Have you ever struggled up a steep path with a heavy backpack weighing you down, the wind battering you and a dark cloud over your head?
I haven't either. But I think I had a similar experience every day for the past several years at my former workplace.
And now I know how it must feel to reach a warm cabin, shrug that weight off my back and bask in front of a warm fire while listening to the rain outside.
When I resigned from my newspaper job, I was struck by the immediate impact the decision had on my body and mind. Years of stress had taken a toll on me that I had tried, unsuccessfully, to address. The one thing I hadn't done was quit my job.
All of a sudden, there were no deadlines imposed by other people, no demands to do extra work without extra pay, no pressure that I could be laid off.
I sleep better, smile genuinely, move less stiffly. I eat fewer carbs but I have more energy. Even those pesky frown lines between my eyes are disappearing.
And now I have a new outlook on work. I realize that I don't need to struggle to get where I need to go.
In fact, I can walk down a winding path, sharing the load, with the wind at my back and an umbrella in my hand.
Well, I got to the edge of the cliff and I jumped.
I abruptly turned in my resignation and waved goodbye to the familiar confines of the newsroom. I hadn't planned to leave my career. I adored being a journalist. I was good at it. But at that moment, on the edge of that cliff, I knew I had to jump.
So I took a deep breath and plummeted, feet first, into the unknown.
And you know what? It felt incredible.