It had been pillow talk since last year. The amount of stress and chaos his work had become, the toxic office environment where his talent wasn’t being appreciated, numbers weren’t the entire story, and a boss who made it impossible to succeed. Romantic, right? That was real life for us and it was constant discussion behind closed doors and away from little ears.
We have always dreamed about the opportunity to run our own lives. To each run our own businesses. I have been building that dream for years and I have loved the flexibility and the freedom it allows. And for the sake of transparency, please know that it is also one of the hardest roads I could have taken for myself. It has not come without its own struggles, downfalls, and stress.
So there we stood, unhappy at the lack of time we had together as a family, exhausted from the rat race that he faced every day, and wanting so much more for ourselves. A little piece of me ached every morning as I watched him button his dress shirt and straighten his tie and walk out the door. I felt for him and he felt for me. Running a full-time business and being a full-time mom is tough. He walked in the door at 7:00 PM every night only for us to barely survive the bath and bedtime routine and then to fall asleep on the couch during the opening monologue of Jimmy Fallon.
Fast forward a few months. A random opportunity presented itself. A chance to visually direct a brand and company along with the blessing to continue what I was doing and the building of my own brand. The stars were aligning in the sweetest of ways and we were faced with one hell of a decision.
Sometimes in life, we are faced with choices. Neither choice necessarily bad, but with no definitive outcomes, the unknown can be debilitating. Debilitating enough to possibly keep you from choosing, from forging your own road. A year ago I came across the following quote:
It hit me then and it hit me even harder when I came across it while we were facing this decision. We didn’t sit down and review spreadsheets or graphs. We didn’t stare at numbers for weeks on end. This was deeper than all of that. For us it was what could we live with. What could we wake up and face each day. It was about quality of life and what we wanted to teach ourselves and the little ones watching.
I tend to have a habit of jumping. Sometimes I make it to the surface and other times in life I have sunk. Even with sinking though I can look back and say that I jumped. That’s the point. At least for me I guess. And I am so grateful to have married a man who will hold my hand and jump with me.
And jump we did. The next day I accepted the offer and Jarett walked into his office and handed over his resignation letter. Two weeks after that he woke up a free man. He woke up to his future ahead of him, a business to create and time with his family. Our children have had one magical summer and we continually remember how lucky we are to have this opportunity. Again, for the sake of transparency, it’s hard. There are long hours worked with as many hats as I am wearing these days. There are ups and downs and sometimes there is more month at the end of the money. And uncertainty? Well, it seems to be an old friend with how familiar it feels at this point, but then again, who said anything in life is certain?
What do you do when you’re no longer comfortable in your comfort zone? What do you do when you are positively miserable in your comfort zone? For us and after too long of being unhappy, we said no more. We fought back. We put up our dukes. We fought and are still fighting, but today it is against self doubt, worry and uncertainty. It’s a daily battle as we are still forging the road ahead to create a life that we can see so clear in our minds we can almost taste it. Making the jump gave us a new path and a new outlook. We live a bit simpler now and the word “budget” is a sacred word in our house, but I would take the stress we have today over the stress we had then time and time again. Making that jump was everything for us.
We took this picture of ourselves the night Jarett came home after giving his two-week notice. And the next morning I experienced my first ever panic attack. How is that for real life, eh? Yes, the realization that I was now the breadwinner of our family of six and that it was all up to me for the time being hit me harder than I thought it would, but I guess you take the bad with the good. I wanted to take this picture because I wanted to make sure that I never forget the feeling we had that day. I never want to forget the mixture of knots and butterflies. The sheer joy I saw in our faces. I wanted a reminder not only for us, but for our children that sometimes the best road in life is the harder one. Sometimes you have to choose your happiness above anything else. Even if the road ahead is unpaved. Sometimes you have to put up your dukes.