So, I quit my dream job.

I came back from the Netherlands only to walk into work and realize my heart was somewhere else. My job, which had been a lifeline over the last three years, suddenly felt like an anchor and the only thing attaching me to this weird version of life that had bubbled up from a crisis.

So this week, I quit my dream job to travel. Farther.

I have fashion in my blood. My grandparents owned a clothing store for 40 years, Jarratt’s, in small town Marshfield, Missouri, when the idea of ‘mom and pop’ thrived. My father followed suit and has always been in clothing sales. I must have been influenced by all those garmentos. When I was a little girl, I used to play “store” in our living room, methodically arranging dolls, toys and cassette tapes for resale to my family. I’ve always considered myself a worker bee. I was not “good” at school, but I was motivated by money. A paycheck meant much more to me than a good grade. Though probably against some sort of child labor laws, I was managing a Sunglass Hut before I could drive and, wanting to be independent, opted to take a cab to work over a ride from my parents.

Jarratts

My dream, since I could walk, was to start my own brick and mortar boutique. But after working in the industry for 10+ years, I decided that managing (rather than owning) an independent high-end store was the best way to pursue my passion, without so much overhead and risk. I joined SCOOP NYC with that goal in mind and was quickly promoted to Store Manager of the Brentwood location. I was so proud of getting the Store Manager title, the salary that accompanied the title and the years of hard work that earned me the role. I was living out my dream job and loving it. In college, I studied psychology and people tell me all the time I am not “using” my degree. I never say it out loud, but I am using it every second. My job is all about understanding people and I am fascinated by their motivations and moods.

Work was a constant; home was another story. Through a draining relationship, the store was a place where my mind got a break from obsessing over other questions that in hindsight, were impossible to answer. Upon my separation, I held on tighter and quietly told myself just keep it together. Stay professional and put a smile on your face. I was trying for ‘fake it till you make it’. But I was exhausted and depleted.

All of these things were true:

  1. I was working like a madwoman, but could barely afford the ridiculous rent on my studio apartment;
  2. Ten pounds later, Ben & Jerry and merlot had become my BFFs;
  3. Tinder, Match and Bumble were littering my phone. I was “duty dating” on the regular, when all I really wanted to do was curl up and watch Naked & Afraid (#couldbeworse, #watchifyouneedtofeelinstantlybetter;)
  4. The only place I felt relaxed was at Shape House, where I would put on a space-age sweat suit to bake in an aluminum sleeping bag and listen to Deepak Chopra Meditations for Attracting and Being in Love. It is hard to stress about lawyers, settlements and dating at 110 degrees.

Ugh.

Aha Moment: The only thing worse than taking immediate action was taking no action at all

For years, I have wanted to travel. I’ve thought about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (think Reese Witherspoon a la WILD), traveling South America and packing up for a vast American road trip. But I haven’t. Like many mid-thirties women, I was afraid of time; I thought ducking out of life (to pursue an adventure) would derail my goals and just make my biological clock tick louder and louder. Ironically, that same fear kept me holding tight to an impossible relationship. I knew it wasn’t working, but the sheer terror of being alone and the shame of failing were too much for me to bear. The idea of divorce was horrific in my mind, so being in an unhealthy relationship actually felt easier than starting a new one.

I had been clinging, with brute force and fear, to the idea of marriage and family for almost a decade. So it was such a stark contrast to be in that rose garden in The Netherlands. I had found something beautiful without trying; it felt like the beginning of possibility.

Aha Moment: There is a time and a place for everything.

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10 comments

  1. Rissa,
    You have been always the sweetest and one of the most genuine person I have known and your writing is a perfect reflection of that. I read both of your posts and I love it because of its authenticity. Most people hide under fear, me including in some cases, but you have taken it by the horn and embraced it. How inspiring. I’ll plan on traveling with you vicariously through your blog. I have nothing but best wishes for you in this next chapter of your life.
    Sending some Naka love,
    Leo

    1. Leo,
      I cannot even deal with this comment. It seriously has me tearing up. Overwhelmed by the sweetness and encouragement. Anyone who has there own version of love “Naka love” to send out is SUPER cool in my book. Just did a quick FB visual update on your life . . .wow, congrats on twins and your adorable daughter and beautiful wife!! Awesome.
      Really nice to hear from you,
      Rissa

  2. Hi Rissa.
    I took a few minutes to read your story. I love your truth & honesty. I was also thinking writing could be a new career for you. Not sure if you have thought about that. I am so excited & proud of you. It’s inspiring me too. Life goes by so quickly & we need to enjoy the moments. All the best to you on your journey. Go girl!! xo

  3. Rissa!!
    Girl, you write so beautifully. Im so impressed by how well you share your thoughts and passions. Im so sorry to hear about all thats been going on. Way to bravely rise above your circumstances sounds like you’re about to go on an adventure of a life time. I cant wait to read all your posts and travel vicariously through your blog.
    Have an awesome trip. Sending you lots of love and a big hug.
    Christie

    1. Thanks Christie!! “We” (meaning me and you vicariously) leave for New Zealand Saturday:) I love seeing your adorable family on Insta! xo, Rissa

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