Well, that’s certainly a crowbar to the face, isn’t it?
It’s okay to be done with good things.
I’ve been obsessed with this idea lately: that maybe good situations can keep you just as trapped as bad situations, sometimes. (If you’ve ever had an entire plate of cheese fries in front of you, you get where I’m going.)
How many things are you holding onto just because it would be a shame to give them up? Because you invested the time, because you invested the money, because you can’t complain, because you should be GrAteFuL. You’ve got a perfect little perch on a windowsill, earning good money, with nice things, and a fucking Burberry trenchcoat in your closet. (Like, maybe? Maybe your trenchcoat is from Target but, whatever, YOU SHOULD BE GRATEFUL.
The weight of good is heavy.
It’s why people don’t leave their hard-won but spirit-damaging careers.
It’s why people don’t leave the secure but loveless marriage.
It's why people don't exit their comfortable but toxic friendships.
It’s why people don’t sell their things and go work from a tiny red cabin in Norway.
And it’s why I’m still eating cheese fries, dammit.
Culturally, we haven’t been taught how to leave good things behind—only bad things are acceptable to leave—and as a result, a few nonsense mental scripts end up running the show of our entire LIVES.
Behold, a fun-filled list of mental horrors! 👇
Script #1: Gratitude, You Selfish Oinker 🐽
Anyone would be grateful, how can you complain??? How can you complaaaaainnn? How can you COMPLAAAAAIN?! (She thinks, while complaining.) **This little jerk of a script has kept more people behind the bars of “you’ve got it good” than almost anything else. We’re so full of guilt, it hurts. To imagine that we could ever possibly give up something that other people would “kill for,” makes us hang onto entire lifetimes full of disappointing situations parading around as good ones. If you are disappointed, disillusioned, and dissatisfied, it isn’t working. It’s not right for you. It might be perfect for some other schmuck, but you are free from the need to carry it around like some kind of martyr’s coffin. Let that shit go. There’s a difference between being grateful and being gratified. (OLÉ!)
Script #2: “Never Gonna Get This Juicy Booty Again” 🍑
This is another reason why leaving good things past their expiration date isn’t routinely done: because there’s this nagging little cockroach in your brain that’s telling you that maybe your success **last time was a fluke. **And what if you can’t replicate your success in another area? And what if this decision is THE ONE that finally reveals you to be the talentless, useless, pathetic little grifter that you secretly are? There’s this weird sense that maybe life comes with a rationed supply of good fortune. Like: Oops, your luck has run out, Barb! It’s all over now! You had a good run, then, but now it’s all downhill from here! Buuuuuutttttt—the truth is actually the opposite from the way most of us think: you have ASSETS now. Things you didn’t have before. Now, you’ve got experience. Practice. Skill. Judgment. Boundaries. And hella tax-write offs. Trust that wisdom > winging it, and if you were successful before? OH, BABY, JUST WAIT.
Script #3: Money Money Money Money Money Money Money Money, YEAH 💰
Ahhhhh, that old hat. The money is always hard to give up, isn’t it? It’s a very real consideration in a very real world full of $15 arugula salads that don’t even come with grilled chicken on top. I mean, how are you supposed to afford $15 piles of veg by selling your Aunt Effie’s cocktail rings on Ebay? I know, right?! Well, here’s the good news. First of all, do you know how much some of those fuckers make selling their Aunt Effie’s cocktail rings on Ebay? Do you know how much some freelancers make? Because, honey, that old story about the starving artist is laughably archaic. In most countries today, freelancers earn more than their salaried counterparts—and in the United States? They earn more than 70% of all workers. So, the next time someone questions your intelligence when it comes to giving up your job to strike it out on your own, you can question theirs. (My first year freelancing in the ancient times of 2011, I earned $103,000—and it’s only gone up from there. And I didn’t even have Instagram!) And so, the second thing I’d like to point out is this: if you’re scared to leave good money behind, I promise you, baby love: if you’re making that much money doing something you hate, imagine how much money you would make doing something you LOVE??? 👀
Script #4: “BUT, WHAT WILL WE DO WITH ALL OUR STUFF, BART?” 🖼
Logistics? Yeah, they’re a bitch. But, so what? So is slowly shriveling into a mound of powdered feces. Problems like “oh, but what shall we do with the furniture???” aren’t problems, they’re plans. If you want to downsize your life so you can prioritize your spending in new ways—like going nomad or taking the kids traveling for a once-in-a-lifetime experience—then you absolutely should. The cost of keeping something is almost always greater than the cost of losing it. To keep your sofa, you must lose your freedom. To keep your freedom, however, you must only lose your sofa. This seems like a no-brainer, but logistics trip a lot of people up when they're contemplating doing something wild and wonderful and novel and new. It's the madness **of it all that worries people: What if this is a mistake? What if I'm being rash? What if I'll never be able to afford another sofa again?!?!?! But decisions are rarely a mistake when they feel like oxygen.
Script #5: I’m Old and Tired and Fat & Irrelevant 😩
I know. We’re tired. All of us are tired. And maybe that’s the real fear: that we don’t have the energy we used to; don’t have the chutzpah, the audacity, the energy to so much as email the accountant, let alone start a new personal “revolution.” It all seems so draining, like asking you to climb the stairs of a Manhattan skyscraper with fourteen human bodies stuffed in a backpack. (Well, okay, so that’s dark, but sometimes it feels like you are literally carrying everyone, and they’re all dead weight, and why can’t anyone else wipe down the counter?! Why are there crumbs here AGAIN??? 🗡) What we ignore, however, is the ⚡️ energy ⚡️ that comes from doing something we are actually passionate about: and how, when you find that, fifty hours of work feels like one. Your newsletter now feels like a treat. Engaging on Instagram is exciting! You want to email, and chat, and be seen online. You’re completely re-invigorated. You’re starting fresh with an all-new slate: and what could be more thrilling? Because you stopped being a pawn to your past, and started showing up for your future, instead. And that kind of big dick energy will always be relevant.
It might be scary to let good things go, but are they really good, or just easy?
I would much rather fight for my great loves in this life, than not have any passion left inside of me to fight for at all.
And as the OG Taylor says:
Sometimes giving up is the strong thing
Sometimes to run is the brave thing
Sometimes walking out is the one thing
That will find you the right thing
This year, let’s find you the right thing.
Let’s make it acceptable to leave good things, when they are not the right thing.
And let’s trust ourselves to know the difference—because you do. You do. And whatever good you’ve got going on now? Is only the beginning.