Why Being Unemployed Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

January 17, 2022

Before I started my pilgrimage on the El Camino in h mountains, I randomly resigned from my corporate job which made me hate almost every minute of my life. I made good money and was able to provide myself with everything I wanted and even more, but I never felt appreciated or even treated as a human most of the time.

Somehow I believe that was the last push from the Universe. I was planning this step for at least a year but never had the gut to do it because this decision made my knees go weak when thinking about the future. But that moment I was fed up, that was it! I was convinced it was divine timing—I would be wandering for at least two months without even knowing what to do with my life afterwards, but I hoped I’ll come back with a clear(er) vision of what I want to do.

Since I returned home, I have been unemployed. Mainly because I do not with to apply to any kind of full-time jobs that I managed to get away from and I’m also lucky enough to do this. I have roof above my head, a comfortable bed, healthy food to eat every day and a support system behind my back. Sure, the money is a little tight but we’ll get back to this.

Yet being unemployed is something that is viewed as shameful in the society I live in. It’s an enormous stigma—like failing in life. But turned out, it is exactly the opposite. In my personal experience, it’s one of the best things ever happened to me (of course, I possibly wouldn’t think so without having my basic needs met—as many people around the world don’t have this luxury.) Frankly, when I came back from the Camino, I was more confused about what I want to do with my life. Surprisingly, my unemployment was what created the opportunity to figure this out and finally get clear about my goals in my life and my coaching business.

Here’s how it helped me and how you can turn an unfortunate situation into a blessing:

Being unemployed gives you time to reconnect

Despite working from home office in the past 1.5 years (which spared me a good 3 hours daily), I still felt like I just never have enough hours in the day to get things done—work, personal commitments to my mental and physical health, daily tasks such as grocery shopping, meeting people and trying to have some fun every now and then. By the end of the day, all this did to me was burning me out. Since I have so much time I can connect to myself more deeply. And this deeper connection to myself through my daily practices (which was nothing like the Camino days hence I couldn’t figure these things out there) allowed me to find my true strengths, likes, needs and wants. The restless urge that usually propelled me to race through life in Budapest—ticking off the latest vegan restaurants, exploding through the door of social occasions, spending days tormented by what I could have said, etc—suddenly faded away, became gentler, and I began to understand how I could live simply, in harmony with my own authenticity.

I noticed I eat more mindfully—I make better choices by food and ingredients, I notice the vibrant colors of my food, I chew more slowly and am more aware of the whole eating process. I also stopped watching YouTube videos during meals, because I have the time to watch it after. Even my morning yoga and meditation sessions changed —there’s no urge to keep checking my watch to be on time to work, or cutting my practice short to fit it in the day. I even started to notice the softness of my sheets as I wake up every morning according to my biological clock. I notice the birds singing. I have frequent walks in the nearby forest or I just sit and meditate to the sound of buzzing bees in the meadows. I descend into hysterical laughter several times a day with my 15-year- old little sister. Not to mention how much sharper and open my brain feels—I’m more creative, receptive and active throughout the whole day.

Finding true values

As I mentioned above, when you’re unemployed the money is a little tight (unless you have a great amount of savings) but cutting back on my budget was another blessing in disguise. I had to sell some stuff which I haven’t used: my old amp, my ukulele, my induction cooker, many clothes, and an iron and a commode. I also gave away many unwanted stuff I couldn’t sell to charities so it would be easier to move out from my apartment which I couldn’t afford any longer, and moved back to my parents’ village home. As I had to go through all my belongings I realized most of the stuff I never really needed: I didn’t wear about 70% of my closet because they were work clothes and since WFH, I lived in yoga pants and band t-shirts. I already experienced the beauty of owning just little while I was on the Camino (I lived off of a 30L backpack) and I knew this is something I want to keep in my life: having more by owning less—yet the actual amount of belongings (even after selling and giving away most of them) shocked me. Ever since I keep finding more and more things in my life which I could easily give away and in return I have more space for creativity and simplicity in my life.

Gaining my confidence back

Now that there is time to connect back to myself and my core values, I created the clear picture of how my life should be (according to me and not society standards—which can create friction with others) and to reach this life this renewed connection with my Self helped me to gain confidence to get there. I got so far in life and survived every trauma and hardship, why wouldn’t I win in this, too? I would lie if I’d say that I don’t have insecure moments when my ego gets in the front and freaks out about finances or get bored or even mad at the world, but I always remind myself of the greater goal and that I am capable of everything. Confidence in yourself is that little extra that will you push towards the next level.

Create your reality

Isn’t it some annoying cliché you keep hearing from everywhere nowadays? Well, might be annoying, but it’s true. You have to move your ass from the couch and get things going. So many people I know who have been unemployed made the same mistake, which I did too at the beginning—and for a short time it’s okay to be lazy and rest, but at one point you have to get back into motion and not allow your unemployed days to become an endless holiday. You can’t sit around waiting for your dream job to miraculously fall into your lap. The more you sit on the comfy couch, abandoning your workouts, not leaving the house, not brushing your hair and so on, the further you’ll get from the life you want to have. You have to embody the energy of your dream life as much as you can and keep working for it every day. Don’t worry, you don’t have to build Rome in a day. One brick a day is progress too, and you’ll get better in building with each laid brick.

If you use your time off the hamster wheel to do some soul-searching, gain the courage to step into your greatness, and actually get up and move, you might find that being unemployed may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. It certainly was for me. This time  allows you to take the time to find yourself, find your interests, and find what will truly makes you happier. Seize the opportunity.

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Photo: Nathan McBride via Unsplash

Imola is a Hatha and Ashtanga yoga teacher, tree planter and writer and editor of Raised by the Wolf, an online magazine for Wild Women, with a passion for exploring and life outdoors. Originally from Hungary but currently planting trees and rewilding the enchanting forests of France. Hop over to RBTW magazine, and blog and follow her on Instagram @yogiraisedbythewolf


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