Do What Feels Right, Repeat.


I recently turned 30 and also recently became unemployed. It took me three weeks to tell my mom and almost two months to tell my dad that I decided to leave my stable, full-time job to enter into the unpredictable world of freelancing. When I finally told my dad he told me first, not to keep anything from him ever again, and second, that he was so proud of me for leaving something that made me unhappy to pursue something I’m passionate about. He said “This is the prime of your life and you should be exploring what you really want to do” – he told me I should be taking risks and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Our conversation almost had me in tears; I had kept this from him for two months for fear of him being ashamed of me. Then he tells me what I’ve been trying to tell myself on a daily basis for years – it was only when he said it to me that it really, truly hit home.

If I’m being totally honest the past couple of months have been pretty tough. I’ve been struggling with where I “should” be in my life, what’s expected of me, where I “need” to be and what I actually want. Turning 30 is a trip (or at least it has been for me) and even more so when you decide to completely change your career path. Not only has my metabolism completely dropped off the face of the earth (holler if you hear me!) but I’m starting to feel this anxiety about my choices and my life trajectory – like what I’m doing is never enough, like I’m not where I was “supposed to be” by the time I hit 30.

This got me to thinking about not only societal pressures and norms, but also the expectations we set for ourselves and the subtle undertones of evolutionary biology in our everyday decisions. Our society (specifically in the states) thrives and is shaped off of the typical grow up, go to school, get a job, get married, have children, etc. Oh, and don’t forget to do all of this before you turn 30! A lot of this stems from our most instinctual adaptations with regards to procreation and survival – if you think about it, these acts (go to school, get married, have kids, etc.) are a modern, cultural representation of our most primal instincts to adapt to our environment, pro-create and thrive. Let’s be real though, that all seems like a pretty lame life trajectory – and lately, it seems a lot of people are choosing to do otherwise.

Whether it’s putting off (or opting out of) getting married or having kids, not going to college, freelancing, starting your own business or the rise of co-working spaces – it’s obvious we’ve had enough of this white picket fence, 9-to-5, climb the corporate ladder bull-sh*t. We are finally (finally) beginning to realize that whoever decided it was healthy to have a bunch of humans staring at computer screens in individual cubicles for 8 hours a day, was sorely mistaken. If you’re reading this from your cubicle (in your outdated office where no one talks to each other and you hate your life), I’m sorry. Also, f**king do something about it.

We’re not only starting to be more self-aware, we’re starting to be more aware of what everyone else in the world is doing. The way technology and social media have shifted things for us as a species is unprecedented – not to mention the fact that it happened in such a short period of time. News travels so fast and comparison is so easily accessible. We talk about ‘going against the grain’ but honestly these days I’m not even sure which way the grain is going – things are shifting so fast. That’s the beauty of it though, right? We’re living in interesting times; the pressure to be better, do better – it’s always there. It can sometimes be overwhelming but you bet your butt that, if you let it, it almost always results in good things.

Moral of the story, there is never a “right” way to do things and there’s always going to be someone doing it better. It is always the right time to pursue something that makes you happy or walk away from something that makes you miserable – time isn’t waiting for anyone and things aren’t just going to happen, you need to make them happen. Quit comparing yourself to others and thinking about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Talk about your goals and aspirations with other people because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 4 months it’s that people will support you – they want to help and they want you to succeed (whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish). Start getting into the practice of listening to your gut.

Keep doing your best – do what feels right, repeat.


Katie Weed is an anthropologist and philosopher at heart. A freelance writer, brand manager, and social media strategist by day. She’s usually one of three places: outside (most likely with her 9-month-old puppy, Finn), taking photos of said puppy, or at the gym. She resides in South Minneapolis with her boyfriend, Alex.

 

 

  • Thank you! Yesterday I quit my corporate career of 9 years. I’ll be doing more (similar) business work but from home, with my dog, in my own comfortable clothes. I get to pick my own hours and manage my own life. It feels crazy surreal as I pack up the gray cubicle i’ve been in for nearly the last decade. And I’ve never felt more free.

  • Well said! I was in a similar position as you when I was younger. I made that decision to leave my 9 to 5 for a HUGE pay cut but it meant working from home and working in a field I was more interested in. Plus more freelancing. It hasn’t been easy but I’m soooo much happier now than I was 10 years ago. Just take it one day at a time and be open to the different opportunities that come your way!

    • Love hearing that. I’m definitely staying open to opportunities – practicing saying ‘yes’ to just about everything 🙂

  • I love this! I’ve had so many brave friends in the past couple years move out of their more corporate/”normal” jobs to open their own businesses, work for small start ups, and pursue freelance gigs. I’m so proud of them for going after what makes them happy. I also think that it’s ok to say that what feels right can also be staying at that corporate job. I work for a great, creative, large company and I love what I do and who I do it with. It’s not perfect everyday, but no job is. After all, going after the job you love, even if its the one you have, is what it’s all about.

