Life is crazy. Life is hard. Life is unpredictable. I haven’t officially (by "officially" I mean post a Facebook status about it) announced that I quit my video production job with Mashable yet. But I did, and it was pretty scary — for a little bit. A regular full time job provided assurance and comfort that I had come to appreciate, but it wasn't providing me the fulfillment that I need to live a happy life. So I left.
While working for Mashable I got to make things with people I love and admire. I got to grow through their talent and perspective. This was fulfilling to me, and before things changed I felt lucky to land a job that gave me that. There are gritty details (I actually wrote them all out and decided not to publish them here because what the heck does that have to do with mango tart, right?) but here are the cliff notes:
- The company shifted directions — away from editorial and toward “content for the digital age.”
- Nearly my entire team was laid off (honestly not sure why I wasn’t also.)
- I was moved without conversation to a branded content team, and away from producing editorial content exclusively.
- I thought briefly about staying.
- I left.
There were a lot of feelings, but mostly I was sad. Sad to lose a team I had grown to trust, and sad we were ripped away from each other before we could reach our full potential together. I leaned into the many people around me who are smarter than I am. I got advice, I cried on shoulders, I yelled my feelings to open ears, and I made a plan.
I quit my job and traveled for nearly a month straight — first to Thailad with my three best friends and my boyfriend, then to Texas to visit home, and finally to a wedding in Nebraska. I didn’t think about Mashable much, and I didn’t think about the fear I felt. It was there for sure, but it wasn’t slapping me in the face when I woke up each morning like I expected. Instead, I felt the angst to begin.
When I got back to California from my month long escape from reality, I realized I did not think once about my long commute to the office, about how many clicks my video would receive, or about how I would explain (once again) the need for editorial work . I missed none of it during my month away.
I did miss cooking and photographing food. I thought of that nearly every day. I was inspired with new ideas and had a fire for work. I kept a note in my phone of new thoughts and plans; some so far fetched they should be moved to my “big dreams/never gonna happen” list. Being back in the kitchen felt more natural than ever. Had I left for a month long adventure just to come back to my 9-5 I don’t think I would have been as excited to work hard and I know I wouldn’t have a notepad full of new ideas. This is the obnoxiously cliché story of how what I thought would break me has shown me a much more delightful path.
Now, I am a freelance photographer and video producer. There. I said it out loud. So I guess it’s finally official and I couldn’t be happier.
Saying yes to the uncertain thing is always harder and scarier, saying yes to the comfortable thing is easy and boring and probably brings little payoff. Will I struggle? Most definitely, but I truly believe I’m closer now to being where I want to be.
Life is surprising. Life is kind. Life is sweet.
*Special thanks to Brooke Dorsey for the beautiful hand written recipe. To see more of her crafty-goodness follow her Instagram!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely grind crackers with sugar in a food processor (you should have about 1 1/4 cups). Add butter and pulse until combined.
- Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; press into bottom and up sides. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust is fragrant and slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, puree mangoes in food processor and strain through a coarse sieve.
- In a bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups strained mango puree, condensed milk, lime zest and juice, yolks, and salt. Pour into crust. Bake until filling is set around edges but still slightly loose in center, about 25 minutes.
- Let tart cool on a wire rack 1 hour; then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve, with whipped cream and diced mango on the side.
*Download a printable version of the recipe here!*