Eff The Naysayers

When I slowly started telling people about quitting my job and traveling for a few months, the reactions were varied, but fell under one of two categories:

“Oh man! That’s so awesome!! Tell me more.”

And, “Oh, well that’s.. neat?”

wondering wandering

This was something that I’d been dreaming up for years, and planning for months and months. I kept this secret so that I could have one big happy announcement where I got to say, “YES! I am finally going to pursue what I love and see what it morphs into. Even if I fall flat on my face, at least I’ve tried it!” I wanted people to be excited that I was so excited to chase my dream. After all, I was born in the land of opportunity, where we’re taught from infancy that we can do and be anything we can dream. There were never any stipulations; no “within reason” clauses.

To that end, I’ve never been a “traditional” lady. Growing up, I didn’t dream of my wedding day or my perfect husband; I didn’t pick out kids’ names and coo over baby clothing and such; I didn’t imagine myself working tirelessly in a cubicle just for a paycheck and to contribute to my 401K. I’m not saying any of those things are wrong for other people, but they’ve never been right for me.


I can’t say why people sometimes react negatively to news that you are so happy about (job promotions or raises; moving to a new company; traveling the world). I wonder if it’s part jealousy; or a lack of understanding; or if some people feel like perhaps it’s a personal affront to the choices they’ve made in their lives.

My decision to shirk my “responsibilities” is not in any way a “fuck you” to the more traditional lives that others have chosen. That’s just not a life I’d be happy with. And I know–because I’ve tried. I’ve tried on for size cohabitation and living a domestic life; I’ve toyed with the idea of babies; and I have lived in a cubicle for nine years. Nine long, long years. All those things have taught me is that it’s not right for me. At least not right now. I don’t know how I’ll feel in a year. Hell, I don’t even know how I’ll feel in an hour.. but at this exact moment, I know that life isn’t right for me.

Yet, every time one of those less-than-enthusiastic reactions was spewed at me, I could feel myself sort of sinking lower and lower. Wondering if maybe I’d done something stupid in quitting my job, uprooting my entire life, and going it alone in foreign countries for several months. It was around the point of being ready to eat my feelings (thanks for all the tempting coupon offers, Papa John’s) that I realized it’s okay that others aren’t as excited as I am. I’m not doing this for them; I’m doing this for me.

Yeah, Hell Yeah Unicorns

36 thoughts on “Eff The Naysayers

  1. Glad you’re taking the “Fuck off” attitude with negative people. Your life, live it. I am starting to shift my thinking and plans to do the same.

    • Good! I think at some point in your maturation process, you start thinking less about other people’s opinions and start doing things for yourself.

  2. “…or if some people feel like perhaps it’s a personal affront to the choices they’ve made in their lives” – I think you’ve hit it right on the head Megan. I made the mistake a few years ago of telling my father that we hoped to retire early to travel and he looked at me like I had a bird sitting on my head and taking a shit. And it’s true, when people do that it just makes you feel like crap and makes you wonder if there’s something wrong with you. I totally understand and sympathize with your post.
    We decided not to tell anyone until we’ve rented out the condo and packed our bags (summer 2014 :))
    Nice post!
    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted..Guide to visiting Tadoussac, QuebecMy Profile

    • Good for you, Frank! :) Honestly, I can’t say that there isn’t something wrong with me, but at least I know I’ve made a decision for myself right now that will make me happier. And it sucks when other people can’t get on board with your plans, but you can’t let them stop you!

  3. Great post Megan.

    I remember being so shocked at the negative responses to us moving abroad – in my mind, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do and I couldn’t understand those that didn’t agree. I think now I’ve found a balance – clearly, this is the life for us right now and I understand that everyone doesn’t see it’s benefits. But, like you said, I’m doing this for me, not for them so I think it’s important to remain conscious of that!
    Jay recently posted..JeanMy Profile

    • Thanks, Jay! I can certainly understand where other people are coming from, but I guess I just don’t understand projecting the negativity about it. You may not agree with my decision, but you could at least feign some sort of happiness for me? Rather than saying something snarky about it, you know?

