This is one of several reader responses we've published responding to the question "What have you given up in the recession?" Read more reader responses and Emily Bazelon's related story on recession concessions . Next question: What haven't you given up, despite the recession? Send answers to us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I left my financial services job to go back to school, just before the shit hit the proverbial fan. I took student loans, incurred credit card debt and raided my retirement fund to pay for a degree that is now virtually useless. I'm working part-time at an after school program for teenagers, making $12 an hour. I couldn't get a job in my old industry even if I wanted to, which I most certainly do not.
What did I give up that mattered most? I gave up the illusion of security. I gave up feeling that I knew what the future held. I gave up the sense that I knew what the hell I was doing. Those things USED to matter most to me. I traded those things for a renewed ability to lean into each day and accept that I will probably be able to handle whatever surprises lie in store. I just turned 50 and I have never been happier in my life.