2019 has truly been the year of change –
I debated whether I wanted to write about this part of my life on here, and eventually decided the answer should be a resounding ‘yes’.
Earlier this year, I hit the lowest, most overwhelming point of my life.
Everything that could go wrong in my life did. Between my job, living situation, finances, and family… my life took a nosedive. So many horrible things were happening all at once that I didn’t know what to do or which problem to tackle first. I took some deep breaths, cried a lot, made an endless amount of lists, and took on everything one day at a time.
It took a huge physical toll on me though. My anxiety was at its peak. I could barely go a day without a panic attack. I wasn’t eating. I could feel myself withdrawing from people entirely. And then, slowly, the tide started to change.
In the past six months I…
Lost a job. Dealt with a horrible, nightmarish roommate situation. Visited three different family members in the hospital. Started freelance writing. Got out of my lease and lived at the beach for the summer. Moved back home, cleaned through all of my belongings, and resettled myself.
Flash forward to now, and everything is looking so much brighter and clearer. Not to sound like a contestant on The Bachelor, but I’ve found so much clarity in the past few months. And I’ve learned just how resilient and strong I can be.
Writing and living at the beach for the summer was exactly what I needed to destress and start to feel like myself again. My skin is sunkissed, my hair is growing out, and most of my clothes smell like salt and sunscreen. It’s glorious.
So now that I’m on the other side of it all, I’m finally going to open up a bit about the past few months – from the lowest point of my life to gradually rebuilding myself and reaching a much better and happier place.
It’s funny because looking back now, I realize how toxic and unprofessional of a work environment my job was all along. From the time the company almost closed down in Winter 2018, and I was told to “be scared”, to bad client relationships, to the way I was fired. On top of that, I hated my job. My work felt useless, and I knew my creativity was better suited elsewhere.
But I stayed. Because it was my first “real job” out of college. Because I had bills to pay (even though I wasn’t getting paid enough). Because it was easier than changing jobs. Because I was planning to leave in a couple months anyway to move abroad. And in some sense, because I felt guilty leaving. I felt loyalty to a job that never paid me the same respect. I stayed at a job with a thousand red flags, and that mistake is fully on me.
Even though I knew my time there had an approaching deadline, I should’ve realized my worth and moved forward on my own. No matter how “comfortable” you are, pay attention to the red flags. And that advice applies to pretty much everything in life – not just a toxic, dead end job.
Also… I had an inkling. When the girl who used to work in your position and is also best friends with the boss suddenly returns wanting her job back, it can’t be good. But I was praised for the work I’d just finished, lied to, and told she would be “working out of our office” and eventually fit into a new position. A week later, I was fired and she took my place. I wasn’t even supposed to come in that morning, but the owner of the company hadn’t bothered to show up the day before to talk to me.
During our short time working together, the returning girl iced me out and was increasingly passive aggressive. I felt completely isolated, but kept telling myself it was just my anxiety speaking. Turns out my intuition was spot on. My time there was riddled with unprofessionalism, so it’s no real surprise that’s exactly how it ended as well.
So what now…?
The best part that came out of this – aka a true blessing in disguise? I finally became a freelance writer and started moving towards my long-term career goals!
I’ve previously talked about taking the leap and getting my TEFL certification back in December 2018. My original plan was to leave this autumn, but I’ve shifted my plans to January (for a couple of reasons).
I want to build both my freelance clientele and my online teaching clientele before I start traveling. And I want to spend the holidays in the USA with the people I love the most. As much as I love Europe’s Christmas markets, being alone at the holidays would break me.
Adding freelance writing into the mix makes my original travel plans even better. Now, I won’t have to rely solely on teaching for income!
Being TEFL certified gives me a lot of freedom and opens up a whole new world for the future, as does freelance writing. With a TEFL certification, I also have the option to transition into working onsite at various language schools or private tutoring as well.
Second, the roommate from Hell…
Maybe I should make one of those storytime YouTube videos, but, for now, here’s the sparknotes version of how truly insane this roommate was…
My previous roommate (who I adore) left because her visa was up, and I was desperately searching for someone to take her place. I’ve been extremely lucky with random roommates in the past, so I guess this was bound to happen eventually… but this new roommate felt like a caricature of a comedic villain at times.
She lied to me about when she was going to sign the lease and skipped out on first month’s rent. She wouldn’t let the AC run in our apartment and set the thermostat to 90 degrees. She hid utility money that she owed around the apartment so I couldn’t find it.
And for the grand finale, she refused to pay her half of utilities for the final month. When I returned to get the money, she tried to lock me out, and then poured $75 worth of pennies on my feet as “payment”. It was truly a bizarre experience that I still can’t believe happened. And for the sake of brevity, I’m leaving out some other crazy details.
Considering there was no actual conflict between us, and we barely saw each other while living there, I was utterly perplexed. Maybe I slighted her in a past life? I don’t know. But I’m hoping I’ve fulfilled my karmic duty of dealing with at least one crazy roommate in a lifetime.
Throughout everything, I’ve definitely learned a few life lessons.
“Life Lesson #1: Leave a job when you start hating it.”
My advice? Put yourself first when it comes to career goals. And don’t feel bad about it.
Run far and fast from a company that shows such obvious red flags, even if you feel goaded into staying by some warped sense of loyalty or comfort. I learned the hard way. But I did learn.
“Life Lesson #2: Random roommates are always a gamble.”
There isn’t too much I can take away from the terrible roommate situation because I was in a unique position. But whenever you take on a random roommate, prepare yourself… and maybe lay out some thermostat rules beforehand.
“Life Lesson #3: Sometimes bad things really do happen so that good things can happen.”
Of course that’s what everyone always says. But it’s true. Blessings in disguise are very real, and I just experienced some. Always strive to see the good that comes from the bad.
I had a terrible roommate… so I managed to find someone to take over the lease, and I moved to the beach.
I lost a job… that I wanted to leave anyway and started doing what I actually want to do with my career.
“Life Lesson #4: Take the leap and go for your dream job”
Whether that’s taking the steps to get your TEFL certification and travel the world, or something else entirely.
Freelance writing has been my goal for awhile now. It gives me the freedom that I crave, and writing is what I’ve always wanted to do. Between writing for clients, blogging, and slowly outlining a novel… Writing is the new normal for me, and I love it. But it was definitely a shift in lifestyle, which is why I took an unintentional hiatus from this blog.
Another perk? I fell back in love with reading this summer, and that has probably been the best part of my new lifestyle.
“Life Lesson #5: Put yourself first.”
When it comes to your career. When it comes to signing a lease. When it comes to your lifestyle. Put yourself first! And don’t ever feel guilty about it.
People tend to shy away from putting themselves first out of fear that they’re being “selfish”. That was part of my downfall. I was too afraid to stand up for myself and put my own interests first. I learned the hard way, but at least I learned.
As much as it sucked going through all of this, I’m grateful for where it got me. It took a lot from me, but I’m finally on the other side. And that is the best feeling in the world – to look back at the lowest point and then turn around to bask in the joy of where you are now.
Excelsior! Onwards & Upwards…