      And it seems like you and Joe have really made a great life for yourselves, so I’d say you did something right, too. :)

  4. I’ll never forget how stupid everyone told me I was for going to Japan the year after I graduated from high school. They said I would get behind in college and life and that it would be a wasted experience. Well it was one of the best damn years of my life and I have never not even once regretted it. Matter of fact I’ve never regretted any of the traveling I’ve done to Asia, Europe, or the UK, whether I had a kid in tow or not (something else everyone tells you not to do). The only thing I have to say about your four months of travel coming up is “Hell yeah!” But then you know how partial we are to baby unicorns. ;)

    • Haha, we do love our baby unicorns, Heather. ;) And I think even if I have the crappiest experience ever, at least it’s an experience I’ll have learned from, right? Plus, when I’m 60 and thinking back to this time in my life, I’d likely kick myself for not taking the opportunity and finding out what happens. (I already do that regarding a few other situations in my past that I didn’t jump on immediately!)

  5. It’s an interesting time, I think, with a lot of young professionals starting to realize there is more to life than having a nice job, getting married, having two kids and owning a home in the suburbs. I say that as someone who is married with one kid, has worked in the same office for six years and owns a home in the suburbs. We travel, a lot, and our suburban friends think it’s odd we don’t just do the trips to the beach or Disney. They also think it’s odd that we constantly hang out with our son in the big bad scary city instead of going to chain restaurants on Friday nights. There is no such thing as the perfect time to just pick up and move somewhere or travel for a bit. The best time is when you realize it’s time for you to do it, so it sounds like your timing is perfect.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Five Must Haves for Europe With KidsMy Profile

    • It seems like you and your wife have managed this great balance though, of having “normal” lives and still having travel. Plus, it’s an awesome experience for your son and I’m sure it’s also a great education for him.

      I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with the marriage, good job, kids, home ownership, etc. I mean, at one point I was on the “happy” path to all of that when I realized I was very unhappy with all of it. I just think that there are a lot of different paths for people to follow, and just because I’ve chosen to follow this one (for now), doesn’t mean that I think all other paths are garbage.. it’s just, as you mentioned, the perfect timing to follow this one.

  6. Two things: it’s true. Naysayers really do come off as jealous. But a part of them also worries about you. I don’t really know where you’re from. But you said 401k, so I’m assuming the states (you know, like the only place in the world that makes you pay out the nose for healthcare and rarely hand over a decent pension for living /rant). In some parts of the states, there are these protocols of living that people feel pressured to follow. Like Boston. I don’t even live in Boston. We went there for a weekend and I could feel the stifling air of having to follow a protocol of living. But, you know, it’s the norm. And people worry worry worry about the people they love. My grandma still worries about me… And I’m married and a 20-something.

    But then part 2: if you say eff the naysayers, why the post? Does a BIG part of you secretly worry too? Or think: wow, this is crazy, I can’t do this. Is telling the naysayers off a way to become more confident about your decision? I don’t think you’ll find all you need from the people who comment on your blog (like me. You won’t find anything from me to make you feel confident because we’re all a bunch of travelers). There are probably lots of silent readers hoping you go travel solo. They may never comment.

    I personally think it’s great you wrote this. Because there are people who are thinking the same thing you’re thinking and they need just as much of a push. But, I’ve always been of the mind that if something doesn’t bother me, it’s out of sight out of mind. And there’s no amount of naysayers who could possibly make me feel bad for my decisions. :) good luck to you. Don’t sweat the small stuff like all those crazy people who love the crap out of you enough to worry. :)
    Nicole recently posted..Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game in SapaMy Profile

    • Thanks for you comment, Nicole!

      As for part one–I get that a lot of people worry, but strangely, the people who worry (like my mom, who is already insistent that I call/text her OMG DAILY) are the ones who have been very supportive of my decision, encouraging me to absolutely follow this opportunity.

      Part two: Sure, I worry–but that’s also built into my DNA. I worry about every.single.thing. Even in my everyday corporate America life. That worrywart part of me is never going to leave, sadly. It’s been carefully passed down through the generations of women before me..

