Today I quit my job / by Martha Keyes

I quit my job. I really, finally, truly, actually did it.

Since I began working as a 15 year old, I've gone from job to job to job--19 times--enjoying things from each but quickly feeling discouraged at the thought of a future there. I've worked in market research, tech, genealogy, property management, teaching, child care, public health, a beauty store, and on and on. And each time, I've felt somewhat like a tourist in a foreign place--interested to learn but with no plan to take up residence. 

Despite these feelings, I've also struggled with a part of me that's said, "What you are looking for doesn't exist. You would have found it by now if it did. This is what being an adult means--doing things you don't like. All day. For a long time." After all, who am I to make money doing something I love when other people in the world are slaving away just to make ends meet?

But I simultaneously understand that my staying in a job that doesn't move me serves no one. In my particular situation, if it's not absolutely necessary for me, staying in such a job would be due more to guilt than for any useful purpose. 

Many people know the quote by Marianne Williamson (often misattributed to Nelson Mandela) that says

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

It's a great quote. It made me curious about the author, and as I explored some of her work via goodreads, I found some other word treasures (I'm a collector of them) that made me feel more empowered to take the dive and follow the prompting I've toyed with for years.

“...You're on this earth with a divine purpose: to rise to the level of your highest creative possibility, expressing all that you are intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, and physically in order to make the universe a more beautiful place.” ― Marianne Williamson
“Do what you love.
Do what makes your heart sing.
And NEVER do it for the money,
Go to work to spread joy.” 
― Marianne Williamson

There is so much ugliness in the world around us. We hear about it constantly in the news, on our facebook feeds, and in our conversations. There's suffering, there's pain, there's conflict, there's controversy. It permeates our lives and our thought processes in ways I think we don't fully grasp. Like erosive winds, those depressing and gloomy influences slowly wear down our zest for life and negatively skew our perception of life. For years now, I've had the desire to counteract that perpetual stream of negativity by broadcasting positive stories and beautiful things; by searching out the good rather than focusing on the bad; by capturing places, moments, and stories that truly define who we are, what matters to us, and what brings us joy. 

In my experience, there is always a little ray of sunshine peaking through life's storm clouds. The source of that ray is often run-of-the-mill individuals who lead normal and unassuming lives. If you look closely amidst the humdrum, ordinary goings-on of those lives, you will find extraordinary things. You will find love, you will find pain, you will find joy, and you will find beauty. You will find lessons to be learned and nuggets of wisdom.

One other source of beauty that has been a constant in my life is a perpetually-developing and -expanding appreciation for both natural and man-made wonders. Travel has been a wonderful way for me to experience the beauty of people, nature, and sites all at once and to better appreciate the beauties around me at home, as well. I am more appreciative of home each time I return from traveling.

“Travel does not exist without home....If we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.” --Josh Gates
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was extremely blessed to grow up in a home with parents who encouraged an appreciation of literary and natural beauties. I remember looking forward to autumn for the opportunity to walk the neighborhood with my mother, looking for and collecting unique and beautiful leaves that had fallen from the trees. We would then wax them to preserve their beauty. My mother and her father knew the names of the flowers, trees, and birds, and they shared their love of God's creations with all of their family. 

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful. Beauty is God’s hand-writing—a way-side sacrament; welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, every fair flower, and thank for it Him, the fountain of all loveliness, and drink it in, simply and earnestly, with all your eyes; it is a charmed draught, a cup of blessing." --Charles Kingsley

My goal is to capture, record, and spread the beautiful things, both great and small, that life is comprised of, here at home and abroad. So I'm taking a leap of faith, quitting my job, and actively pursuing, capturing, and writing about beauty. I feel blessed that I can do this--I know most people can't. I'd be dishonest if I said that I feel all excitement and no fear. I'm taking a definite risk in pursuing photography and writing full-time. But there is something incredibly terrifying and exhilarating about looking at the person you love, grabbing their hand, and jumping off the edge together, not knowing what kind of excitement and terrors lie ahead, only that you'll experience it together. I know it will be hard, but I also know that it will be rewarding and allow me to grow and contribute in a way I've been craving for years.

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