f**k money, get happy

started with a salary, now I’m here

Being my inaugural post, it makes sense that I tell you how I got here.

It started with a transformative experience over the last six months. I accepted an offer to participate in yoga teacher training through the yoga studio I have been attending for the last ~2 years.

Actually, it started WAY before that.

Short version: I’ve made a lot of fear-based decisions in life, including what career to pursue. While earning my yoga teacher certification, I have been able to let go of my fear surrounding money and financial instability and acknowledge that it makes no sense to choose money over happiness if getting the money is killing you anyway.

Hence my advice to fuck money, get happy.

It started with me constantly making the practical decision in life. College? I went to the in-state university that paid me to attend via multiple scholarships instead of the out-of-state university I had been pining over for 3 years. College major? I wanted to be in an art program – photography. Instead, I earned a degree in retail merchandising because I knew I could get a job anywhere straight out of school. New car? I wanted a truck. I bought a used Honda Civic that I could more than comfortably afford with my corporate salary and gets decent gas mileage. I don’t really have use for a truck anyway, right?

Not all of these are inherently bad decisions. Practicality serves a lot of aspects of life. However, I made all of these decisions from a place of fear under the guise of practicality. Fear of judgement, failure, and commitment.

The result of living a fear-based life? Unhappiness. Anxiety. Depression. Confusion. A deep sense of feeling lost in the life I created.

Three and half years ago I accepted what I thought was my dream job. You know, besides being a professional dancer, singer, painter, photographer, or baker. I accepted my fear-based dream job. It was more money than I imagined I would ever get nine months post-grad and it was like taking the fast lane in retail. I would not have to spend many miserable years working the sales floor trying to land a corporate gig. I got one.

About two years in, I started to acknowledge that this job was not fulfilling me the way I hoped it would. But I also felt paralyzed. I told myself that receiving a promotion or a big pay increase would make it worthwhile. I told myself that I did still want to be in this field, with this company. I needed to suck it up and stop being the millennial older generations have come to begrudge. Even my parents told me that it is not possible to be happy every minute at work. I would never find something I would enjoy doing 40 hours a week. That’s life. That’s work. That’s being an adult. It sucks sometimes.

I hung on for another year. I also spiraled into a deeper anxiety/depression than I had experienced since my senior year of college. I started talking to my mother about moving back into my parents’ home. I was becoming increasingly worried about living alone and seven hours away from any family and what I might do to myself. So was my mother.

I posted about my struggle with depression on Facebook and something really strange (in my then-opinion) happened. My friends and family and acquaintances reacted. People commented on the status, messaged me, and sent me supportive text messages. Some people I hadn’t had a real connection with in years. I had posted some pretty dramatic, woe-is-me stuff before, but nothing like this reaction had ever happened.

One of the people who reached out to me is the owner of the yoga studio I have been attending for the last two years. I had (maybe) been to two of her classes in that time. I actually avoided her classes because they are so challenging to me. She told me about the upcoming yoga teacher training and certification program starting in two weeks at their new location (about two hours away) and asked if I would like to participate. It would be nine full weekends over the next six months on pretty short notice and not very conveniently located, but she thought that it might help me.

I could not understand why this woman, whom I barely knew, was offering me this opportunity. I avoided her classes, barely made it to yoga once a week when I was attending regularly and had not even been to the studio in three months. I checked my schedule and (miraculously) none of the weekends coincided with anything I had planned for the year thus far. I accepted and low-key cried for the next twenty-four hours.

This training is based on Baptiste Yoga (more on that in another post!). Baptiste Yoga has three themes themes:

  1. Be A Yes
  2. Give Up What You Must
  3. You Are Ready Now

By agreeing to the training on such short notice, I was already doing pretty well with the first theme. But themes two and three were (and are!) a struggle. Though I was sick to my stomach going to work every day and sometimes lying in my bed well after my alarm went off, paralyzed at the thought of getting ready, I also was not willing to leave. I knew that I would most likely be offered a promotion by the end of the year and had only just started to consider that more money would not change my feelings about the work I was doing.

And I definitely did not believe I was ready for anything. I could not even make it to the office on time for my current job, how was I going to start applying and investigating a new job (or career), while still working full-time at a job that made me sick and angry by the time I got home every evening. I was possibly the most anxious I had ever been and utterly overwhelmed. I knew that people said this program could be life-changing, but even that was overwhelming. What if it wasn’t? What if it did not end up helping me? What if I spent six more months feeling depressed and I hurt myself? What if I failed to get whatever I was supposed to be getting out of this experience?

GREAT NEWS – I did not fail. I got exactly what I needed out of the experience. A few weeks in, I told the training group how miserable I was and why I was afraid to leave my job (after much encouragement and patience from my fellow yogis). I also visited my family around the same time and found out one of my sisters was planning on purchasing her first home in the next few months. We started joking about me leaving work and moving in and then it became a serious opportunity. She was happy to have help paying the mortgage and I was excited about having a safe place to be with family while I figured out what I was going to do next.

A few weeks later, I announced to my yoga teacher training group that I had decided to leave work (and the state) when my current lease ended and move in with my sister. AND how perfect that I was in the process of learning new skills and becoming certified in an activity that is pretty dang popular. I knew that I could be teaching yoga as soon as I moved (I never intended to teach when I started the program) and the anxiety about how I would be able to support myself if I left my current career disappeared completely.

I am moving in two months, have less than a month and half left at my current job and could not be more calm about not knowing where my next paycheck will come from afterward.

I could stay and continue to get money, but I would also be continuing to slowly kill myself and then what’s the point of having money?

Fuck the money. GET HAPPY.

 

fm/gh,

jd

One thought on “f**k money, get happy”

  1. Jen, your writing is remarkable and so genuine!! This is a talent of yours for sure. Keep doing it. Along with that photography. I’m so proud of you and the happy life you’re making happen. The one you are creating. Our home is always open and we are always here if you need us. Love and hugs to you sweet Jen! AL

    Like

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