Why don’t you quit your job?

I’ve been talking a lot about 6 Months to Live with several new people lately, and it’s always interesting to hear people’s comments and questions.  One person sarcastically asked, “Well, if you only had 6 months to live, why are you still working?”  I read him a quote from my Kickstarter Project: “Most of us have no idea when our time will come, so why wait?  We can enjoy life now.  We can pursue our dreams.  We can LIVE for the present while also planning on the future.” I wholeheartedly believe this, but living fully shows up in a variety of ways.

Chopping Wood, Carrying Water -- Photo by Jacqueline Boone

I have a 9-5 corporate job.  I work for a great company and have more flexibility than most people, but not every part of my day is action packed with life.  When I first started this experiment, I thought life was all about the action-packed moments, so in those first 6 months, I focused on two priorities: adventures and telling the people I loved how much I appreciated them.  These are still two incredibly important aspects of living for me, but in the second 6 months, I realized that life was also about embracing daily moments and being me.  The moments in my day that mean something have a pattern but are different every day.  Some of them include waking up to the sunrise (my bay window faces east). My hot water in the morning.  My bike ride to work. My cappuccino at Peets and talking with the barristas who are always so friendly and positive. My eggs and avocado at the family-run cafe.  Listening to my latest favorite songs on repeat throughout the day.  Laughing with my colleagues.  Closing my eyes and feeling the afternoon sun in my corner of the office.  Collaborating.  Creating.  Crafting words…

Sunsets Never Get Old

A Zen quote I have always appreciated is “Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.” It reminds me that there are certain inherent aspects of living.  I need to pay rent.  I need to eat.  I need to make money to pay for these things.  No matter what we’re doing, every moment is filled with life, and each of us reading this post is living. Maybe we’re already living a life that is meaningful, maybe some parts are and some parts aren’t, or maybe not.  The beauty of life is that it is never too late to choose again.  Sometimes that means getting a new job, a new house, a new partner, but other times everything is different–we’re the ones that have changed.

Join the discussion 44 Comments

  • oddznns says:

    A great take on how living life IS about carrying water and chopping wood as much as its about flying away.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thank you! So glad that you enjoyed reading the post! Life is definitely a balance, and I really like how you phrased that, “Life IS about carrying water and chopping wood as much as it’s about flying away.” Excellent point! Can I add that to my Snippets?

  • Cassandra says:

    Well said! I have often grappled with this sort of question – how much of the ‘ordinary’ should I let go of if I really want to live free. I think you’ve found a healthy balance.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks Cassandra! It’s a continual and evolutionary process for sure, but I always strive for balance. What are some of the ways that you’ve found balance and what do you think living free looks like in daily life?

  • In a way it saddens me that so many people think that giving up work would be a mark of really living life. That shows a disconnect between what we do for a living and who we are as human beings. Wouldn’t we all be happy if we worked at jobs that made us feel like we lived each day to the fullest in all aspects of our life? This is my current struggle, as I try to find the goals that fulfill me and balance with my life as a wife, mother, and human being.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Good point, Lisa! I have definitely wrestled with what Cassandra was talking about, “How do you live freely in daily life?” Ideally, we would all have a job and a life that truly reflects us and fulfills us. I continually question that in my daily life and think about potential changes in my life.

      I’m also realizing that sometimes it’s not so much what you do but how you do it. For example, one of the people I’m super excited to feature on the upcoming web TV show is a barrista at Peets, and he has the most postive and fantastic attitude towards life. He absolutely is making a difference in the world, and he’s grinding beans and carrying milk. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on finding a balance between wife, mother, and human being. Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Julie says:

    REALLY needed to hear this message on this day. Beautiful. Thank you.

  • Luca Ricci says:

    Incredible how your posts always come in perfect timing to some of the ticking questions I got in my head. Can you read my mind??

    • Jacqueline says:

      Haha. I do seem to post things that you’ve been thinking about pretty often! Even though I can’t read your mind, I do believe close friends are connected, and I love that my posts often are relevent to you and what you’re going through. Makes you feel closer and not so far away! 🙂 Hugs!

  • FABULOUS post Jacqueline. And it sounds to me like you have a sweet life my friend. Merry, merry! Margie

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thank you, Margie! 🙂 I do have a sweet life. I would be lying if I said that little voice didn’t enter into my head sometimes: “Yeah, things are pretty good, but they could be better.” But, I’m getting to a place where I laugh at that voice rather than intently listen to it. I’m in a stage of life where I’m learning how to be content now, regardless of what is or is not in my current outside world. So far, that’s helping a LOT! Haha.

