You Don’t Have to Change Everything—Just the Right Thing

A summer sunset on the riverfront in Harrisburg--I'm lucky to be here!

I can admittedly say that I am going through a mid-life crisis. Okay, a quarter-life crisis. Let’s not get hung up on semantics. In any case, I recently went through the undeniable feeling like I wanted to make a huge change in my life. Not a little “I’ll dye my hair” change—I seriously considered selling everything I own but a suitcase full of clothes, quitting my job, packing up Pinot and moving to Miami. This thought was terrifying but invigorating all at the same time; it provided me with the rush of excitement my life in Harrisburg wasn’t anymore. In hindsight I wasn’t so much craving the geography change (although I would never turn down a vacation to Miami), but it was more a deep desire I had to find my passion again.

When working on the Pennsylvania Governor’s campaign it was hard and thankless work. We were overworked, under paid and stressed out. Often we had to choose between sleeping and drinking and, well, the decision was obvious. But I hit my stride there. It was around August of ’10 that I was busy from the time I woke up until the time I hit my pillow—7 days a week. I felt productive, needed and like the work I was doing actually had an impact. Unfortunately, after returning to normal hours at a job within the Governor’s administration, I lost that stride. I had my evenings and weekends back, but I never did find that passion. I guess I thought that passion moved South and I was hell-bent on doing whatever I had to in order to get it back, even if it meant leaving everyone and everything I knew.

As a result, I turned my back on Harrisburg and closed my mind to the possibility that I could ever be happy here again—for a long time. Within just the past 2 weeks, I made one single decision that changed all of that. I chose to respectfully resign from my day job and pursue my Public Relations business, Bennis Inc, full time. Starting July 15th I’ll be my own boss, set my own schedule, and yes, try to make ends meet off of this less than stable income. It will be stressful, hard and thankless, but it sounds exactly like what I’ve been looking for.

I’m so grateful that I stepped back from the edge long enough to realize I don’t have to jump. I have friends in Harrisburg, family close by and business contacts that would take years to build anywhere else. I’ve kind of fallen in love with the city all over again and am open to making a business here and a home here. So to anyone else who feels like a quarter, mid or full-life crisis may be coming on—take a breath and step back. You don’t always have to change everything, just the right thing to be happy.

13 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Change Everything—Just the Right Thing

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I see you are just beginning, but your posts are great. What an enterprising woman you are. I hope your business is hugely successful!

  2. I’ve been in a similar situation. After years of feeling the need to leave a city and state that has been hard on everyone and given me no breaks things seem like they’re starting to come together. However I am bitter enough to leave Michigan so that I might come back triumphant.

    Maybe I’ll go to Harrisburg- I’ve got experience in PR…

  3. A native of Hummelstown, I’m glad you have rekindled your love for Harrisburg. I 1st learned to write sitting on the banks of the Susquehanna near the Harvey Taylor Bridge. Enjoy central PA, a truly great place to live, write, ponder, muse, and be introspective. Best of everything.

    1. I live right by Forester street and pass the Harvey Taylor Bridge almost every day–small world! I don’t know if it’s just this summer or this time of year in Harrisburg, but the river has been really magical. The picture I included on this post is toward the Shipoke end of the river. Another quaint town that you would never expect to find hidden off of a city like Harrisburg.

      1. In the 1960″s Shipoke was an area of urban decay: It was destroyed by the flood of 197? and rebuilt… Those of us from the outer fringes of Dauphin County were intimidated and whizzed past as we headed to what was the bright lights of downtown. Ran into some Senators fans while at Cape May NJ last month — they are soo proud of the Island stadium.

        Thanks for heping to rewind my memory tape. We have family in Mt Joy and our daughter just rececived her MA from U of Delaware (interviewing on Wall Street). Yes, a small world…

  4. Hi Stephanie,

    Good luck with all this, making a big change like this can be scary, but from my own experience I think is worth it. I live between France and England at the moment, renovating and writing. Who knows where it will end. I do know that living a life is the most important thing to me. Which is how I came to be where I am today. Go for it, learn everything that you can while you are travelling and be happy.


    1. Thank you, Jim! I appreciate the encouragment wherever I can get it because it is indeed a scary feeling to leave the easy path and forge your own. This career transition has brought about a complete life transition–I know it will be a turning point I will forever look back on and smile.

  5. Really, I’m not a stalker (I did just leave a comment at another of your posts) but I will be a subscriber. I’m just very impressed by how you’ve thought through all these changes (change of jobs, possible change of location). I’m considerably older than you and made both of those changes, thinking I understood the ramifications. I did not, and am enduring the consequences. I find your blog uplifting and helpful, and I’ll be looking forward to further posts. And congratulations on Fresh Pressed.

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