Last week I resigned from my job as a secondary school teacher of design. Three weeks into my return from a year of maternity leave, I really wasn’t expecting to be in this situation! It was a tough decision to make, but we decided to prioritise our family’s wellbeing over our mortgage.
It’s all too easy to fall back on money as a measure of the value of things (as I was inclined to do when considering whether I should stay or go). Milton Glaser famously said, “Computers are to design as microwaves are to cooking.” I wholeheartedly agree, and as a design teacher I’ve used this quote on my students plenty of times! Like computers in design, and microwaves in cooking, so I see money in relation to happiness. Money is a tool; one that gives you access to resources and opportunities that can make life seem more convenient and pleasurable. I like to think I would have more choices and more security if I had more of it. But I know it’s not something I can take with me when I leave this life; it’s not an accurate measure of happiness; it’s not actually any more reliable than any other material possession I have.
Sometimes in my life I have felt ‘trapped’ in a situation, particularly in my work. It’s strange that I should ever have felt this way, given how much support I have always had from family and friends; how blessed I have been with a range of skills and strengths; how many opportunities I have been offered. Whenever I felt trapped, I assumed it was because I had no choices. Now, in a philosophical moment, I have decided that freedom is not about having more choices. It’s about taking responsibility for your own life. I wrote this musing on our bathroom mirror to remind me:
So, in the spirit of my own philosophising, I’ve decided to close the door on a job I don’t believe in anymore. I have no idea what I will do next, but I have to believe that if I follow my heart and listen to my gut, I can’t go wrong.
The reason why I started this blog now is because I want to share with others how my life has changed over the past year. My husband and I feel so much healthier and happier since we started consciously and actively making decisions about how we live, based on real values like ethics, honesty, quality, fairness, sustainability, and GOOD. I won’t deny money often features in our decision-making, but it’s way down the line now and we try not to let it creep up! We are trying to take responsibility for our lives in our shared quest to be happy, healthy, and free. I hope we can inspire you to do the same!