I know what I have to do and it is fucking terrifying.

I have to leave the ATA. And I have to do it soon. I could stay, but I’d just be putting off the inevitable. And what could possibly be left to gain that is worth sacrificing my happiness any longer?

To be clear, I don’t necessarily believe any job will bring me happiness. I’m realizing that that’s not how it works. This is just another way I’m trying to obtain fulfillment from the outside. I think that’s why I needed to separate from the Cave. Too much of my self-worth and esteem was being dependent on my success in that realm. The same goes for the ATA.

I have a hard time logically explaining this decision. I’m worried about having to talk to people about why I’m doing what I’m doing. I fully understand how crazy this could look from the outside, especially in the current economic climate. But I derive no happiness from just being financially secure. It’s comfortable, sure, and it has allowed me to do what I have done for myself, particularly over the last few years. But I just feel like I’m being pulled in a very different direction. It’s so scary to jump into the unknown like this, to essentially throw away what I had been working towards. But I’m realizing that this “thing” I’m working towards…I don’t even want it anymore.

I feel like I keep waiting for the feeling of like “yes I am 100% comfortable and okay with making this decision”. Like I keep waiting for the anxiety around what could potentially come after making this decision to just dissipate. But, I don’t think that will ever completely go away. I have no idea what’s going to happen. But I do know that I am strong and adaptable and creative and I always figure it out. I can trust myself to follow where I’m being pulled and that I have the stamina and resources to achieve that. This is harder than when I decided to break up with Zach, I think. But I stayed in that much longer than I wanted to, and I can see the writing on the wall here much more clearly and from a distance. I don’t want to keep waiting for things to reach a breaking point.

I felt so sure and good about this yesterday. I also knew that this anxiety and fear would return and I’m sure it will again and again. I completely understand why it’s here and these concerns are valid, but I also know that on a deeper level, I have to make this decision. So calmly I can hear this voice telling me, “Go.” This life is too short to not go after what you want. I have to let things go in order to make room for new stuff. I have to trust that whatever is on it’s way is going to be even better. I’ll look back on this and thank myself for being so brave, yet again. I will regret not leaving.

I absolutely reject the notion that we have to make ourselves fucking miserable to make money and be “happy”. That makes NO sense and it’s counterintuitive and why is this something we so readily buy into?? I understand that’s “how the world works” or whatever but like, can we not accept that? Do I have to be a victim of this system? The system only works because we choose to succumb to it — so what if we reject it and choose our own paths?

The Great Resignation is what they’re calling this epidemic of people walking away from their jobs in a shitty economy. It’s empowering to think about, that there’s an entire movement of people in the same exact situation I am, deciding to choose something that better suits them in an act of defiance against the way you’re supposed to do things. Or maybe, it’s not even so much an act of defiance. That’s how it looks on the outside probably. But it’s a choice of self. We didn’t come up with the rules to this game, no one told us we could choose to not accept the terms and conditions. I think there’s a delicate balance between choosing to do things that best suit you and choosing what benefits the collective, and I think that blindly marching down this path of killing ourselves slowly by “doing what we have to” is bad both for the self and the collective.

Yesterday was the happiest and most serene I had felt in a really long time. Like I was taking back control over my life. I felt a relief that was so liberating. I need to choose myself here.



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Samantha Seaton

Just a lady (she/her) who thought she knew what she was doing, only to find she hadn’t even scratched the surface.