I had an epiphany today which happens more often these days.

A little over a year ago, I made the really hard decision to leave Oxheart full-time and to take care of whatever it was that I needed to take care of. I had been pushing through multiple massive burnouts, somehow lying to myself along the way that the things I had sacrificed weren’t that important to me, until I had nothing left to give. I remember asking Justin to not let me leave, that we were already short-staffed and that it would be too hard on the staff. I knew myself well. I knew I would back out, so when I put in my “notice,” months prior, it came with an agreement that Justin would hold firm to my promise to take care of myself.

I was beyond terrified of having a new way to live. I didn’t know what I needed to take care of. I just knew I needed to change directions fast. I had no idea how people filled their lives when they had free time, but I knew I had to figure it out. It was something that was missing from my life, something that I had never tried before. It no longer impressed me to work, work, work. Jill offered the greatest advice in how to choose the “last” day. She said to pick a day where the following days you would be distracted from your change with activities you want to do. So I watched my sister finish her 3rd ironman, had Sunday brunch, took a class and got a motorcycle license, and just kept going.

Instead of having one super full-time commitment, I took on a few smaller commitments, allowing me a more flexible schedule. This allowed me to: visit my friends I hadn’t seen in years, work from wherever I could find Internet, have brunch with my non-industry friends, attend Saturday crawfish boils, go on long bike rides with my sister on weekends, start and finish art projects, and more importantly, give me time to think.

I’m terrified of falling back into the same pattern. It’s the biggest reason why I’m taking my time when it comes to starting another project. I cannot sacrifice what I sacrificed in my 20s again. In the past year, I have been trying to think about how to create a business that will still allow me to have the lifestyle I want. Sustainability is the tone I want to set. I am practicing how to set boundaries so I can be fair to myself, my partner, my family, my friends. I know I need my long weekend rides or training sessions with Angie. I know I need to sleep as close to 8 hours a day on average. I know I miss my friends dearly after a week. What I do next professionally will be a huge labor of love. It will fit seamlessly into my life, as it will be a part of me I cannot give up. Life’s a marathon, slow it down just a bit.