  • It’s worth recognizing that it is an incredible privilege to choose what you want to do and to have the freedom to pursue it; not everyone can. If you are so lucky, please try to find ways to support those who don’t have the luxury of chasing their dreams, but who maybe are working those hard and boring jobs to try and make sure their kids can.

    • Hey Stephanie! I totally agree! It is a privilege and I am so, so happy and grateful that I have this opportunity in my life. That’s exactly what my dad said too, he didn’t have the luxury at my age (because he had me and my two sisters already) and that’s why he is so encouraging of my endeavors. Thank you for your comment!

  • Wow! this is amazing. You basically wrote my life in the past few months, i’ll be 30 next month and I can’t believe society puts that kind of pressure on us. Keep being you!

    • Hey girl! Glad to hear there are more people out there going through a similar thing. At the end of the day all that matters is that you are happy and proud of yourself for whatever you have accomplished. Keep it up and happy early birthday!

  • Great message. I relate 100%. I realize every post can’t ring true to every one, but for those of us without dependents and with the drive for more, I’m a big fan. Good luck!

    • Oh I 100% agree! That’s part of why I’m in this head space – turning 30 has me thinking of starting a family and it seems impossible considering where I’m at right now in my career. But I also don’t think that having kids should mean you have to stop pursuing what makes you happy!

  • I liked how wrote: start getting into the practice of listening to your gut. I recently did this when I left my stable, yet unfulfilling job shortly after turning thirty. The uncertainty of everything was scary, but a new beginning was so vital. Thank you for writing this! Oh, and yay for being in the thirties club!

    • Hey thank you! Yes – listening to your gut does take practice, a lot of it. Keep it up! Your intuition knows best. Thank you for reading!

  • Wow, I can’t even begin to express how much this resonates with me.

    I’m 32 and in the middle of career/life thinkover.
    Have been feeling and pondering these exact questions, constantly feeling that my life is not the one I pictures myself having: living in cool
    Big city, working at cool company etc.
    What I realise is my definition of “cool
    ” has changed and so have my values.
    Currently about to quit a job with a very toxic environment without anything lined up and really trying to figure what to do: am a journalist, as well as a brand strategist and thought I wanted to work in brand strategy for an agency but it just feels
    So wrong. At the same time being 32 I feel that it’s too late to start something new and it really doesn’t help that everyone around seems
    To be settling down and having their lives figured out.

    Thank you sooo much for sharing your experience
    Making us feel less alone and congrats on following your gut! I hope I can do the same. If you have any advice on how to learn to do that,
    Please do share (or write).
    Good luck!

    Greetings from Copenhagen,

    Jenny

    • Hey Jenny! I totally relate (obviously) – I actually have a background in brand strategy as well! 32 is definitely not too late. The time will pass regardless, it’s just a matter of what you choose to do with it. You got this! Hoping to write a little something about following your gut soon 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • Thank you! How interesting that you also have similar background.
        Can’t wait to read the article on following our instincts. Keep it on 🙂

  • I turned 30 last year and I definitely relate to the struggles of not meeting society’s milestone expectations – so many of the people I follow (bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc) push this idea of freelancing and being a creative brand so hard that they might not realize they’re invalidating those of us who do enjoy our 9-to-5’s – for whichever reasons.
    ~
    For me, this is the first time in my life I can say I’ve had a stable job/career. I had a lot of struggles early in life and I feel like I’m really behind in so many ways, so I cherish my desk and my work computer and my stable schedule more than a lot of people can understand.

    • Hey Michaela! That’s great to hear! It’s all about pursuing whatever you are passionate about, doing what makes you happy and recognizing what doesn’t. Keep it up!

  • Being 32 and in a corporate job which I neither hate nor love, but which is not within my ‘passion’ field I relate to this, while also feeling slightly annoyed… it’s a common trope today to “pursue your dreams” and that if you do so, and your mindset is “right”, thing will automatically fall into place. Unfortunately this is far from true for everyone, factors such as skills, economy, parent/partner support etc all play into whether this is a viable risk to take. We always hear the success stories; rarely the failures, and with the success stories it is just as rare to hear someone being upfront about moving back home, having their partner support them economically etc during the transition phase. I wholeheartedly support and applaud anyone who can take this step, but I call for more understanding for those of us who, for a myriad of reasons, have to stick it out in the (maligned) 9 – 5.

