October 27 and here I sit, in my boyfriend's kitchen, pondering how I arrived at this present situation. Here I sit, a newly returned corporate employee. Voluntarily reattaching ball and chain in exchange for piles of reliable income and some fancy health insurance.
A failed entrepreneur? Perhaps. A calculated conscious decision? Yes. Once again miserable? You betcha.
Hello turmoil, it's been too long.
Let me catch you up.
My last blog post was titled, "I don't want to be a dog trainer anymore." So, there's that.
July 2019 - return to Glacier National Park, without the dogs but WITH my new boyfriend. Partner. Person. (boyfriend is such a trivial word) Experience freedom from financial stress and blissful hiking and scenic views with my bastion, my rock. (his name is Kyle) Accomplish big personal wins like hiking big hikes and rediscovering my inner strength. Read book on financial independence and ponder. Much pondering. Struggle with a week straight of suicidal thoughts, not tied to my medication since I hadn't fussed with it in two months. Go back to therapy. Get help. Flip the "off" switch on that drama and stress and get back to living life.
August 2019 - Muse. Ponder. Do math. Many maths. Realize that I have the potential to be making four (yes, FOUR) times my present income simply by giving up this freedom I've found (and its current angst and misery) and returning to a salaried corporate j-o-b. Feel relatively optimistic about applying to said j-o-b's (in stark contrast to every other time I've applied through the past 2.5 years, which usually involved scorn, derision, and gagging). Apply to about a dozen in one day after freshening the resume. Receive phone screen precisely 3 hours after applying to job #2, get scheduled for an in-person interview. Do said interview. Wait a tense week. Receive job offer. Deliberate (briefly) and swoon over the $$ and PTO and 401(k) and health insurance. Accept. Begin panicking about getting ready. Grieve the loss of my current lifestyle and the liberties I have enjoyed. Start new job.
Yup, all of that happened in August.
September 2019 - relocate (as in pack up and move) from New Brighton to Eagan to eliminate the anxiety-producing, soul-destroying, twice-a-day 45 minute commute from my life. Get used to a new roommate and a new city and a new job. Struggle. Struggle whole heaps of struggle. Persevere. Cry a lot. Lean on my man. Continue therapy to manage the transition. Deal with medication crap. Keep moving forward.
October 2019 - finally begin to feel somewhat settled. Despise the grind but like the paycheck. Get my finances closer to back in order after essentially two months of not working and living off my savings. Shut down EVERYTHING in a bid to be selfish and take care of myself. By everything, I mean all three of my websites (the adventure dog blog, high spirits dog training, and danielle lindblom coaching) and all related social media accounts. And hide from the world, minding my own damn business thank you very much. Quit "sharing" and just focus on the home front.
And that pretty much leads us up to right now.
Here's a picture of me when I was young(er), naive AF, and actually somewhat liked what I did for a living. Oh how jaded I've become in just a few short years.
I feel like the old curmudgeon yelling "get off my lawn!" to reckless passersby. Yet, instead of scruffy teens, I'm shaking my fist at the world. And you know what? The world don't really care.
I'm working through a mental process of owning this decision I've made and this path I'm now walking. Because I did choose it, and though it was not an easy decision and often felt/feels like the only available option, the best of the worst, the least sucky, it does in fact have the potential to help me create a new reality. An even better one than I was living as a self-employed, your-passion-as-your-job, freedom-seeking idealist.
What is that magical future I'm doing this for? And how will this grates-against-my-soul, misery-inducing job get me there?
I'm glad you ask.
1. Unicorn Land is a place called "Financial Independence" and it is a place with no money stress, filled with meaningful work that I choose, and the freedom to pursue any passions as simply that - passions (not turning passions into professions).
Financial independence looks different to different people, and it is intensely personal. My version looks like enough in savings to stop worrying about money, support myself with a giant buffer safety net, and build a business that I want to work in rather than need to work in.
2. This job, with its large salary and cushy benefits, will be the fuel to get me there.
So, at present, I am piling up large sums of cash and getting my financial house in order. And that involves slogging through several days in a row with a brief shiney weekend in between doing work I dislike and dealing with the health and spiritual consequences in somewhat stoic resolution.
Of course, I'd rather be here. On the trail with my dogs. And I do get out to do just that. But not nearly as frequently or with the same spirit as before. The theme of the times right now is recovery.
It seems nearly every spare minute not at work is spent recovering from work. I get just enough time over the weekend (if I don't fill it with appointments, chores, and to-do lists) to refill my cup. This "new" lifestyle is not easy. Every day is a challenge. And you can call me a whiny, privileged millennial, but that won't change how I feel or what I experience. If there's one thing I've finally learned after years of ignoring/suppressing/battling/denying my mental health issues, it's that nobody will ever fully understand your own reality but you. I've learned that I don't have to explain or expect others to get it. I just have to live my best life, on my own terms.
And I'm trying to do just that. As my partner says, "one day at a time."
So, here's to you wherever you are on your journey. Whether it's comfortable or not. Whether it's easy or not. Whether it makes sense or not.
Just do you. And just keep going.
You got this.