In early 2017, I woke with a searing migraine. It was so bad that I could hardly see straight, and I nearly collapsed when I slid my legs from my bed onto the hardwood floor. Concerned, my husband lifted me back into bed and handed me my phone so I could call my boss. There was no way I could drive to work, let alone crank out one of my typical 10-hour days.
I rarely, if ever, got migraines—only when I was severely stressed. However, in the past week, I’d had three. I knew it was because of my job. I’d worked hard throughout law school, studied for the bar, and put my game face on for interviews with law firms. I was elated when I finally landed a job with a great firm in my town. But within months of working there, I felt a horrific, nagging fear rise in my chest: I’d chosen the wrong profession. I was on the wrong path. This job, this line of work, was not a good fit, and it was not only stealing my joy—it was making me physically ill.
The next few months brought a tsunami of stress and anxiety: GI issues that drove me to a bevy of specialists, an autoimmune disease diagnosis, panic attacks. I cried every day, and I felt ridiculous for it. I was a lucky woman with a degree and a good job. I was not suffering any real hardship. Any legitimate trauma. Every day, I worked with people who were truly being tested, who had truly lost everything, whether it was a loved one who suffered a horrific accident or a financial transaction gone bad. I, on the other hand, had nothing to complain about. Nonetheless, I was miserable.
During this time, I often found myself daydreaming. On my lunchtime walks, on my commute, and over dinner with my husband, I caught myself envisioning a very different life, one in which I had the freedom to use my creative gifts and didn’t feel sick to my stomach all day long. One where I could earn a living doing what I loved, maybe even working from home, maybe even for myself. Maybe even writing for a living. Maybe running my own business. These dreams brought me consolation and invigorated me. Intrigued, I started to lean into them.
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