And just like that, it’s 2019.

Call me a 17th century German composer because I’m Bach (hello, again) and basically baroque (sorry, couldn’t help myself; pun-ish me!), because I just quit my job, and I’m diving headlong into 2019 with no clear plans for my future, equipped only with my cameras, writer’s block, and the hope that kicking the three-headed monster that is Fear, Anxiety, and Self-Doubt in the face will yield something good. It has to, right?

Let me back up. Some of you just learned like 27 seconds ago that I quit my stable job of two years without another opportunity lined up and might be shaking your head at me with a little bit of judgment. I get it, I’m pretty — no, extremely — privileged that I could even entertain (and currently live out) the idea that I could take a break from The Grind to regain my sanity and my selfhood before they — along with all of my passions, creativity, hopes, and dreams — were gagged, blindfolded, dragged away and beaten into nonexistence for the sake of the 9-to-5. I mean, we’re all sort of trained and conditioned to believe that working over 40, 50, 60 hours a week is normal, that waking up and immediately checking your email with sleep still in your eyes warrants nods of approval, and that being so hopped up on multiple cups of caffeine until 4PM and then feeling dizzied after that 3rd glass of wine by 9:46PM every night was acceptable human behavior. (Work hard, play hard…right?) Sure, you might earn a pat on the back from your colleagues for giving your 200%, maybe even receive a passing accolade from your higher ups (keyword: maybe), earn a decent salary, actually have been veritably busy when you reply “I’ve been busy!” to the friends you haven’t seen in months, and possibly feel some intangible sense of fulfillment or whatever, but — at what cost?

To some, I know I may sound like just another melodramatic millennial ingrate, but I like to think that I’m not your average 20-something year old. Yes, I admit I haven’t been the most exemplary intern at a point in my life, but generally speaking, in my working career, I’ve always been a naturally high-performing, results-producing Procrastinating Perfectionist, like a poster child for Organized Chaos. As in, I’ll clean up nice, get things done, and do it better than expected by the deadline, but I sure as hell won’t let you slide the doors open to see the capital M, Mess that is my closet, aka my brain. But this past year for me was different: I can honestly and wholeheartedly proclaim to the universe (or realistically, my audience of uh, three?) that I gave it — said it being the various cornerstones of my life — more, more, and more than my all. But in the process, I lost vital parts of myself along the way, to the point where my tank was sputtering far beyond empty, I was issuing clouds of ominous black smoke, and that one mysterious emergency light (!) that really nobody ever knows what the hell means was switched on and — long story short, it was time to pull the emergency break.

2018 was some year. The type of year that, by the end of it, makes you just lose all strength in your legs until they give out and you slump down against the wall, sob a little, blow your nose into your sweater and then resolve for the better. My family went through serious growing pains. A really significant relationship in my life ended several months ago, and it still weighs emotionally heavy. My youngest uncle passed away. He suffered with depression and alcoholism for most of his life. In the fall, I up and left for a spontaneous trip to Europe solely for the reason to run away from my reality. I tried online therapy (and online dating). Trump is still president. With that last reason alone, I think it’s safe to say it’s been rough year for all of us.

So here I am again at the cusp of a new year, apologizing away for yet another long hiatus, and again, floating in literary limbo as I try to figure out what my next move is. I’m working on my web portfolio. I’m trying to meditate more, through mobile apps and on scripture. I’ve challenged myself to do a 52-week music challenge. I’ve realized more than ever how much I cherish spending time with my family, my best friends: my sister, my brother, my cousins, and how much more I appreciate the female friendships in my life. And the Guy Upstairs keeps giving me a heart to want to help others in some capacity, so that’s something for me to chew on.

So, yeah, I quit my job, and now I’m standing at the edge of life’s amusement park that is the Big Unknown. I rode a rollercoaster of emotions this past week — feelings of regret, self-doubt, anxiety, panic, loneliness — but as one does on a rollercoaster, I returned back to home base. And as one feels after just riding a janky rollercoaster that’s seemingly on the verge of collapse, I feel a little bit more alive, with just enough adrenaline and momentum to get me to my next destination, whether I’m ready for it or not.

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