    • I totally get where you’re coming from Nina! I am by no means considering myself ‘successful’ at this point and I’m honestly not sure when that point will come. For me it’s just about taking this opportunity (that I am incredibly grateful to have) and exploring what’s possible. I’m still not even sure what I’m “passionate” about, but I sure as heck have realized that sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day is not on that list. There are so many factors and so many things I could say relating to this topic but for the sake of the article I tried to keep it short. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • Totally spamming your comment field now, but reading your comment on not feeling like sitting in front of computer all day is EXACTLY what I have been feeling for the past years and do every day. Maybe you could write more on your thoughts on this topics would be incredibly helpful and interesting. I mean, I’ve tried to think of so many jobs but can’t find one that my (our) background can work with. Would be amazing to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks, Jenny

      • It’s hard! I have been thinking A LOT about it. Because even freelancing I find myself sitting in front of a computer, but at least I can get up and walk around, walk my dog, go to the park, go to a coffee shop, etc. – which makes a huge difference.

  • What a beautiful article. Witanddelight has been killing it with your content lately! Such a refreshing change from all of the superficial crap out there.

  • Oh this is so recognizable. In november I left my stable job where I worked for over 11 years. I now have a part-time job close to home – a job that doesn’t demand too much from me… It’s basically perfect to combine with my freelance activities! But honestly? I would 100% rather close my eyes and jump to a freelance-base-only-life! I guess that will be my next step… Oh and I also didn’t tell my parents until I had quit my job! Oops. 😉 Thanks for your story!

    • Hey girl! Do what makes you happy – whatever that is, and good things will come. Good luck!! Thank you for reading 🙂

  • “ go to school, get married, have kids… seems like a pretty lame life trajectory.” Love the intention of this post, and was sad to see my choices being snubbed because they’re conventional. One path being the “right” one, whether traditional or non, is lame, but each choice is wonderful if made authentically.

    • Hey Amanda! You’re right – any choice if made authentically is wonderful! I don’t necessarily believe there is a traditional or non-traditional way of going about life, there is so much gray area – and especially when you think about how big and expansive this world is – how different cultures and countries operate. I didn’t mean to offend with my comment, I should have elaborated more on what I meant by ‘lame’ – I guess in my eyes it’s just so expected. Like if you’re 30 and in a relationship people will incessantly ask “so when are you getting married?” or “when are you having babies?”. I think the words that I wrote were essentially a way to rebel against what is ‘expected’ of me at 30. I didn’t mean to be offensive – I hope that makes sense!

  • I turned 50 last October and I was in my first year as an English teacher in a Secondary school. It had taken me 8 years to get there. Over this year I realised that I was no longer the same person I had been when I started that journey so I resigned this week. I’ll be leaving in July and am starting to be excited about what the future will bring as I’m beginning to think about what my values are now and how I can live an authentic life. I hope your new life is as fulfilling.

    • Yes! That’s such an interesting point. It’s so true – we change so much over the years. I’m happy you are on your way to finding something that more closely matches your values! Good luck!

  • I’m 28 (yes 28) and just the other day I found myself stressing out about turning 30 next year. It turns out , once I started to acknowledge the language my mini critic was using , I was comparing myself to everyone else. By doing that I was telling myself I would never be good enough to innovate , I was saying that I should stop trying to do/be what I essentially love.

  • The timing of messages from the universe is always aligned with where I am in life. As of last Friday, I left a job that was pulling my spirit away from me and I was losing myself. Which, in turn, is how I realized it was my time to leave. Today feels like the first ‘real’ day of this decision and I already feel so much lighter. Right now, the next two-ish months will be about focusing on my summer courses for my graduate program. This is the first extended period of time I haven’t had a job and it fills me up and allows me to trust and be open. Thank you <3

    • Loving your perspective on this. In October I also left a career path that just didn’t sit right with me, and I completely resonate with that feeling of lightness! The day I gave my notice, I physically felt my insides unknot and felt able to fully deeply BREATHE for the first time in months! So excited for you. Soak it up. Cheers to your new path & Day 2 🙂

  • Just want to say I LOVE this post. Thank you for sharing your experience, and validating the eerily similar feelings / choices so many of us are also making. <3

  • I see your intention, but this was so insulting to those of us who are parents. My joy is my children, and I sure as HELL ain’t ashamed of it. Call it traditional, small-minded, or whatever you want, but I call it a life worth living. I hope one day you too find your joy – and my advice to you is this: don’t let fear of what other people think of you stand in your way of what makes you happy. I’d hate for you to eschew what you really want because someone might think it’s “traditional.”

    • Hey Mel! Thank you for your comment. I wasn’t trying to insult anyone with children and I apologize it came off that way for you. I definitely want to have children of my own some day and don’t see having children as a lame ‘traditional’ way of life. In fact I’m not even sure what a ‘traditional’ way of life means – that’s essentially what this post is about. Thank you for reading and best of luck to you!

  • I hear you. I am 27, and would like to kick start my freelance career, but it’s scary cause I need the money, and yet I have little to no clients, I am a designer and illustrator,I work full time as a designer on projects I am not too keen on at the moment and it feels like im wasting my years when I could be doing things that I enjoy, and making money from it. Any tips on starting out? I feel like I cannot make it.