      But I wrote this post for two reasons, really: one–to tell those people who’ve not been supportive that I’m not crapping on their dreams to live a different life than mine (if that’s why they’ve been naysayers); and two–for others who encounter the same sort of reaction from people; you haven’t made this decision in order to please others.. you’ve done it to make yourself happy, and that’s something you need to remember when people are crapping on your dreams.

      It sounds like you’ve got a good philosophy of “out of sight, out of mind”. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten there quite yet. ;) I still dwell on little things other people say to me, allowing them to creep in a little and cause some self-doubt. I’m slowly getting over it, but it’s not something that happens overnight. :)

  7. I can’t imagine that people would be negative to your face. What am I talking about? Of course I can. The reality is that the majority of people in the world will make “traditional” choices. That being said, these same people won’t understand or support out-of-the-ordinary decisions. I feel sorry for them. Especially as it relates to travel. There isn’t a better experience or education than travel. Yet, look at how many people don’t ever leave the town where they grew up, yet alone travel the world. Their loss. Truly. When someone doubts your choice(s) consider the source. They are probably living a life that would in no way challenge or fulfill you. To each his/her own. Good for you for doing what works for you. I, for one, am extremely envious.

    • Thank you, Tamara. And you’re right–I need to just let the negativity roll off of me better. In the end, this is my decision and I have to be happy with it–doesn’t matter much what others think/say. :)

  8. There will always be those people who are negative. Some do it out of envy, others because they are so convinced there is only one way to live life.There are so many different ways people can choose to live their lives and I think it’s great you are taking a chance and following your dreams :) and in the end you do have to do what makes YOU happy.

    So pay no attention to the negative people and remember that haters gunna hate haha
    Brendon @ NerdTravels recently posted..My Totally Awesome Travel Plans For South East Asia!My Profile

  9. Amen Megan. Know that there will always be nay sayers anytime you go against the grain. Most people are afraid of being different, of change, of taking risks. You are not most people. Embrace that. And do understand that when you return, whenever that may be, these same people will still have a “meh” attitude towards you. You will quickly realize that nothing, for them anyway, has changed while you were away. I still remember my first day back to work after traveling for a year. I had cold sweats while having coffee with co-workers and listening to the same mundane banter. It was like I had not left at all and made me realize that I could have easily spent that year safe, comfortable, and unchanged without realizing a thing. That year of safety can easily turn into 30 years if you let it. That scares the bejezus out of me.

    I wrote an eBook that touches on this. Check it out if you are needing a confidence boost!
    Shaun recently posted..I’m a writer!My Profile

    • Exactly! I already let a few years turn into almost a decade of working.. I couldn’t let that pattern continue and still remain happy.

      A friend of mine recently reminded me that it’s an awful thing to be “normal” and to be like everyone else. Why would you want to be status quo and not stand out from a crowd? So, in light of your comment, I am embracing it. I don’t mind being different. :)

  10. Megan,
    Alan & I are so excited for you! This is the perfect time for you to follow your dream to travel on your own and see where life takes you! This opportunity might not come again, so take it! I can’t wait to read all about it and see what you discover!

    Hope we can meet up in Scotland!

    • Thanks, Nancy! I’ve yet to respond to your email. I try to get to that tomorrow!! (Sorry!) And I’ll catch up with you on Twitter to see whereabouts you are in Scotland right now. :)

  11. You know what, I’ve come acriss similar thoughts… most memorably in my own family. My sister is living the traditional life and I never thought it was my lifestyle, and I used to not understand her, but from the day I got it that she has found what makes her most happy in life, I could not be happier for her. Also, things change. Maybe you want a different lifestyle once you’ve done the travel thing for a while. Nothing is ever set in stone. No judgement. After all we are all just trying to pursue our idea of happiness.
    Mariella recently posted..Five Reasons Chicago Became My Favourite US CityMy Profile

    • You’re right, Mariella. I’ve no idea what I’ll want after this stint of traveling. I could decide that settling down is exactly what will make me happy, much like your sister. But at least I know I’m on the path to self discovery and determining what will make me happy in life. :)

  12. Part of it is probably jealousy. Part of it is probably a personal affront. And part of it is probably just plain being nervous for you. At least that’s what it’d be for me if you had told me this to my face. I’d wonder if you have enough money, if you’re setting yourself up for long-term success. I know that everyone’s idea of success is different, and certainly I’ve dealt with this as someone who has no desire to be rich in a city where everyone else seems to define themselves by what they own, but even I am a little concerned for your 401k. But ignore me, because I’ll be super-pumped for you once the travel stories start rolling in.

