As we continue testing our Human Experiment, we have found others who are embracing their own journeys and undertakings. Knowing that shared experiences are valuable experiences, we want to highlight their stories. Not only will we highlight them as guest bloggers here, but we'll also feature them on our new Facebook page. We encourage you to follow, like, share and comment. And, as always, thank you for joining us — and now our friends — in our Human Experiment!
The following guest post is from Natalie Fairchild — actress, historian, educator and sword fighter.
Five months ago, I left my full-time job of seven years to embark on a journey of recovering my life. Sparing the details, my life had turned into a series of relationships, depression, isolation and a lot of hard work — with no pay off. I was consistently in art therapy (I’m a huge advocate!) and trying to figure out who I was, why I was and what was important to me. The one thing I will say about myself is I’m really fantastic with a goal and direction, and I’m terrible when I’m floundering. Some people are great afloat. I am not one of those people.
BUT, I had made a few really great decisions in my life, too. I think it’s easy to get so caught up in all of the terrible decisions we make as humans and forget to be grateful for our own accomplishments. I had discovered I loved teaching through theater. I’m really great at crafting. I love animals. And I discovered I loved working with children. I don’t necessarily think it’s about what children are learning. I think it’s about learning to listen to children and what they’re going through. If you think being an adult is hard, at least we have the years of experience to understand human behavior. Children are stuck with the lot they’re given, until they are old enough to venture out on their own. We should listen more to children and stop telling them they don’t know anything.
So, I quit my job. And it was the most difficult, agonizing and terrifying experience. But, I had made a few good choices in my life. I had a pension to cash out. I found a partner who was supportive of my choices and wanted my happiness more than financial security. I made the difficult choice of moving several towns away for a cheaper mortgage. And I had to learn to trust somebody else to love me, regardless of my choices. For me, the Human Experiment is about a lot of things, but first and foremost it’s about trust. Trust in yourself and trust in those close to you. Trust that as human beings, we are resourceful and communal.
What am I doing now? I have no idea. But, I’m doing it. I took the leap and became extremely broke and the happiest I have been in a very long time.
I’m learning to be less wasteful. I’m learning to actually use the food in my kitchen. I’m taking the time to prepare sit down meals around the table. I’m recycling so many things around my home in order to garden and grow my own food. And I’m taking back my life. I’m working jobs that allow me to create my own schedule. I am a rental manager for a theater. I am a teaching artist. I’ve done mock trials to help train lawyers. I’m learning to say “yes, I can do that.” And, amazingly, it has done wonders for my self-esteem in the sense that I have learned how capable I actually am. And I wouldn’t have experienced that if I hadn’t taken the leap to love my life.
The other turn my life has taken is I am finding I have the energy to go out to dinner, spend time with my friends and family, spend more time with my dogs and take better care of my home. I never had the energy for that before, because I found my job was gradually taking away my life.
And I will end with a link to the Spoon Theory. A friend sent this story to me a while back, when we were talking about how depression or any other illness has a major effect on your life. I will leave you with this question. How do you want to spend your spoons?