The Life Changing Experience That Led Us To Remote Work

If you ever feel stuck, just know that your whole world can change in an instant, even from just the smallest piece of an egg.

It was the summer of 2018 that our lives were going to change, forever. But of course, we didn’t know it at the time. It was on June 6th. I know this because it was our pup Henna’s first birthday. In between the nonstop partying (baking a pup cake and making a birthday hat) to celebrate her four little paws being born a year before, I managed to give myself pneumonia.

Yes, you read that right. I GAVE myself pneumonia. Let me explain.

So you see, prior to becoming a Digital Nomad, I had a “normal” day job and worked in an office for four years. I was a receptionist, and I spent my days doing clerical work, among other tedious work that nobody else had the time to do. I’ll save that for another blog post, but I was ready for a change, and little did I know that this egg was about to change my life forever. 

Shame inflicted self sabotage

Hard boiled egg: a great source of protein, delicious, convenient, but can clear a whole room the moment it’s cracked.

I used to bring two hard boiled eggs for breakfast, and eat one at a time to break up my mornings.

My coworker and I had this thing, where we would secretly eat our hard-boiled eggs in the communal office kitchen, incognito, so no one knew it was us who were stinking up the place. How silly, right? Hiding my breakfast from others?

Well, back then I cared about what other people thought of me, much more than I do now. No one could know it was ME eating this smelly egg. I had to discard the evidence as fast as humanly possible. 

But you see, I didn’t know how much time I had alone. It was a risky move – people always walked in and out of the kitchen sporadically. Once I cracked it, I heard footsteps coming, so I ate it pretty quickly. Too fast for my own good. So fast that I actually inhaled a piece of it, causing me to cough my brains out for about 10 minutes straight, blowing my own cover.

So about an hour after coughing my lungs up, I started feeling sick. Like fever kind of sick. One of my coworkers had mentioned to me earlier that day that she thought she was coming down with something. I figured something must have been going around the office, and I asked permission to go home. Of course, I felt guilty for going home, because I knew my co-worker was also in the same boat and stayed for the rest of the day. I didn’t want her to be mad that I went home when she felt sick before me.What can I say? I’m a people pleaser, and I used to put others before myself, ALOT. 

But something was wrong, and I was starting to feel sicker and sicker. I hopped in my car and drove to Panera to get some soup (mmm, I could really go for a cup of french onion right about now) and headed home to my apartment. I immediately took my temperature, and sure enough, I had a 101.2 fever. 

The next day I went to the doctor to see if I had the flu. That horrible flu test for no reason, because it wasn’t the flu. I later found out it was pneumonia.

You guys. I GAVE myself pneumonia when I inhaled that egg. Aspiration pneumonia, a lung infection that’s caused by aspirating (inhaling) food or liquid.

Oh, how awful those next two weeks were. I had a fever for NINE days. Do you know what it feels like to be burning up, while freezing, stuck inside and quarantined from all of society for almost two weeks? It flat out sucked.

And you know what sucked even more? We had to cancel our trip to Colorado, a nice nature-filled vacation that we were both looking forward to oh so much for months. Welp, the universe had its own plans, and we were not going to make it to the mile-high state. Not as soon as we thought, anyway.

Oh well, you know, things happen. Maybe we weren’t meant to go on that trip to Denver. Who knows? We started thinking maybe we should just wait until January of next year and book a trip to Caribbean Island.

That was just what we needed. A nice relaxing beach vacation to look forward to in the upcoming year. We had switched gears, and focussed on finding the perfect spot for our new trip. And we did. But we were just going to wait one more day to book it.

Patience is a virtue my friends

Well it was a good thing that we waited a bit to book our new trip, because the very next day, Matt got laid off from his job, AGAIN. For the second time in a row. One day shy of a year. Literally, 364 days apart to be exact. He was working at a newly established small business that ended up downsizing (just like his previous job). Since he was among the newest employees, he got the boot.

So what now? I had already racked up enough vacation days for a solid week off, and now Matt was out of work, which meant he was going to be home during the day. So, I decided to use my vacation days and take a STAYcation. And boy, let me tell you, it was THE best. 

For a week straight, we got to hang out with our pup, lounging around in our pajamas all day, living our best life, off of a schedule. We only did things we wanted to do that week. It was truly perfect.

But when that week ended, I went back to work, while Matt got to work, looking for a new job. To his surprise, he came across a ton of remote jobs that he was over qualified for. His experience at these two previous jobs were just what he needed to start building a client base, all on his own, working from home. 

This was so cool! He could work from home, take care of Henna, and have dinner ready for when I got home from work at 6 PM! Yes, I know I’m a lucky gal.

But day after day, I woke up, got myself ready for work, and commuted 40 minutes to the office. My office was only 20 minutes from our apartment, but with Long Island traffic, that easily doubled. 

Wait just a second, something didn’t seem right with his picture: why was I still going to work in an office when Matt was living proof that working from home is do-able? And maybe, just maybe, I could figure out a way to work from home too.

I decided I WAS going to get a remote job too. I didn’t know how, but I knew why. I was done waiting for vacation days to start living my life.

It took me a few months, but by the end of January of 2019, I was officially working from home.

And our canceled trip to Colorado? Oh, don’t worry, we rescheduled that.. in fact we just moved there full time!

3 Important Life Lessons I Learned From a That Egg

You’d be surprised at how much your world can change in an instant. I learned a lot of important life lessons from inhaling that egg that day. Here are just a few

1. Don’t care too much about what others think of you

People are going to form their own opinions of you, whether you like it or not. And you know what? Their opinions are theirs, and have literally nothing to do with you! Well, maybe they do have to do with you, but they are nothing to make yourself physically or mentally ill over.

You can’t spend your precious time worrying about what your co-worker thinks about your breakfast of choice.

2. Don’t spend your life waiting for vacation time

Society teaches us that we need to abide by a schedule. We need to work work work the majority of our lives, so that we can enjoy a nice slice of it when we earn our vacation days.

Is that really what life is all about? Honestly, I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t self inflict pneumonia on myself.

We were made to do more than work 40 hours a week just to enjoy the weekends and two weeks of vacation time. There is so much more to life than a typical 9-5 schedule.

3. A “stable job” is not always stable

We’re taught at such a young age that we are supposed to go to college, and then get a high paying, stable job to work at. We’re made to think that the goal is to climb the corporate ladder to “success”, until you save enough money and have a 401k and a retirement plan.

We’re supposed to work for a company that offers a stable position with benefits and all the perks, and that is supposed to make the idea of working 40+ hours a week worth it.

Well, in our experience, a stable job is not always stable. For Matt, this rang true over and over again. He was working at a “normal” office job at a start up marketing company which downsized and laid him off. And then the same thing happened again. One day shy of a year from the first time. Without anything to do with his performance, only to do with the fact that the companies that deemed to be stable in the beginning, weren’t as stable as they seemed.

Life has a funny way of pushing you in the right direction. You never know what the universe will throw your way. For me, this little egg changed my life. I’m not sure if I would be living this lifestyle if I had pancakes for breakfast that day. You just never know!

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