Six years ago, there was nothing Tiffany Georgia loved more than getting up and going to her job as a dental hygienist at a community health clinic. Georgia, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, had always believed firmly in service work and giving back to her community, and she was thrilled to work at a place that provided care for patients who couldn't afford it on their own.
But when the economy took a dip in 2008, Georgia, now 34, found herself jobless. The government grants and donations that once provided funding for her position no longer existed.
"It became really clear to me that everything was driven by money and materialism," Georgia told The Huffington Post. "It was really disheartening that there were people who needed my services and my job was cut because of financial aspects."
Georgia took a job as a hygienist with a company called Pacific Dental Services. Now working in a corporate environment, she had to adjust to the idea that she could only treat patients who had enough money. It didn't feel right to Georgia to work for a company that turned away patients who needed care so badly. Around this time, she began to rethink her assumption that she would spend the rest of her career in health care.
As her new job wore on, Georgia became increasingly unhappy. The work itself was stressful, and she didn't feel uplifted by her coworkers. So when she began practicing yoga to relieve the mental and physical stress her job brought her, what started as a coping mechanism quickly became a passion.
"I never expected to be drawn into it and think, 'Oh, this is what I love doing, and I want to do it for the rest of my life,'" Georgia told The Huffington Post.
She enrolled in a 200-hour teacher training program, a typical course for people seeking to become certified yoga instructors. While in that program, she connected with great people, learned more about herself and became even more invested in yoga as a career. Shortly after graduating in April 2013, Georgia began teaching yoga whenever she could.
Although she knew a full-time career in yoga was where she was headed, Georgia didn't feel comfortable leaving behind the financial security of her job. She attempted to teach yoga while continuing to work as a dental hygienist, but eventually, the job became more toxic than she could bear.
"When I asked for my hours to be cut, the environment just became more negative," Georgia said. "They cut my hours even more and sent me home some days. [The people I worked with] made it very easy for me to not want to be in the environment anymore."
So in June of this year, Georgia left her job and took up yoga full-time.
Since then, she has been much happier. She now teaches 12 classes a week and hopes to open her own studio next year. Even better, she finally feels like she's doing what she was put on this earth to do: give to others.
"I want to teach people how to find what they're passionate about and what makes them happy inwardly first, so they can make changes in their own life," Georgia said.
That's exactly how she feels, now that she's finally on a path she's happy with -- even if it wasn't what she expected.
"You can have a plan, and you can get attached to that plan," Georgia told HuffPost. "But you have to listen to what your heart is telling you and let that direct your path."
Check out Georgia's website, Empower Tucson, here.
If you or someone you know is taking steps to live a life that's simpler, saner and more fulfilling, we want to hear about it. To submit a Letting Go nomination, email firstname.lastname@example.org.