Reclaiming Your Time: Embracing a Life You Love Beyond the Rat Race
Ep. 309
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In this episode, I dive into a powerful quote by Mary Oliver that really struck a chord with me: “Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?” We often get caught up in the routine of doing what we think we should, leading to a life of unfulfillment. This episode is a call to reassess our lives, to prioritize joy, rest, and intentional living over constant productivity and societal expectations. And we don’t have to do so with drastic changes but by making intentional ones to create a fulfilling life. Listen for my journey and practical steps to help you breathe more deeply, find what truly makes you happy, and start living a life you love today.

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons from a Quitter, where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are. If ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams. Hello my friends and welcome to another episode. I'm so excited that you are here. How are you all doing? I'm doing great. I don't normally base an entire podcast off of a quote. You know, we see so many quotes kind of floating around on Instagram, but I saw this quote and it sort of was the gut punch that I needed that day. And it's, I think a primary motivation of the work that I do. It's something that I think we all need reminding of once in a while.
And so I wanted to talk about it today. I wanted to bring it to the podcast because I just think it's so important for us to constantly bring ourselves back to this. And the quote is by Mary Oliver, the poet, who tends to have some incredible kind of gut punch poems and lines that really stop you in your track. So if you haven't read her poetry, I would highly suggest it. But part of one of her poems, I just saw this line and it said, listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? And so many of us are doing that. So many of us are doing all the things that we're supposed to do and we're going through the motions every single day. And we are deeply unfulfilled, often deeply unhappy. And we know that this can't be it. And yet we don't know what to do.
We sort of get caught in what we're supposed to do, what's expected of us, what we have capacity to do. And then we call that a life. And I think about this often with my own life and how I'm gonna think about it when I look back, when I look back in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, I know that it, it was this type of a question that sort of jolted me out of wanting to continue being a lawyer when I was a lawyer. Um, I know I was so deeply unhappy and when I thought about it and I thought, I'm gonna do this for another 30 years and I'm gonna look back and think what I did this, I did what I was supposed to do. I was quote unquote successful. I did what everybody thought I should do and that was my life.
And I was deeply unhappy as I was doing it year after year. I was doing it because yeah, it made money. And listen, I'm not doubting that we need money to live and that we need money to make our lives go round. And that requires us to do something um, that we may not wanna do all the time. But I want you to really sit with this quote for a second. I want you to really think about it, about your own life. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? A lot of the work that I do in the Quitter Club in my membership and with my clients is getting us to do less. It's not about even switching your job or finding a different career. A lot of people come to me 'cause they hate their career and whether they're disappointed or not, um, I'm not really sure.
But I think when they come into the club, they realize a lot of what we work on is not actually your career. It's how you're approaching your life. It's how you're approaching your job right now. 'cause so many of us have allowed all of the things that we should do, all of the things that we're told we're supposed to do, all of the things that we're not even asked to do, but we just think it makes us a good mother or husband or son or daughter or employee or whatnot. We take those things on and we take on more and more and more until we have nothing left to live the life that we want. And I see so many people that are so beyond burned out and don't have capacity for anything else, and they sit and wonder like, how can I do the things that I wanna do?
How can I have time for fun or joy or rest or to just be? And my answer is always to do less. I think we have a society that is just chronically overworked in every arena, not just in work, right? In our home lives with our children, with our spouses, with our health, with everything, everything online is all of the things you should do. How to be more productive. How to out on this, how to have a 10 step morning routine. How to have a 10 step evening routine. How to read more, how to listen on two times the speed so you can listen to that audiobook faster. We're constantly living in this heightened environment of more and more and more. And that's creating less of a life, right? I feel like most of us aren't even breathing just a little. We're barely breathing. We don't have the capacity to like take in a full breath and release that breath.
Like, when did you do that last? When did you unc unclench your shoulders and just like, look around. When was the last time that you didn't just reach for your phone when you were sitting maybe at a stop sign or whatever? When did you observe the world around you? When was the last time you just laid and you know, watched trees blowing in the wind? I'm not saying that's what you need to do, but I just think for so many of us we're so overwhelmed. And the solution to that is not how do I find more time to be productive? How do I get up earlier? How do I need less sleep? How do I, you know, maximize my morning routine so I can get more done? It's how do I do less and how do I figure out what's important in my life? How do I find time to breathe?
How do I create that life that I want? And you don't have to change your job to do that. One of the things I work on mostly with people is figuring out those boundaries at work is figuring out like if I signed up for a transactional job. And what I mean by that is transactional relationship where they pay me in order to do a certain amount of work. Okay, I signed up for this. When did I decide that I'm gonna give them my nights and weekends too, right? When did I decide that I'm going to stress about this and think about everything that I have to do and get started earlier and stay later and jump on my email again? Like when did that be become okay? And it is not to say that some employers don't now expect that, but it's still my own question of like, am I gonna give that?
