"Bustin' Loose" by Chuck Brown "Time's Lie" - by The Manhattan Transfer
Things are a’changing in my life and I thought it’d be a great time to share with you, my amazing village, what I’m up to these days. SoOo … I quit my job! Whoa, we just jumped right in there. Well, that’s the TLDR (too long didn’t read) version. If you want the back story, read on and allow let me back up.
Like I imagine many of you can also say, this pandemic really shook things up in my life. Well, that and the racial uprisings around spring 2020. The unsettling change in reality truly also offered me the opportunity to reflect on so many things. Things like my personal values, my dreams and ambitions, my vision for the world I want to help create, and the life I want to live. So how did it all happen? For starters, I found myself stressed and worn thin at my job, NON essential, in a time where so much suffering was happening around me and that didn’t feel right. In my opinion, the work, while meaningful, could wait. But, capitalism (even in the nonprofit world) wasn’t having it.
I took a much needed, powerful, 3 week, holiday trip to to West Africa (Ghana pictured above and Togo) in December 2020/January 2021. The trip helped me reconnect with my ancestors and shifted 1) how I thought about what truly matters to me and 2) how I might better live grounded in those values. What came up for me were words like: joy, rest, imagination, justice, liberation, healing, community, and ease. All words that challenge the status quo of go-go-work-hard-work-long-bootstraps-yadda-yadda-bullshxt. And in reflecting on those values, the first thing that became misaligned was the job, that I actually always loved, as a program manager of global youth programs. Not because the work wasn’t meaningful, but because it was no longer feeling good — the long hours of sitting in my house staring at a screen, the nonprofit industrial complex dictating our work and hours, the inability to focus directly on the communities of my identities, the lack of energy and desire to work on my own projects after work — all were starting to get to me and make it hard to get out of bed. And some days, I couldn't get out of bed.
So, in February when my job asked what they could do to make our lives easier, I elected to move to a 4-day work week and unfortunately forfeit a chunk of my pay check (because capitalism said I can’t be paid for 5 days unless I give sweat and tears for 5 days despite how much work gets done). But it was worth it! Then, I was informed that my new 4-day schedule was not a viable, permanent change and that I needed to figure out my next move. Y'all, I didn’t wake up that day intending to resign from my job, but by 6pm, I had an end date and I was ODDLY calm about it. But it's because the decision felt right, even without an official plan.
To be honest, there is still not a clear set and formal plan. And that also feels right, for right now. I was positively overwhelmed by the support poured into me once people knew about my transition and also noticed the urgency that seemed to come with people’s desires to help. It didn’t take long to realize that the fast paced, fear induced, push to make decisions immediately — was exactly what I didn’t want. Disengaging from the social norms of “go, go, capitalism” means slooooowing down and seeing things differently. So I decided the first thing I wanted to manifest was actually a “summer vacation” — you know, that break between school years that were (hopefully) full of good times that we don’t get as adults but deserve …
(Kinda like nap time. Who voted to take that away?).
Flash forward to being invited to a July wedding of two of my dearest friends in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica and the finding of a little chocolate farm on the edge of town that was looking for an intern for a work exchange for the exact time I was arriving. More alignment … to my strong desires to be out of the US (bc, ugh), to using a different part of my brain and body, to learning new things, and to being of service to others — all while having the time and space
to breathe life into my dreams. Or hell, just to breathe.
And that is where I write you from today. Specifically, my little half wood/half mosquito net , doorless, hut at the Talamanca Chocolate Farm.
Because I want a life that centers joy, rest, fun, community, and fulfillment in a way that I define and is not restricted to only after work and weekend hours. (Think: A life that my ancestors and parents never got to experience no matter how hard they “worked”)
Because we all deserve to thrive and not fight so hard to have a happy life in our short time here (no matter what you have been indoctrinated to believe about work, success, and self-worth)
Because I want to embody the impact and change I want to see in the world
Because it was time for me to fly (and it was only a matter of time before I rebelled against the machine.)