Asked to cut my paycheck in half — One of my best decisions ever

This might sound weird, but I just asked my company to cut my paycheck in half, and it feels great. I believe it’s one of my best decisions yet.

You know that saying of “lifting the weight off one’s shoulder”? It literally feels like that. Today I woke up losing a kilo even though I have been chugging ice cream before bed every day (please don’t judge me this quarantine life is not easy). I swam 20 laps effortlessly compared to me barely making 10 laps before without feeling exhausted. I feel light, relieved, and free.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

Your past created today’s you

I know how lucky I am to have the privilege of cutting my income in half and still have enough money to buy more ice cream when I want (I can’t have enough of Mocha almond). But that hasn’t always been the case.

Since I was 17, I’ve been the only source of income for my family due to the bankruptcy of my mom’s business. We had a massive amount of debt to pay off, a lifestyle my mom wanted to maintain, and a university payment that was just beginning.

Being the only breadwinner for my family since that young age shaped me to be who I am today. I’m proud of how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come in my career. Those tough days pushed me to always be reliable and perpetually aim for a higher standard. This drive and mindset resulted in a high quality of work and excellent client feedback, which I love and am proud of.

But this experience also affected my life in a concerning way. I made all my decisions based on guilt, self-doubt, fear, and anxiety. No matter how much money I make, I still feel like I’m on the edge of going bankrupt. I got stuck in miserable jobs because I felt like I couldn’t afford the luxury of doing something I love. I needed financial security for my mom. How would I have time to even think about what I want to do?

The whole situation tortured my inner soul that screamed for freedom and passion. I was always in emotional pain, no matter how many times I changed my job. I even thought of buying a 3D printer as my next shopping item, so I can print a suicide pod (yes, that’s a real thing) to shut myself down when I want. I was so tired and frustrated all the time, and the idea of printing a nitrogen release pod seemed better than eating more ice cream. Recently I realized that the reason for my sorrow was that I always make the same mistakes, ignore how I feel, and go for a reasonable option.

But your past doesn’t have to determine your future

With the help of my friend, my partner, and an excellent personality test, I realized that I don’t need to be in that suffering loop anymore. Life is not about getting by safely and painfully. Life is more than just working to have enough money to buy food, then using the energy from that food to go back to work.

Life can be fun, passionate, and challenging. But that’s not going to come from changing my job or making more money.

So I decided that I’ll make the change starting now. I called my client right away to tell him that I wanted to cut my income in half. I also came up with a list on my whiteboard, showing what I like and don’t like about this job. Moreover, I explained how I want to work going forward. I pointed out things that I hate about working here and told him that we need to get help on those things; otherwise, he’s checking me in the mental health institution real soon. After all, having the right person to do the right job will be the best thing for both the company and me anyway.

Let me tell you that he and I have an open and honest relationship after working together for almost 5 months. Still, that conversation was terrifying. I felt so guilty about the idea of even talking to him about my feelings at 10pm. As you know, I did (probably could have waited until the morning, but that didn’t seem like an option at the time).

It turned out amazing. He was so understanding and empathetic. We agreed on the solution quickly, and it felt unbelievably incredible. I felt brave like I had a lion heart beating inside me. That was a significant breakthrough for someone that has a 10/10 empathy level and used guilt as the primary motivation in life.

Changing is a process

I know that I’ll make the same mistakes again. I’m aware that the people-pleasing personality in me will not just go away in one night. I recognize that my guilt motivator will not just vanish. But you know what? I’m confident that I’m getting better.

The process of believing in myself started yesterday. It’s the beginning of learning about me and my needs. It’s a journey to live passionately, to love without fear, and to make a positive impact with no hesitation.

I realized that I can put all my spirit and strength on something I love instead of rubbing against bearable things. I want to inspire people positively, and this blog is a start.

Don’t be afraid

I said before that I have the luxury of halving my income. But other than that, it’s a choice. And you have the right to make choices as well. If you don’t like what you are doing, change. Spend part of your 20,000 days in this world wisely. Like it or not, we are already here. Don’t be in a movie scene where a man got stuck in a monotonous life loop and settles with it. Those scenes with greyscale images and sad piano music.

Be in that scene where a lively young woman just falls in love and is riding her bike down the flower garden. That scene with the brightest popping color and sparkling music. The kind that brightens your day and lifts your soul. Let’s create that life scene of yours starting today.

And you know what? That’s real security. It’s not about living a torturous day to make enough money to be financially stable. It’s doing what you love, being good at it, finding someone that appreciates and pays you for it, that will give you the real, sustainable security. No more stress chugging a quart of ice cream. Instead, let’s enjoy every bite of this amazing dessert blissfully :)

If I can shift my 10 years of anxious, fragile mental state to be a brave lion spirit. You can do it too!

Foodie. Product Owner. Writer. Digital Nomad. https://chalakornberg.com/

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