That Day I Bought a One-way to Paris

Aug 27, 2014 by

“ . . . I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Steve Jobs

 

 

 

          I bought a one-way to Paris today. How romantic is that: sending myself off to a city I don’t yet know without a plan for what’s next? Sounds like the beginning of the next Eat, Pray, Love, right? France would beg to fucking differ. Lesson one of my big trip to Europe: France doesn’t care about my dreams. If I want in, I have to prove that I’m getting out.

          Oh, P.S. I’m going to Europe.

          Yesterday morning, on the drive to work, I knew I was about to quit my job. I don’t believe in sticking out anything that makes me unhappy for too long, and my job no longer meets my requirements for happiness. My needs have changed since I began working it. At first, after quitting corporate hell on earth two summers ago, I just wanted my next job to be mindless and to end at five o’clock. I just needed a paycheque. I just needed something I could survive long enough to get to my pillow each evening to sleep away my existence.

          Fortunately, I would get a lot more out of my next job than anticipated: I would meet my work friends. I refer to them that way only to say that I know them from work, but my work friends aren’t just my “work friends.” They’re my stay-up-all-night-to-make-sure-I-make-it-back-safe-from-a-guy’s-hotel-room friends, my stick-their-fingers-in-my-mouth-to-gauze-my-bleeding-lip friends, my wine-and-brie friends, my he-just-texted-me-so-we-need-a-911-bathroom-break friends, my bitch-out-a-guy-for-trying-to-follow-me-to-my-car friends, my I-could-go-on-and-on-about-them friends. Because of them, I quickly loved going into the office every day and I was happy with my 9-to-5 – until this past March, when I noticed a change in my perspective.

          It was a little over a year since I had begun working for my present employer. I was no longer okay going into an office five days per week to fulfill a role that I’m too intelligent for simply to get out at five o’clock. I was no longer okay spending eight hours of each of those days doing nothing of value to me. I was no longer okay wasting forty hours per week producing crap that doesn’t personally impact or motivate anyone.

          Forty.

          Hours.

          Per.

          Week.

          That’s a lot of fucking time to be wasting on something I’m not passionate about. By June, I was thinking about quitting. At the time, I wasn’t ready to leave for my dream trip to Europe and I couldn’t bear the idea of ditching my seat at one company I didn’t care for just to sit at another, so I did nothing. I stressed the entire summer, making me dislike the job more, but I did nothing. I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in, so instead of quitting in July, like I wanted to, I booked a trip to Italy. I needed time away, and not just from work. Work was not the only cause of my anxiety.

          When I got back from Italy, I was struggling to get through the workdays. Screw counting the hours; I was counting the minutes, and that was unacceptable to me. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do next; but yesterday morning, on the drive to work, I realized that my next move didn’t matter. Sometimes the best decision is to make one. I had been unhappy at work long enough to know that I wasn’t doing it anymore, so my first step was to get out. My first step was to just quit. Yesterday morning, on the drive to work, I decided to change course without direction.

          People say you shouldn’t quit a job without another one, blah, blah, blah, bullshit. I don’t do forty hours of unhappiness per week, nor do I do as people say. A lot of people say a lot of things. A lot of people are also unhappy. Don’t listen to what a lot of people say, especially when they say so without good reason. Not quitting because we’re cultured to think that quitting is bad is not good reason. I trusted that once I eliminated the ongoing anxiety that comes with working an unfulfilling job, I’d know what I want next.

          I was right.

          Friends, if you need to get your head in order, quit. Just quit. Quit whatever it is that makes you unhappy. With my resignation came crisp certainty. After months of not knowing, I’m finally sure of what I want. Before I gave my notice, my interest in my dream trip to Europe was apparently gone, and I had a list of reasons why I couldn’t go yet, even if I wanted to: money, winter, OSAP, etc. The moment I submitted my resignation letter, my interest instantly re-sparked and all my excuses to wait became invalid: I have the money. I’m going for the lifestyle, not the weather. Fuck OSAP. I quit my job with the financial means to travel Europe. Eighty-year-old me would look back on this opportune time and kick my ass if she had to recall that her younger self didn’t take her dream trip. Thus, without even boarding the flight, my adventure has already begun: as romantic as flying one-way sounds, Canadians can’t enter France without a return ticket. (Bless Transat for refunding flights within 24 hours of booking.)

          To Google: How to not accidently get deported.

Happiness Tip: Ask yourself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?

 
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