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The Inspiring, Beautifully Illustrated Story Of A Lawyer Who Quit Her Job To Become A Painter

The legal professional, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote a memo to her colleagues explaining her decision to quit. We've adapted it here with her permission.

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Her life's ambition was to be an illustrator, but she had student loans to pay off, so in her mid-twenties she took a job at a big law firm in New York.

For a while, life was glorious. But then malaise crept in.

She wasn't getting any time to focus on her real passion, painting.

"I've always made art. When I create things, time simply stops. Nothing else makes me so happy, so alive, so happy to be alive. It's transcendental. It's what life should be."

She'd tell colleagues about her artistic aspirations, and be disappointed by their response.

Whenever she found a spare moment to paint, this would happen.

Weekends were a write-off, too.

Her bosses did not exactly encourage her to indulge her creative impulses.

Work emails were a relentless tyranny.

She started to dread going to work each day.

She realised she'd traded something she loved for something she loathed.

Eventually, needing an outlet for her passion, she signed up to weekly painting classes.

But there were always work emergencies preventing her from going.

Then one day she realised she could just quit and focus full-time on her art.

So she did.

"There’s always been a light on the horizon," she wrote in a farewell memo to her colleagues. "And it’s finally here."

"The moral of my story is that this lawyering life requires sacrifices I'm not willing to make. This job threatened to make my artwork into a 'used to'. I viscerally and vehemently reject that. Through trial and error and six figures of student loans, I've learned that there are two types of things in this world: things that nourish me and things that drain me. And things that get in the way of my art are excess noise. They're superfluous. Clutter."

"For those of you who do find time for things you love: Awesome. Don’t give it up."

"For the rest of you, I’d just encourage you to try to find some time, however much you need – whether that’s a half hour a week, or a whole reboot of your life – to enjoy the things you used to."

BuzzFeed reached out to the lawyer-turned-artist, who told us that she'd been in two minds whether or not to make the memo public.

"Publishing this was huge for me. I'm generally a pretty private person, and even on the day, I was asking myself whether I would just relegate this story to the proverbial desk drawer (in other words, let having created it be the catharsis, and just move on with my life) or whether I'd actually put it out there."

But she's so glad she did, because "the feedback has been nothing short of amazing".

"Of all of the emails (hundreds) I've received, there's been only one negative one. People from all different backgrounds have written in and have been so kind – wishing me well, sharing their own stories, telling me they're inspired to make more time for what truly matters to them."