Bluebird Chic ambassador Cara Ann Mathis of Honey ‘n Hive, I’m Noteworthy and Mathis Art Co. shares her experience with “hitting the refresh button” on life. Read on to hear her story about choosing a life of creativity and fulfillment over her high-profile “dream job.”
The definition of refresh is “to give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.” This year, that definition has become my life’s motto.
After a decade of being a career-driven mom boss, I decided in January that I needed to invest some time in myself and my own priorities – so I left my job at the FBI.
Yep, you read that right. A lifelong goal, I worked at the FBI for nearly ten years. And the glamour of the job title was the main reason I hadn’t left earlier. In fact, I never even considered not working. Especially because I’d worked so hard to get into the organization.
But after five years at Headquarters in DC and then several years working out of the Salt Lake City field office, I decided I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my role, and I needed to revitalize my life.
I’d been eating my feelings, coming home exhausted, and losing valuable time with my husband and son. I was angry all the time, and the few hours I had left after my evening commute were spent lamenting the ten hours I’d wasted that day.
It was time for a change.
A Whole New World…
Sure, I miss the office environment and managing programs (and I’ve got feelers out in the private sector), but the life I’ve gotten back in return is well worth the loss.
These days, I spend my time running three small businesses, I’ve written a book, I create artwork every day and sell it at farmer’s markets, I’m dancing in a musical, I have more time to dedicate to my photography, and I even took up woodworking and built my son a pretty nifty lemonade stand!
It’s a far cry from stagnant government service, that’s for sure.
Since leaving, I’ve checked more items off my bucket list than I would’ve been able to accomplish in a lifetime had I stayed.
And if I’d stayed, it would’ve been for the sake of the money and the title – both of which won’t matter when I look back on my life at the end of it.
REMEMBER: You Are Your Greatest Investment
If you’re struggling to find meaning and purpose in your life, or just need to click ‘refresh’ on the screen of your life, I highly recommend a hiatus from a job that isn’t fulfilling you – whether creatively or otherwise.
This was the hardest decision of my life, but also the most important. And the one that has already had the greatest impact on my development as an individual, a spouse, and a mother. It took courage and intention, and the payoff has been well worth the fear and uncertainty. My son sees me happy more, I’m nicer to my husband, and I’m no longer the walking stress ball I was for years.
This year, you’ll find me reenergized, stronger, and more confident, all because I’m no longer trapped in a position that wasn’t serving me or my loved ones.
If you’re feeling stuck in your life, consider all the possible ways to refresh – whether it’s a retreat, a long weekend, a new hobby, or, like me, a lifestyle shift. It’ll be worth it in end!