Have you ever felt stuck? The need to reset or to fall asleep and wake up somewhere else, far, far away from the everyday routine? To start all over again, no matter how hard it is to begin from scratch? Have you ever asked yourself, “Is this what life is all about?” Monotonous. Not being understood. On repeat mode, again and again. Have you ever felt wrong? Sometimes you look around, chained in a corporate job you hate, you look at your colleagues, and you ask yourself, “How the hell do they survive?” And then the doubt that maybe YOU are the weirdo. You are the one always complaining, always whining, never happy. And on top of feeling drained of all your energies, you also feel guilty for not being grateful for the life you have. As if you can’t see the blessings anymore. I was feeling exactly this way until the moment I decided to swap the order of the words. Until the day I switched from “one day” to “day one” and found myself on a plane to Paris with a one-way ticket. It was now or never. This is how taking a career break changed me
Since you are here, you probably want to read this post too: The Pros and Cons of Living as An Expat
I conquered mental healing
Society expects us to fit in a mold. The problem is that modern culture also has too many molds that it expects us to fit into. There’s the body type mold, when sports and workouts are not anymore a sacred time to honor the temple in which our soul lives, but a mandatory obligation to fit into that craved Instagram-body. There’s the workplace behavior mold where you are asked to fit into that workaholic kind of woman. There’s the moral standards mold, the successful societal mold telling me what I should be at my age, and hundreds more. Taking a career break allowed me to unchain myself from the social expectations and set myself free to become who I truly am.
I recovered from overwork culture
I always felt there was something wrong with glamorizing overworking. How is it even possible that the term “workaholic” has become a compliment? How did we get to this point? My mental health was suffering from this cult of overwork. Not long after, my mind became a battleground where fear and anger warred against my profound need for peace of mind. They say burnout happens when you avoid being human for too long when that one giant to-do list costs you peace of mind. I was feeling a deep bone, soul, and heart kind of perpetual exhaustion.
I gained a new perspective
A career break has given me time to heal. Time to re-discover the value of my time, of genuine relationships, of meaningful work. In simple words, a career break gave me peace of mind. I felt the growth regaining the spotlight when I realized I was no longer worried or stressed by the trivial things that once used to drain all my energy. I felt I was blooming when I took the courage to stop, pause, and breathe the fresh air of a new city. No matter how hard it was to pack all my belongings and fly away into a new life. I realized that my mental health is more important than the tests, the interviews, the meetings, the family dinners, and the grocery runs. I felt blessed again with a second chance to reacquaint myself, step back and live my life rather than racing through a life that did not belong to me anymore. I tasted how sweet it is to become aware of what’s worth my time and energy.
I achieved personal fulfillment
Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life made space for new opportunities and a new purpose. And suddenly, I found myself discovering a new passion, maybe my life vocation. Photography has begun as a simple hobby. After all, how can you not be taking hundreds of pictures when strolling in Paris, when all this beauty and art overflow you 24/7? Isn’t it ironic how photography is exactly what I was so badly craving? The art of living in the moment and looking for beauty where others may miss it. Along Montmartre cobblestone street, in a picturesque café in Montparnasse, or in a Parisian bistro overlooking the Eiffel Tower, extraordinary magic is woven through ordinary life. Paris is a treasure trove. Like a bottomless crate, it holds infinite surprises. Either about art, architecture, food, or culture. And maybe my eyes were not enough to soak in all that beauty. The camera became the save button for my mind’s eye. That’s how photography became my therapy, feeding my unconscious need to find and fix the beauty around me. My love affair with life.
I redefined my life’s direction
I took some time to rest and recover. I regained possession of those moments of self-care added value, energy, purpose, and creativity. Photography became my passion, my chance to redefine my life’s direction. My happy wake-up call. I still remember those times waking up feeling already drained and exhausted. Taking a career break made me realize that when you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t need to be pushed: your passion will drive you there. Growing often mean outgrowing: relationships, habit, hobbies, needs and old versions of ourselves. How sweet is it to wake up feeling energized and enthusiastic, knowing that you have an entire day ahead to do nothing else than what you truly love? Mastering a passion and taking it to the next level.
The quality of my time, the experiences I have lived in Paris, and the lessons I learned are priceless and something I wouldn’t ever trade. But I also believe that love and knowledge are meant to be shared. So here I am, a strong woman in Paris, a freshly bloomed flower, inviting you to walk with me during my journey in Paris, discovering the beauty of this incredible city and living La Vie en Rose.
Let me know in the comments, if you’ve have or ever considered taking a career break, and if so how taking a career break changed you. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.