“Girl got stuff to do.” – a phrase I quickly coined at my first job out of college.

It sounds strange reading it out loud, but after a few months of working a job I loathed, this is what I quickly became known for at work.

While my co-workers found my somewhat sassy remark to one of their comments about me leaving every day at 5 (on the dot) comical, I took what I said very seriously. In my mind, I was thinking of how I already spend most of my day at work wasting time doing things I don’t care about with people I have zero connection with, then why the hell would I want to be here any longer than I already have to be? Instead, I simply followed up with, “girl got stuff to do” and under my breath continued with, “and it’s not here.”

While no one heard that last part due to an unexpected eruption of laughter my first comment initiated, it was as if my brain had finally turned on the light switch and I was seeing everything for what it was for the first time. I wasn’t just saying any of this to lighten the awkward position I was put in, or make anyone in the office laugh. This was something I had been feeling for a long time, but in that moment, I covered up with a surface level response.

I went home that night experiencing what felt like a quarter-life crisis, pacing my apartment in a manic state wondering what the heck I was supposed to be doing with my life and if I was actually wasting my 20s being at this job (pretty much every millennial’s thought these days).

As my thoughts continued to race, I couldn’t fathom the idea of spending all of my time at work, only to sit behind a desk all day, to take on more tasks that didn’t fulfill or interest me in the least bit, to later go home with little to no time to do anything, to then quickly wake up the next morning and repeat it all over again. Days, weeks and months were flying by, and I was ultimately spending less time doing the things I actually enjoyed or spending time with the people I care most about in my life.

Overtime, my excuses for having an ‘off day/week’, was just me becoming more disengaged at my job and with my life. It went so far as I even started to notice myself entering this almost self-destructive state every time I set foot through the door. It was as if I was testing my job to see how far I could go with my behavior without having any repercussions. In reality, I had just stopped caring, and the longer I stayed the more numb I felt. I knew in the back of my mind that I couldn’t continue to live this lifestyle that felt completely unauthentic to who I was or what I wanted, but like you probably guessed, I stayed because well…. shocker, I needed the money. Those bills and student loans were not going to pay themselves.

While money is great and all for paying the bills and for the things we all usually don’t need, if you start to notice something is lacking from your life, then you know it’s time for a change.

Now, some people are not bothered by the idea of working whatsoever, and if that person is you, there is nothing wrong with that. If you’re happy with where you are at in life, and are able to find a balance that works for you, then more power to you.

At the end of the day, no one’s path in life is the same. For me, I don’t want my job to be my life. And by that I mean, I don’t want it to be the focal point of my thoughts, my energy, my conversations or what keeps me up at night. This lifestyle is in no way appealing to me, and feels more soul sucking if anything.

During this point in the conversation, some people like to point out either:

A: “Oh you’re just paying your dues right now”

B: “Don’t worry, something better will come along, just keep your head up”

or my personal favorite…

C: “Well that’s life kid, suck it up.”

Guess what, I have news for everyone out there that feels the same way as I do – we don’t all have to follow the norm. And why should we? There is no rulebook; one-size-fits-all method telling us that this is the way your life needs to be. But unfortunately for many of us, we learn from an early age that this is how it should go: sit in a classroom for 12 years, go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, have a couple of kids and then eventually you can retire someday. While there is nothing wrong with this path, it’s not for everyone (at least not in this order anyway). And guess what, there is nothing wrong with that either.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to commit to a job, a certain type of lifestyle and every decision we made previously before this moment. Part of it is how we are raised in our society to think that we need to have everything figured out, and that quitting a job after a short period of time makes us seem unreliable or flaky. But if you are not happy with where you’re at in life, why continue to put yourself through the misery?

Why not spend your days doing something you truly enjoy and getting paid to do it as well! While this is not always an easy or cost-efficient option for some, I would much rather spend my days enjoying what I do, even if it means not making as much as I would have at my previous job. When it boils down to it, don’t be the person who wakes up 20 years from now and realizes everything they missed out on, or wishes they would have done sooner. Life is about taking risks that keep us growing as individuals, so why not take the chance of moving your life in the right direction that coincides with your authentic self?

At the end of the day, there will always be responsibilities and financial binds that keep us at our jobs or working in general to make ends meet, but we do have choices.

We don’t have to live our life behind a desk if we don’t want to.

We don’t have to spend our whole life working just to get ahead of everyone else if we don’t want to.

We don’t have to stay in the same career path just because it’s what we studied in college if we don’t want to.

And finally, we don’t have to follow the same path as everyone else if we don’t want to.

Because girl got stuff to do, and it’s called living her life the way she was intended to.

Stay curious, be present, travel often!