay off eventually. As the practice grew from one provider to nine providers, the staff grew and I advanced in my position. Employees came and went and the good ones stayed. I was finally able to take time off and share the workload. Finally, after all those years of hard work, I received my own office! I had been sharing a corner of the desk of our billing person, using my own laptop for the past nine months. I picked out a few plants and ordered myself a brand new chair. I was so excited, I shared pictures on Instagram.
The excitement didn’t last for long. The dreaded news that I have had in the back of my mind for many years, was finally becoming a reality: my boss was retiring. The practice was to be put up for sale and we had to evaluate my salary to prove my value to the next owners. Excuse me?!!! I became emotional, angry and scared. What was I going to do if the next owners did not like me? What if they have their own staff? What if they feel as though I am over paid and want to cut my salary? All these thoughts and emotions raced through my brain to the point it consumed me. My tummy hurt and I couldn’t sleep at night. What was I going to do? I don’t know anything else. I put all these years, my time, into my work and now some outside broker who is listing the practice was saying I am overpaid? Who are you? You don’t know me!
And then I told myself to stop.
The truth is, we never know what is going to happen in life. Whether it is new owners, an unexpected emergency, divorce or health issues; anything can happen in life. I had no control over that. The only thing that I could control was paying off any debts I had, saving money and living below my means. If I did these things and created a little safety net for myself, then I wouldn’t have to worry about what happens. Maybe I could allow myself to really do something that I am passionate about. Maybe living a simpler lifestyle can unleash passions that have been forgotten. No matter what happens, life is constantly changing. I wish I would have listened to that little voice in the back of my mind that wanted to start living this way a long time ago, but here is now and it is a great time to begin.
Many of the greatest things in life are free. It seems that we get so busy trying to be happy, that we don’t do the things that make us happy. We work forty hours plus a week to make payments on the car that drives us there and a big house with rooms we don’t use, yet we find ourselves unhappy. We are tired, unmotivated, overweight- all wanting to change, but don’t. This is my attempt at it. These are the reasons why I am making the choice to live simply: To have the freedom to follow my passions and be creative. To me that is happiness. Hiking with my dogs, that is happiness. Cooking a new recipe while listening to music and drinking a glass of wine, that is happiness. We all have our own desires, that bring happiness to us and open up who we really are. I hope my journey can help you find yours.