Yesterday, I had dinner with my friend Tracy. Tracy and I first met at The Gathering Spot a few days after I left my job in March.
We are both screenwriters who left toxic work environments.
Six months later, Tracy is a part-time environmental research professor and is developing her own storyboard illustration business. I am pursuing a career in commercial real estate, start my real estate associate program next week, growing my own blog and taking online SEO courses to develop into a side hustle.
During our dinner of lobster rolls, lemon pepper cauliflower, Southern-style deviled eggs and jerk fries, Tracy said something that caught me off guard.
”Someone is praying for what you have.”
It caught me off guard for several reasons. During the past two weeks, I have been struggling with depression due to unemployment, wondering how I will pay my bills next month, and wondering how I will afford rent next month. I had felt trapped, angry, and helpless. Though I have support from a relative and a few friends, I have felt alone.
Two, Tracy’s statement made me rewind to six months ago. I was leaving my job. I was relieved all the back-and-forth client communication and 2-4 hour daily drives were ending. I had attended my first creative networking event in several months. Typically, I attended networking events for lead generation. This time, it was solely for leisure and I enjoyed myself.
Three, I needed time to figure out what was next. For once, I didn’t know what I wanted. During this 6-month unemployment period, I didn’t realize what career path I wanted until July.
“There are people working 80-hour weeks that make good money but don’t have time to spend with their family or go on vacation,” Tracy said.
I immediately thought about my previous daily routine. I woke up at 5 am, left my apartment at 6:30 am, got to work at 8:30 am, got home at 5-6:30 pm and did it all over again. I made good money, helped my parents with their bills, had money leftover for myself and built up my savings. I was satisfied financially but was miserable running the hamster wheel.
I didn’t have time to hang out with friends. Due to the long drives, I was too exhausted to go anywhere so I stayed home. It was then I realized money does not outweigh happiness.
Though what we go through can feel like a tsunami of bullshit, we need to be grateful for what we do have. I am grateful for the time I’ve been given. I am grateful to have a roof over my head. I am grateful to live in a safe neighborhood conveniently 30 minutes away from the city. I’m grateful I have my health and my family. I’m grateful I can afford healthy food and can pay my car note. I’m grateful I’m pursuing my passion as a writer. I’m grateful my long-term goal of being a real estate property owner is coming sooner now that I’m starting a program that teaches the ins and outs of property development, management and ownership.
Through the midst of it all, I have plenty to be grateful for.
And so do you.