“Why would you give up your comfortable life?” I asked Raine* (not her real name) upon hearing her decision to move to Australia after living quite a high profile life in the Philippines.
Her life was one that I envisioned for myself as I entered the workforce: she was a PR manager in one of the top agencies in the country, had a solid group of friends, and had celebrity connections. She had quite the Instagram perfect life so I was surprised when she told me that she was jumping ship to a new land where she barely knew anyone.
Weeks prior to embarking on her new journey, she had a peace within her that I never saw before. When faced with the questions I asked, instead of worrying, she had a mix of excitement and curiosity.
“Carla, my life is not comfortable here. Of course, there’s the cars, the comfort of family but I have been stressed out since I started working simply because I don’t know what’s next,” she began.
Raine goes on to share the side of her life that nobody sees, “There’s so much pressure. There’s
pressure to look good, to wear the right things, to say the right things.
“To be constantly be on top of your game has trade-offs. It’s coming home late, getting up early so you don’t get stuck in horrendous traffic, not seeing your family, sacrificing weekends, and just being generally unhappy because work always made me feel like I was inadequate—there was always something to do and I just wanted it to stop. Everything was constantly in motion and I couldn’t get out of it because if I did, my perfectly constructed life will fall apart.”
Raine admits that maybe all she needed was a vacation but she has had one before and coming back to her ordinary life only cemented the fact that she wanted out.
For others, her decision to live her “posh” life of parties, high-end bags, and beautiful clothes was stupid. But for her, it was the change that she just needed. She left with more than just a ticket, she left with a courage she never quite knew she had before.
Three months after she left for her journey, I touched base with her anew. While she may have been marred by the challenges of moving to another country, she was still as optimistic as ever.
“I cook my own food now,” Raine told me with a little humor in her voice. The once glorified PR manager was starting out as someone else’s assistant.
While there are days when she feels sorry for herself for leaving all the glamour behind, she says there’s one thing that she cherishes above all and that is peace.
With her voice filled with wisdom she explains, “I was so sheltered. Yes, I worked hard to reach the pinnacle of what I thought was a Devil Wears Prada life but I felt so unfulfilled and unhappy. My life wasn’t full at all. It was all about my Instagram game and what I had better than the other. Starting over has forced me to begin at the bottom and to leave behind anything that didn’t give me joy.”
Raine goes on to say that now, it’s the little things that make her happy and it was liberating to walk into a room and not have to be anyone but herself.
And while she misses her family, there’s a slow and steady pace in her life that wasn’t there before,
“There’s nothing to prove you know. People don’t know me here, they don’t know my family, my achievements, nothing. I’m just a regular girl trying to make it in a bigger pond. It’s liberating.”
When asked if she missed the perks of being a boss, she says, “You know there’s professional pride that is hurt when you go from being the one who approves things to the one who gets coffee. But I was so young to be confined by it. If anything this new life of mine is giving me, it’s the courage to hunger for more and get myself out of this box.”
A woman of strong faith, Raine also regards this season as a pruning stage, “I was your typical prideful semi-millenial who let her job and her salary define who she was. It was such a high-pressure lifestyle because I placed my worth in things that were not of value at all. There was so much unhappiness because I forgot the core of who I was.
“Now, in this season, I am getting back to who God wants me to be and in that, I find joy. Success will come again because I am too stubborn to be defeated, my dad embedded that in me. But this time around, I know that that success, if from God will ultimately be more fulfilling.”