Is this the right place for me? If that's what's expected? Is this the life that I want? Like I have to constantly ask myself that question because you constantly get to choose even if you've chosen something before. I think the biggest premise of this platform and the podcast and my work is that you constantly get to rechoose, you get to quit. You get to decide no longer I don't want this. And I don't just mean quit your job. I mean quit. What's not working, quit what's making you miserable. Quit giving into society standards of what a mother should be doing at all times for her children, right? Quit what an employee should be doing, you know, in order to be the best employee. Maybe I don't need to be the best employee. Maybe I don't need to get an a plus and everything. Maybe I don't need that star employee award, right?
To feel validated and feel okay, maybe I can start being okay with like I'm giving what I need to give in order to make this paycheck and then I'm using the rest of my time. I'm learning that like I log off at five or at six and I don't check my email anymore. And what do I do with that time at home, right? What do I do with those evenings? Am I just scrolling for hours and no shade? I scroll for hours, it's a conversation for another time, addictiveness of our phones. But I truly just constantly take inventory of my own life and I ask, am I breathing just a little and calling this a life? Is this what I want? What do I need more of? That is one of the best questions you can ever ask yourself. What do I need more of?
And how do I give that to myself? Do I need more joy? Do I need more fun? Do I need more spontaneity? Do I need connection? Do I need rest, right? Do I need silence? Do I need some boredom? What is it that I am missing in my life until I can take stock of that, I can't figure out how am I gonna get more of that in? How do I start doing that in baby steps? I don't need to change everything. I don't need to upend my whole life and quit my job and go build a business and make millions of dollars and do all that stuff to slow it down. What's really fascinating is, like for me, I sort of knew this, I think we all inherently know this in some way, but it takes reminding over and over again, and I think it takes this lesson over and over again, is whatever I thought I needed in order to be happy, everything that it comes down to are things that are typically free or cheap or don't require a lot, or it doesn't need me to be a different person or to have, you know, an insane amount of money in order to have, it's like I look at like what brings me the most joy in my life, right?
What are the things that bring me the most happiness that I'm most grateful for? And oftentimes it's the relationships that I have. It's things like going for a walk in the sun, going down to the beach and being able to listen to the ocean, put my feet in the sand. I live in California so that's easier for me. Maybe for some of you it might be, you know, taking a hike in the mountains or in nature. Nature tends to be for a lot of us, a place where it regulates our dysregulated bodies. And it is, you know, being proven by science to be so important for so many of us and we lack it. And a lot of times in these urban settings, it could be just having a good cup of coffee. I've talked about this before, often times when I was like kind of really figuring out what is my best life.
Like if I thought about what my best day could be, a lot of it was things I could do was like, I wanna wake up without an alarm clock and I wanna kind of sleep in and let myself get up and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book or sitting out in my backyard and enjoying a cup of coffee slowly while it's still warm, right? And again, that can't be every day and I have to get kids to school and some of us have to get up for meetings and stuff, but can I do it on like a Saturday? Can I do it without feeling guilty? Because oftentimes even when we can do it, we don't let ourselves, because we have all the shoulds, no, I should be getting up. I should be going for a run first. I should have my 10 step morning routine.
I should get the kids ready. I should, you know, start on work. I should get caught up on this. What if you shouldn't? What if you should just decide what it is that you wanna do today and just do that without guilt knowing that like that is the life I want. That is the life I'm creating. And it takes that intentionality because for so many of us, we have been programmed in a hustle culture, in a productivity obsessed culture that requires us to cram so much in every single day, right? Not just in work, but as soon as we get home and with our nights and should I be building that side hustle? And what happens is for so many of us, we end up just numbing out on our phone because there's so much choice and there's so much stimulation and there's so many shoulds and there's so many, you know, expectations that it's too much to take.
And my question to you, I guess my challenge to you is like, what if you didn't have to do any of that? What if we got to slow it down a little bit? Because when I think of this sentence and I think listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life? I think all of Mary Oliver's poetry is not actually about doing more and going out and building the business and being a boss babe and making millions of dollars. That's all great. You wanna do that? You should do that. You should make all the money you want. I want that for you. But it's not about that. It's about what are the things that actually bring me joy if I really break it down and I really get real with myself, when is it that I feel at most peace? When is it that I feel the most alive?
When is it that I feel the most free? When is it when I feel the most happy? Now that's not gonna be something I can do every day and I don't need to, but can I have more of it in my life? Can I start interjecting it in places in my life that it's been gone too long? Because I, what I worry about when I see people when they're on the brink of burnout, or they find themselves in these cycles, is that all of the other stuff has just taken over all of the work and the worry and anxiety and the stress and the doing and the tasks and the chores, all of it has taken over and there's no more space for the things that make me happy. There's just the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, which is what creates so much kind of hopelessness, right?
