A while back I had dinner with a friend at a local bar and grill, the kind you would find in a small home town.
We were both professional women in “corporate America” at the time, she still is. As we sat catching up on each other’s lives, the kids, work, etc., we also took time to watch the people coming in. There was a group of construction workers, straight from the worksite. They were a jovial group and were enjoying their evening together, lots of contagious laughter. There were families with kids having dinner. There were groups of men and women, couples, and some individuals enjoying dinner or a drink by themselves. Most of these people seemed to “fit in” here. Everyone greeted everyone else. Even those who came in alone were quickly involved in conversation with others. Everyone was made to feel like they belonged.
We both grew up in small towns and have lived in the metro area for quite some time. We’ve traveled, eaten at some of the finest restaurants and drank fine wines and liquors. However, with status comes an expectation of how to act, dress, behave and speak.
Most of the time, due to business or travel my friend ends up eating out with colleagues, clients and or business partners, staying in upscale hotels, flying around the country and acting as “expected”. While we were sitting having our dinner of fried foods and wine, she made the comment that she’s so much more at home in “these kinds” of places. She admitted that she hates being in the corporate world and what she really wants to do is to pursue humanitarian efforts.
As many professionals experience, she is feeling trapped. She makes a great living, is the primary income earner for their household and feels that leaving would cause a financial hardship.
Taking that leap is hard, but so is living an unauthentic life. I watched my friend talk about how hard it was to come to work in an industry that she wasn’t happy in and to work with people she didn’t trust. This was causing issues and concerns in other areas of her life as well.
I have left corporate America and my business suit is now yoga pants and a sweatshirt/t-shirt and sometimes my pajamas! I don’t put make-up on everyday nor do I spend time fixing my hair, a pony tail will do. I am so much more relaxed and content in life. I sleep better, eat better, and smile (a real smile) more. I choose who I interact with, what invitations I accept, which events I attend and how I spend my time. I’m living authentically and I can feel it in every area of my life, my body and my emotional wellbeing. I get to spend more time with my kids, I probably shouldn’t admit it, but sometimes I even take my son to school in my PJs.
I can still enjoy the fine restaurants, fine hotels and wine, but I get to choose when, where and how often. I get to decide how I’m going to act, I’m not being told the “appropriate” way to do, be, say!
My friend and I parted that evening, giving each other hugs and encouraging each other to live our dreams. She continues to work at figuring out her life. I urge you to do the same.
If you are not happy and are not living authentically in any area of your life, it bleeds over into the other areas of your life. Take a look at your life; what is it that you wish you could change? Make a step or a leap to change it.