  • It is about the quality of life. I have transitioned from unhappily fully employed in the corporate world to happily unemployed to ultra happy self employed with all its challenges. I can breath again and feel life to its fullest. I have created something new for me instead of following orders and I have the freedom to go any which way I want to go. This is the essence of live.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Amen! Quality of life is where it’s at. It’s been such a delight hearing about your journey from each place to the next, and I’m so happy for you that you’re in a place where you feel you can breathe and feel that you’re really living a life that reflects you again. You’ve definitely been an inspiration for me AND in writing your book! I agree. Freedom is the essence of life!

  • hellenjc says:

    Life is a struggle at times as it always has been…. but we all ( especially in the west) can choose how we deal with that struggle…. it can weigh heavy or we can shrug it off..

    • Jacqueline says:

      Very good point! So much of life is about our attitude towards it. It reminds me of children who are afraid of the dark or believe that there are monsters in the closet. Often one day, they decide. “I don’t believe that anymore, and magically, there aren’t anymore monsters.”

  • Jessica says:

    Ah, so refreshing to read this. Choosing life. That is what I love about you. That is what I love about our crazy-fun doing nothing, and doing everything shared moments. Move to China or sitting on grass doing nothing. Just choosing life is what it’s about. I think that is what God most loves to see his creation doing-enjoying it. Enjoying each other. Enjoying love and the beauty that is everywhere.

    Thanks Jax-y for such a bee-autiful post.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Refreshing is such a great word! And I could totally picture you saying that, as if you were drinking a really nice glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day. We certainly have had many beautiful adventures and moments together! The background changes and so do the languages, but the content is the same—two really good friends who love and appreciate each other for who they are and continually support each other in enjoying and choosing life! I’m so glad we’re friends, Jess! xoxoxo

  • Thank you for sharing the Zen quote. I needed exactly that reminder today–that enlightenment is always bracketted by hard work–so easy to forget.

    Beautiful post!


    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks Kathy! Glad that the Zen quote came at a perfect time. I think enlightenment can definitely be hard. Boy, have I made it hard! Haha. But, as I get older, I find that enlightenment and all its aspects can also be amusing. In fact, sometimes I burst out laughing at the universe’s sense of humor. And sometimes I’m crying at the universe’s apparent lack of humor. One quote that have helped me a LOT but are sometimes difficult to swallow are:”Everything is unfolding as it should.” And another one that helps me let go (which can be especially challenging for my inner perfectionist) is “If not this, something greater.” Always appreciate your visit and posts, Kathy! 🙂

  • Vitaly says:

    When I was graduating from 8th grade, the late Gene Siskel (of Siskel and Ebert) spoke at my graduation and one of the things he said has stuck with me to this day – Find something you love and you’ll inevitably become good at it. Money will come. The reason people think that quitting their jobs will make them happy is because they are focused on a goal with no rhyme or reason behind it. My personal goal in life is to be happy each and every single day. Not tomorrow, not a week from now – today! Every single little step I take during the day is something I know gets me closer to that goal.

    Many times, people skip the in between steps and insert a lot of misery into their life thinking that all this suffering — working a crappy job — will result in some sort of happiness later. They lose sight of the fact they can be happy now!

    • Jacqueline says:

      First off, what middle school did you go to that had Gene Siskel speaking at your 8th grade graduation?? Secondly, I absolutely agree with you. Happiness is a choice and something we can create or at least strive for everyday. So, I’m curious. What do you do when you feel unhappy? (experimenting with 21st-century spacing in this comment) 😉

  • Holly says:

    What an amazing, insightful and wonderful post! It echoes so so many of the thoughts I constantly struggle with against myself. Ah, I feel like revelations have been cast in typed text before me. Nice work!

  • Moving. You struck some nice chords there. I’m looking forward to bringing in more water….for today.

  • Chirag Desai says:

    Very well said dear…!!

  • Blink says:

    fantastic piece of work!
    this is my first time on your blog and i am already in love with it.
    i write too
    visit my blog whenever you feel like.
    stay blessed 🙂

  • l0ve0utl0ud says:

    I love this post, because, contrary to what many people say, making the most of life doesn’t mean not working! It also doesn’t mean that the wonders of life are somewhere on the other side of the world. Making the most of life is, as you so well put it, trnasforming every moment into something beautiful.

    • Jacqueline says:

      What a lovely comment! There are many ways to approach life–whether that’s working a job that allows one to pursue their passions in other areas or being blessed enough to have a job that is their passion. And your comment is right on. Travel is an amazing opportunity (and I intend to do more), but you don’t have to go across the ocean to see life’s beauty.

  • advgrrls says:

    Living is making work be a a part of your happiness. It’s a reality we all need to do….so why not make it into something challenging and exciting so when you get the time away life is even that much rewarding. Even if I did not have to work I would do something other than my “hobbies”. I feel value in work and the value in not working too. 😉

  • Cellar Door says:

    I really enjoy the power of blogging and the ability to take inspiration from posts like this. X

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thank you! I have also found blogging to be very powerful, and I’m so glad to hear that you drew inspiration from this post. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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