I spent seven years as a police officer but I had an inkling it wasn’t for me during the first few years. Instead of listening to my gut I explored every avenue: internet investigation detective…working with the FBI…international money theft…beach patrol in Vancouver. But I felt like wherever I went people only saw my uniform. They didn’t see me. I needed to put up thicker and thicker walls to survive. It was increasingly challenging to be myself and I ended up losing sight of who I really was. It was slowly killing me.
I got insomnia in October of 2010. The doctor wanted to give me sleeping pills but I knew there was something more than just insomnia. I took time off from work and the insomnia went away. When I came back to work it returned.
In December of that year I told my doctor I needed to leave the police force.
“I knew that the day you first came in here,” the doctor said. As a physician to many emergency services workers, she’d seen it before. “It was inevitable in the condition you were in.”
Leaving the police force was the hardest decision I ever made. I walked into the headquarters right past the recruiting office where I’d spent countless hours interviewing. I sat down with the Human Resources Sargent and fought back tears as I announced my resignation. I hesitantly pushed my badge across the table and was sick with the feeling that I was abandoning my oath to the city and to my brothers and sisters in blue. On the day my classmates and I were sworn in the Deputy Chief said, “Look at the person standing to your right and now to your left. One day, one of those people may make the ultimate sacrifice for you or you may make the ultimate sacrifice for them.” It was a sobering moment and I took that oath seriously.
Friends suggested that I should go on extended sick rather than resign because job-related stress had clearly caused my insomnia. Then I could also collect long-term disability pay and retain some of my pension. But that wasn’t an option for me. Energetically I had to sever ties 100%. I knew that all the money in the world would not do anything for me unless I was happy at my core. So I left.
Eleven months later I decided to take a chance and spend three months of the cold Canadian winter in Costa Rica. Those three months turned into six months, which turned into four and a half years of living a dream life. A few months ago I moved to Peru. It’s taken over five years of peeling back all of the defensive layers that I needed to survive in policing to finally get to the real me. Everyone has their own path to walk – I chose myself over money or anything else. At the end of the day that's all you’ve got.
Goose Chronicles Outtakes:
“Are you happy now?”
“I traded in the golden handcuffs to follow my heart and live my dream. I’m so much happier making $10,000 a year and being happy than close to $100,000 and being unhappy. My experiences are so much more authentic and rich. I wouldn't change them for anything in the world.”
“Why Costa Rica?”
I wanted to go to Spain but I only had 400 airline points. I thought to myself: what Spanish speaking country can I fly to on 400 points? British Airlines had a special. I could fly to Costa Rica for 400 airline points if I paid $90 of taxes. The rest is history.”
Follow me on these social media sites:
- Facebook – Goose Chronicles
- Twitter – @goosechronicle
- Instagram – goosechronicles
- Tumblr – Goose Chronicl