Earlier this month, I moved in with my fiancé. Aside from a few months of cohabitation here and there, we’ve been long-distance for the majority of our four years together. Both of us are extremely excited to finally live together — for more reasons than one. No more driving three hours (each way) every weekend! No more nightly FaceTime calls littered with “I wish you were here”s! Maybe best of all, we finally get to be a team and enjoy the little things (eating dinner together on a weeknight! waking up together every day!) that many people take for granted.
As exciting as this move is, it’s also pretty terrifying. For the first time since I graduated from college, I am unemployed. On purpose!
A little background information: My fiancé is in the military and is stationed in a tiny town in Texas that can only be described as the middle of nowhere. The nearest city, where I lived and worked for three years, is 150 miles away. There are approximately 30,000 residents, two McDonalds, few job opportunities, and zero Targets where he lives. And now that I’m here, reality has set in: I probably won’t be able to find a job in this town.
I’ve always taken pride in my ability to support myself financially, so the thought of quitting a job without another prospect lined up was enough to send shivers down my spine. Without a steady income, I’d have to rely financially on my fiancé for a while. Even though he is the most supportive person on earth, I still felt like I would be a burden.
As I thought more about it, however, I realized that moving to a tiny town with few-to-no job opportunities could actually be the push I needed to further my career — or rather, start a new one.
Because we are getting married in less than a year, I knew that I would eventually move in with my fiancé. We couldn’t be long-distance forever. I also knew that, because of his military career, we would move a lot in the next few years. Having a traditional career is almost impossible when you uproot your life and move every two to three years.
What that meant for me is a shift towards a non-traditional career. I’ve always loved writing — in previous jobs, I’d ask for more writing tasks, no matter how mundane or bizarre. Write a native ad about termite infestations? Sure! Research the best fly-fishing in town? Bring it on! I’d eagerly taken on various freelancing projects throughout the years as a side hustle, but never really thought that writing could become my long-term career. It seemed more like a pipe dream than a tangible goal. But moving to a small town with limited opportunities meant ruling out 9-5, office-based jobs. Suddenly, freelancing was no longer an enticing daydream, but my best bet at a fulfilling career.
That realization was just as exciting (and nerve-wracking) as moving out was. There’s no easy way to give up a steady paycheck and 401k, especially when freelancing is so volatile. However, the flexibility that freelancing offers, plus the freedom that it gives me to work anywhere in the world, means that writing is my best career option for my situation.
Once I committed to the idea of freelance writing full-time, quitting my job was a little less intimidating.
A few factors made my choice easier. Thanks to my previous office-based, salaried positions, I have a decent nest egg saved up. More importantly, I have no debt. I know I’m lucky. I probably wouldn’t have had the guts or the means to quit the corporate world if it wasn’t for my relatively stable financial situation, plus, of course, my fiancé’s support. Not many people can quit their jobs willy-nilly and expect their partner to support them while they ~follow their dreams~.
Of course, there are growing pains: change is never easy! After I told people about my plans to move, I was constantly on edge. I dreaded answering the “do you have a job there yet?” questions. I was nervous talking about my plans to start freelancing. I constantly worried that no one would hire me to write anything. I feared that people secretly looked down on me, or thought that I was throwing away my career to become a housewife. And while I have taken on more work around the house, I worry that I am not contributing enough. More than anything, I don’t want to be a disappointment.
These thoughts are pretty hard to stifle, but I’m working on it. The knowledge that this choice is the best one for me is encouraging. Plus, it helps to have an incredibly supportive significant other. Now, I can confidently say, yes, I did leave my job and move to a small town for my fiancé’s career. But quitting my job turned out to be the best thing for my career, too.
Now, I’m excited about the change. Living with my fiancé in a tiny town is the best thing for our relationship, and I honestly believe that it’s right for me professionally as well. As much as I cherished the stability of my job and the pride that came with living on my own, my previous jobs weren’t sustainable for the long term. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and now, I can fully and confidently commit to my writing goals. As I turn my focus to our relationship and my new career, I’m excited for what the future holds — and where the two of us will go next, together.
Alexis is an event planner turned digital marketer turned writer. She currently lives in Texas with her fiancé and their sweet senior dog. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram if you like dogs, travel, and food.
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