A Facebook friend of mine posted a picture of herself sprawled out on a snowy mountain, staring into the sky, utterly enjoying life.

Someone commented, “This looks amazing. Forget real life.”

To which FB friend replied, “This is real life.”

And then, of course, my heart palpitated because that one little exchange so completely struck a chord.

I’ve started telling people about my premature departure from school. And it is beginning to feel a lot more *real*. Real tears and real smiles and real stress. It’s almost too much to handle at times.

And I feel that I don’t even have a good reason to tell people. Yes, I tell them that I’ve been devastatingly unhappy and feel that my soul has been crushed and my progress as a professional has been stunted, but those words don’t encapsulate why I felt I needed to pack up my life and roll out.

And I really don’t want to go into the whole, “this just isn’t right for me” spiel.

To me, real life is having abundant happiness, a peaceful place to live, and a supportive environment for me to learn and thrive in. Real life is not waking up and immediately dreading the day. Real life is not having my skills under-appreciated every day. Real life is not feeling inadequate and wrong every time I’m uncertain.

To me, real life is farmers’ markets, yoga, and occasionally feeling stressed but overall fulfilled. That last one is key.