    • Hahah, thanks, Katie. And please try not to lose sleep over my 401k. It was mediocre to begin with. Plus, maybe I’ll end up in a place where 401ks are unnecessary and all of the worry will have been for naught.

      Travel stories are headed your way. :)

  13. I think sometimes the hardest thing in life to do is to be brave enough to live the life you want, even with the naysayers. Sometimes I still find it hard. I can’t say it will be easy, but I’m sure no matter what happens it will be worth it.

    • Thanks, Alouise. I’m sure it takes a lot of getting used to and a lot of skin thickening.. but I’m up for the challenge, because you’re right–it’ll be worth it! :)

  14. Love it! I still get negativity from (very close) friends and family. I think it’s largely a mis-understanding and jealousy issue. Not jealousy in the sense of “I want your life,” but more of a regret over the choices that they’ve made. But you know what- the grass is always greener for most people! I have the same feelings about friends with three children or very established careers! Not negativity, but almost a sense of – well- failure on my part…. Then I take a step back and realize that I’m happy with the choices I’ve made in my life. So yes, F the nay-sayers! I still use this mantra, because so many people think I need to go out and get a cubicle job stat instead of trying to be an entrepreneur. I HATED my former, cubicle life-style, like you did. Never again!
    Lindsay recently posted..Movie Monday: Iguazu FallsMy Profile

    • I think we’re kind of lucky, Lindsay–that we realized early on that the cubicle-dwelling lifestyle was not one for us! Can you imagine waking up sometime in your 50s and realizing that you wasted all those years in a cubicle doing something you hated when all along you could’ve been trying to make it work doing something you really love?

  15. “My decision to shirk my “responsibilities” is not in any way a “fuck you” to the more traditional lives that others have chosen.”
    I think this is exactly why so many people react negatively – they start thinking making life decisions for yourself are in some way passing judgements onto them. I don’t know why people take it so personally (unless they already feel sensitive to giving up their own dreams?) but I’m glad you’re not letting it affect you! It’s never about them but they always seem to think it is!
    Claire recently posted..Don’t Let Money Take Over Your LifeMy Profile

    • Thanks, Claire! Now that I’m a few weeks into it, things have gotten better and it seems like those negative people have sort of fallen through the woodwork. I think also, sometimes people want to see you fail a little, you know? Like they secretly root against you, hoping that you’ll just give up and go back to what you knew because it was all too hard or something, which might also make them feel better. But now that I’ve been at it for a month, those people don’t seem to have opinions any longer!

  16. Ugh, Claire, of COURSE it’s all about me. The universe revolves around me doesn’t it? Hahahahahaaha… MeganMeganMegan, a bit of self-doubt on day one, baby steps on day two, I’d say you’re off to a rollicking good start. Forgive yourself for having some human emotions (but NEVER actually admit to anyone that you are human, they’ll try and take advantage, let ’em continue to assume you’re a goddess)… People are the best and people are the worst. Eeeeeeeeeeeeverybody knows what’s best for everyone else, and yet their lives aren’t exactly stellar are they? You are exactly where you should be, doing exactly what you should be doing and you’re making all your own decisions exactly as God intended. YAY YOU!!!!! Self-doubts, second thoughts, a bit of lonliness, etc, all merely feelings and thank gawd feelings are temporary and smart people like you don’t let them rule your life. Don’t give the doubters free rent in your head – they certainly aren’t losing sleep over you. Do stick to those who uplift and edify you – stick with your fanclub. Those people ARE worth a visit in your head now and then (and they won’t linger there and get on your nerves). Life is good. You had a sort of boring decade (your words), you’ve decided not to follow it with another. Good for you! (I had 2 in a row, don’t recommend it…) But I’m determined to make Act II of my life much nicer than Act I… I’m glad you’re having a wonderful Act I.
    your fan, Jess

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