This time last year, I did something that most people my age only joke about doing: I quit my job to start my own business.

After 8 short months of working in publishing, I walked into my boss’s office and told him I was putting in my two weeks. It was single handedly the scariest thing I’d ever done, and yet, I did it. With a trembling voice, shaking hands, and—ugh—tears in my eyes.

The thing is, I didn’t hate my job. I actually quite enjoyed the work and had even grown close to a few of my colleagues. The company was small, made up of only 10 employees (mostly women), and the office was charmingly intimate: We worked out of a historic two-story house in Houston’s Heights District, a block away from an artisan coffee shop and a Black Swan yoga studio. But don’t let the cuteness factor fool you. Management was meticulous as hell, and as a result, our product—an award-winning regional wedding magazine and website—was pretty darn spectacular.

I was proud of that, of course. But more so, I was proud of myself for landing the closest thing I could find to a “dream job” in my hometown. Only two years after graduating college, I had made it into my industry of choice—and despite the next-to-nothing salary—when someone asked me what I did for a living, I announced my title with confidence.

So why, then, you may be wondering, did I feel the crushing need to leave? This was the first company I ever fell in love with, and yet, by the sixth month marker, I found myself counting down the days until I could muster up enough courage to say sayonara.

The anxiety that plagued me boiled down to my future, and what I wanted it to look like—or, more accurately, what I didn’t.

I saw myself in 5 to 10 years, climbing my way up the professional ladder to Editor status—or perhaps there already—and working 70-hour weeks with little pay or vacation time. I saw myself painstakingly wordsmithing descriptions of ballgowns and beauty products and bridal suites for the thousandth time, desperately searching for a fresh angle on the same trivial subject. I saw myself high-strung and stretched thin, leading an identical life to that of my current editor: a divorced workaholic who, day in and day out, devoted her all to the company.

And my stomach dropped.

Read the rest in Issue No. 1 of Windrose Magazine, published September 2017.