It's like every day becomes this groundhogs day of things that have to get done. And again, I'm not saying they don't have to get done, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Sometimes you can ask yourself like, is this something that someone else can take care of that I can delegate to? And I want you to really question that. If your mind is saying like, no, I have to do it, do you really? Or is it things that we just don't even need to get done? Are they things that like maybe you know, the kids' playroom is just gonna be messy. Maybe it doesn't need to get picked up this weekend. Maybe we can delegate out a task instead of me doing it all the time. Maybe we can hire help. I don't know. Whatever is possible for people. I think a lot of times, even if we have the means to do it, or even if we can do it, we tell ourselves we shouldn't.
I shouldn't because you know, a good mom or a good wife or a good employee doesn't do this. I don't ask for help. I should be able to do it all on my own. And that should is the fastest way to create a life that you wanna escape from to create a life that creates so much resentment that creates so much bitterness, that creates so much anger. And then you look back and you think, for what I wasted 10 years, 20 years, 30 years of my life for what? And so I want you to start thinking about like how can you interject just little bits to five minutes a day, 10 minutes a day of joy, 10 minutes of rest without guilt, right? 30 minutes, an hour. How do I decide like, hey, maybe tonight I don't need to do anything else. I don't need to pick up around the house.
The house doesn't need to be organized or I don't need to start that side hustle. Or I don't need to. I need to do the thing that I wanna do. Maybe I need to connect with friends, maybe I wanna have friends over and it doesn't need to be perfect and I don't need to be the hostess with the mostest and I don't have to have the cleanest house, but I just get to have them over because I want to connect with them. Or maybe it's, I just wanna sit and read in peace and I can say that to my kids like, you cannot disrupt me for the next 30 minutes, right? Maybe that's something I would've never done before, but that's what I need in order to become the person that I wanna be in my life. I'm telling you, this is the best thing that you can do, not just for yourself but for the people around you.
The ripple of effect that this has on your community is so profound. And I say this as someone who did this for myself, who went from having a life where I thought it was all the things I should do, all the things I should do to be a good lawyer, to be a success, to be a good wife, to be a good mother, how much I was killing myself and how miserable I was, how depressed I was, right? Like how upset I was at like this cannot be it. And slowly but surely kind of clawing back at that of like, I don't wanna do this. I don't need to, you know, make all the home cooked meals. Maybe I order out or I have someone else do it, or I delegated to my husband. Maybe I just need this amount of time to do nothing.
Or to be out in nature or to talk to my friends, or to have a hot cup of coffee or to go for a walk or to listen to podcasts or whatever it is. I want you to really think about what is it that you would need to look back in 20 years and think like, yeah, that was a life, that was the life I created and I'm proud of it and I'm happy and I got to enjoy it and I got to be present for it. And I wasn't always working towards one day. One day when I make enough money one day when I have this job, one day when I have the promotion one day when my kids are older, one day when there's less chaos then then I can relax. It's the biggest lie we tell ourselves. I was realizing this, like I feel like I was constantly waiting.
Like one day when it calms down, like when the kid's sports finish, it'll get calmer when the school is out. We'll have more time when you know this launch is over. When this deadline comes, then I can kind of breathe. And then I realized, but it's never gonna come. 'cause then the next thing happens and the next thing and the next thing. And how beautiful that is because that is also my life, right? The craziness of having kids and the craziness of having a business and the craziness of having a marriage and the craziness of having family and all of that adds a certain dimension and can be very beautiful but also can be too much when you're trying to be perfect at it all. When you're trying to do all the things for all the people and try to be like the super human version of yourself.
And I'm telling you, when you look back, you won't think like, well I'm so glad I made all the home cooked meals and made all the projects and said yes to every assignment my manager asked for. Even though it was over capacity. And like how great that I just took on way more than any one person should. You're gonna look back and think like, where did my life go? What did I do on all those nights and weekends or the times off that I had or my vacations? Why wasn't I present? Why wasn't I enjoying it? Why was I waiting until I get there? Where was there? Because I promise you, my friends, like right now, right here today with the life that you have, with the brain that you have, with the, you know, way that you are, this is your life. Not tomorrow, not in the future.
It's right now. And so many of us miss it 'cause we're so, so obsessed with setting ourselves up for something that we don't realize. The enjoyment comes within the chaos when we make time for it, when we find ways to enjoy it. And like I said in the beginning, it's not to say that we can disengage from all of society. I mean you can, some people are doing that. You can go, you know, live in the woods, you can, people like sell off their stuff and go kind of live in a van and drive around the country or whatever. I mean there's lots of things that you could do, but assuming you don't want to, it's not to say that you have to, you know, forego all of modern society because it's not conducive to kind of healthy living. It's constantly questioning how can I do it within it?
