Three-bedroom house and 2-car garage. Six-figure salary and company-sponsored health care. My family, friends, and country of origin. I had all the stability and security and comfort in the world, and I gave it all up.
I wrestled with my decision for a really long time, and I ran through scenarios, numbers, and options. Sure, it didn’t make logical sense. Who would throw away a money-making asset such as a house? Why leave a job that more than paid the bills, that allowed me to live nomadically and travel the U.S. while working remotely, and instead take a career break? Who would drive to Mexico and stay for 6 months, leaving her family, friends, language, and way of life behind?
It didn’t make sense, but I kept on dreaming. My longings for a life of adventure, of discovery, of escaping tradition and societal expectations — couldn’t be silenced.
And so I adopted three mantras to counter my limiting beliefs. I hold these rules dear to me and share with you now.
1. Nothing is truly irreversible.
Firstly, one needs to understand that nothing in life is permanent, guaranteed, or written in stone. People change. Circumstances change. Jobs come and go, homes are rarely “forever,” and relationships end or evolve.
There are men I thought I’d always love… and I don’t even think of them now.
There are jobs I thought I’d never leave… and I was abruptly and unceremoniously laid off.
I’ve done things I never thought I’d do. There are things I never thought I’d believe. Things I thought I always wanted, and I don’t have them, and I’m 100% fine.
Besides death…. there’s very little in life that is truly irreversible.
Sure, I can’t get my former house back — but if I decide to put down roots again, there’s nothing stopping me from buying another one. Anything I sold or donated could be replaced. I could always get another job if funds get low. These decisions I made… are not irreversible.
When I first embarked on this journey, I thought: I’ll try nomad life on for size and go back to my old life if this gets old. Guess what — it hasn’t, and I’m just getting started. But if I did go back, it wouldn’t make me a failure; it would mean that I chased a dream, I learned and grew and lived, and I made an educated decision about what’s next for me. The same would be true for you.
2. There is no perfect timing.
Perfection doesn’t exist.
When you make a life-changing decision, or when something life-changing happens to you, it probably won’t be the perfect time. It may be just the OPPOSITE! Too much to do, prior commitments, too much uncertainty, not enough fill-in-the-blank. If only ______… then I would do it!
Well, guess what. There will never be a perfect or “right” time. Timing is just an excuse. And the truth was, I was moving the yardstick for YEARS waiting for the right timing to quit my job and feel okay. I delayed, I was scared, I didn’t know if I had enough money saved.
Sorry, but you may never feel ready, certain, or 100% confident to jump into the deep end. But remember: life’s too short and too beautiful to press pause and wait for the stars to align — reach for them anyway.
3. Inaction is the riskiest of all.
So many of us are slaving away, spinning the hamster wheel, and to what end? How often are we exuberantly enjoying our time on this earth? Tim Ferriss wrote:
What is it costing you—financially, emotionally, and physically—to postpone action? Don’t only evaluate the potential downside of action. It is equally important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue those things that excite you, where will you be in one year, five years, and ten years? How will you feel having allowed circumstance to impose itself upon you and having allowed ten more years of your finite life to pass doing what you know will not fulfill you? If you telescope out 10 years and know with 100% certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret, and if we define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome,” inaction is the greatest risk of all.Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek
I didn’t want to wait until some future date to do what I’m doing; and I didn’t want the future me to look back and wish I started earlier. I had analysis paralysis for so long… and finally, I just had to take a leap of faith. I couldn’t practice inaction any longer, not in good conscience.
How’s it going, over a year and a half into nomad life? There are ups and downs, sure. But I’m very, very happy with my decision. I don’t miss anything I sold. I don’t miss working a full-time job. (But maybe the paychecks, just a little.) My friends and family are only a phone call away, and I absolutely love Mexico. I am living the life of my dreams, honestly — YOU SHOULD BE TOO. ❤️
Thoughts? Please leave a comment.
5 thoughts on “The Three Mantras I Adopted That Inspired Me to Leave My Traditional Life Behind”
OMG I love this. You are making me come closer and closer to doing something radical and changing my life because I keep seeing what you are doing and it looks AMAZING!
Please do tell me what that writing on the heart in the photo at the top says. I can read “Te amo” but for some reason I cannot make out the rest. My brain keeps going into Russian Mode and I keep trying to read it in the Cyrillic alphabet, haha. 😀
Yay!!! Happy to hear this!!!!!!!
It says, “Te Amo Tlaquepaque” which is a suburb of Guadalajara. Here’s a little more about it: https://www.instagram.com/p/CaOJXmKsrFV/?utm_medium=copy_link
That’s so awesome! Love it!
I really appreciate this. Life is fluid. We are not defined by our pasts, we CAN enjoy our present, and the future does not have to scare us. Thank you for living this truth. “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” -General Patton
That’s a fantastic quote! Thank you Jim 🙏🏼