It has been a year since my life took a dramatic change. Nearly one year ago today I quit my job. I had worked the same job for over 10 years and for at least the last 5-7 years I hated it. It was killing me inside. I was depressed, angry, hateful, and broken. I was desperate for a change but fear of the unknown kept me spinning in destructive circles. I felt helpless and there was no end in sight.
There were times I wanted to die and many others when I wanted to kill. I was embarrassed with who I had become. Feeling of shame engulfed me when I saw how bad things had gotten and yet I still felt I could not change it. I felt hopeless.
The last couple of years at the job were the worst. I was on a downward spiral into nihilism and misanthropy. I treated everyone badly, especially the people I cared about. I was mean, lashing out at strangers and loved ones alike. I was dying.
Shortly into 2014, Ashley and I began tossing around the idea of moving out of state. We immediately explored Maine as our first option. It was familiar for me and we still had family connections so it might not feel as drastic.
By this time last year, we closed on a house with over 5 acres of land in rural Maine. The house was a mess. In the past year we added a new roof, new siding, new septic, new windows, new drywall, new insulation, new heating, created a space for punk shows, and much more. We live with a dog, a cat, a hive of bees, and we have seen both moose and fox in our yard. We have cleared out about 4 acres of land. We started a large garden, planted fruit trees and berry bushes. We have a new life.
Thanks to smart investments, wise money management and Ashley's loving support, I have not returned to work (although I have the privilege of starting my own vegan food business). I am a kept man. I take care of the house and Kaleigh. I make dinner each night, pack lunches for the girls the following day and maintain the property.
I feel like I am a new person. I am happier, more patient, more understanding and far more relaxed. To say I feel nicer would be an understatement. The last couple of years in Atlanta I would lash out at strangers with fury for just trying to make small talk in a grocery line. I rarely have those feelings anymore.
While I still have a lot to work on with myself and we have a lot to work on with our new house and land project, as well as my new vegan food business, this life change may have saved me from myself. I have Ashley, Kaleigh, my Maine family and smart decisions to thank for it all. This past year, despite the hurdles, has been one of the best years in a long time.
Here, Ashley and I get to watch Kaleigh grow in a safer environment, better schools, explore her imagination, and we have even found that she has a natural affinity and love for karate. Ashley, while still working, has 3 days a week off which allows us to have some great family time and she still is home in time for dinner each night. Ashley loves the home projects like the garden and the bees and it thrills her to see the progress. We can all just get up and go to the beach or on a hike or swim in the lake nearly anytime we want.
We have many more amazing things to experience here in Maine and with our new lives and in our new home. I can not wait to see what is next.