How can I create a life within this framework, within this structure? What are some of the things that I can reject, right? What are some of the things that I can decide, like no more. I don't need to do all the things. I don't need to be on call all the time. I'm not saving lives here. I don't need to answer emails immediately. One of the things that I get all the time is like, well I'm gonna get fired or I can't do that because like somebody needs me. And I want you to really question that too. Like, is that true? Now there's some jobs that it is true, there's some jobs that are paying you a very high dollar amount because you are basically on call. Okay? Then the question becomes like, do I wanna stay there? Is that the type of life I wanna have?
Because as long as I'm there and I can decide to stay for a year or two, kind of have a plan of how long I'm gonna do this, totally fine. But what I have found is for the most part, these are self-imposed because we want to be liked because we want to be seen as a good employee because we've been raised to be the, you know, a plus student, to get the pat on our head and be told like how great we're doing. 'cause we're so terrified that someone doesn't like us. We're so terrified that someone's gonna be like, what I asked you to do this. When I say jump, you're supposed to say how high. And we've been programmed and trained to do that. And so we give up everything else in our lives in order to fit this ideal. I constantly rail against like what the, you know, ideal and the standard for motherhood is now because they how impossible it is.
How with social media and this comparison and Pinterest and all these ideas, how mothers who are like working, who have less time, spend way more time with their kids than mothers who were stay-at-home moms in the seventies and sixties, you know, did. And we've created that standard and no one is making us except for ourselves. And it requires us to say like, no, I don't need to be the star employee. I don't need you to love me. I don't need to be mother of the year on Pinterest. I need to love my kids. I need to show up. I need to be here for them when I can. I need to do what I need to do. But the best thing for my kids is for me to not be a resentful, bitter mother, right? It is for me to be a well-rested person who can show up not crazy , the best thing for my employer is for me to not burn out and wanna quit 'cause I'm so miserable.
The best thing for them is for me to be able to balance the amount of work I need to do with having a life that actually makes me a functioning human being. And so I want you to question that. If your brain is going to like, well that sounds nice, but I can't do that because I have to, blah, blah, blah. Do you really? Do you have to do all of the things that you're doing? And I want you to like go there. Like if I didn't do these things, what would happen? What is the real effect? Is it someone's gonna judge? Is it someone's gonna have a thought about me? Is it that it makes me uncomfortable? Why do I have the need to be perfect or to be good or to be liked or whatnot? That's what most of us have to work on.
Being okay, disappointing others, being okay if other people don't get access to all of our labor all the time. I promise you. Like learning how to do that is the only way to create the work life balance you want. There's no way to have this elusive work life balance while constantly trying to make sure that no one ever feels disappointment or no one ever feels let down or everything is always taken care of and you never ask for help. Those two things cannot exist. And so the sooner you start realizing like it is my job to protect my own balance, it is my job to create the life that I want. And that might require disappointing some people. It becomes easier to carve out smaller portions of time to do that. And so this is just my reminder to you to really ask like, am I breathing just a little and calling it a life?
And if I am, what is the life that I want? And how do I go about creating that in small baby steps? I don't have to upend everything, but what's one thing I can do? How's 10 minutes I can find? What's 30 minutes a day that I can find for myself to do what I want without guilt, without shame, without feeling like I'm letting people down because I deserve it? How can I start knowing that my friends, I want you to go out there and create the life that you want right now. Not when you need to change the job or make a certain amount or have the promotion or the business or what. Like today, right now in this life that I have, what can I do to find the thing that I need? The joy, the rest, the connection, the love. Because it's there.
It's there for the taking. And we just let day by day go by with all the shoulds. And as soon as you start seeing that those shoulds are just kind of self-imposed, the rest of your life begins. So I hope you go out there and you create a life that you're so proud of and that you love living in, that you don't need an escape from that you don't need to work towards changing. 'cause you can have that right now. And if you need help creating that, I want you to join me in my membership, the Quitter Club. This is honestly, I think one of the main things I work on with people. People come because they wanna quit their jobs or they hate their jobs. But one of the things that I work on with you first is how do we make it enjoyable where you're at?
And that is by setting boundaries, by finding time, by taking back what is rightfully yours, by dealing with these impossible standards of perfectionism that we've set for ourselves so that no matter where you go, you have those tools, you can create that. And we don't need to wait until you know you've paid off your debt and you can leave the job or whatnot. We can start doing that right now. So if you need help with that, you can go to and come join me. And if not, just find 15 minutes this week every day to give yourself whatever it is that you need. All right, my friends, I hope this was helpful and I'll see you next week for another episode. Hey, if you are looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of the stress, worry, and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in the Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working like perfectionism, people pleasing imposter syndrome, and we start working on what does, and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life, and you will get the coaching tools and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to and get on the wait list. Doors are closed right now, but they will be open soon.