It was late in March a few years back when I gave my notice at a job I was completely miserable at. While I’ve never had any regrets on that decision, I had been hugely disappointed that it was not working out.
After giving my two-week notice, I was instructed by my manager to hand over files to another manager in the department that would be handling things until someone could be hired to take my place. After the exchange of files she said condescendingly from across her desk, “now you can have your life back.” In addition to confirming that I had truly made the right decision in leaving, that comment stayed with me. It was meant to be a dig at me but it got my mind working in a more positive direction. What would getting my life back entail? What would it look like?
Those times were somewhat confusing. I had just turned 40 and was beginning to question everything. Was I going where I wanted to go? Or which direction do I take from here? Is this it? 40 doesn’t feel like 30. There were just so many questions. I knew I had been unhappy for such a long time. I knew that there had to be something better than where I was at. It was like one morning I woke up and knew without a shadow of a doubt that I needed to take control. Leaving that job was the first step. It hit me on a Saturday. I had no other job to go to but I knew the sooner I left the better. My husband and I spoke about it at length and we decided we could manage for a while. I can’t even begin to say what a huge relief this was! At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m going to say this anyway:
NO one is responsible for my own happiness but me. No one.
Things did not fall into place right away. It definitely has taken time to get the pieces sorted out. As a child I had a toy work bench (this is back when children’s toys were still made out of wood). There were shapes drilled into the top like that of a star, circle, triangle, etc… There were also blocks in those shapes that you could pound through the workbench with a wooden mallet once matched up. I bring this up because I liken it to a few times when I’ve felt like as an adult I’ve been pounding the circle block into the triangle hole and expecting it to fit which has led to much frustration.
Maybe its just this time of the year. We have a landmark wedding anniversary coming up this Friday. We will have been married for 5 years now. Its been on my mind a lot and I have found my thoughts wandering back over those years. We have accomplished so much. When you are in the thick of things you don’t think in terms of accomplishment. Its more of a tunnel vision attitude with your nose to the grind stone, but once through its important to look back and remember that nothing was accomplished without that hard work. A week ago Saturday I was riding home in my car after a trip to a local monastery. I remembered some goals I had set a few years back and the realization that not only had I met them, I had exceeded them was overwhelming. Why hadn’t I seen it until then? Is it possible to be concentrating so hard on something that you don’t recognize it when you reach it? Like looking for an address and then driving right by?
While the comment made a few years ago by that manager was not made out of the kindness of her heart, it brought me to a huge realization that I had the power within me to make the pieces fit. It didn’t happen overnight or even a fortnight –but it did happen.
Yes, I have my life back.
It may not be the life I had 5 years ago but it has evolved into something entirely new, different and good. Now that’s what I call progress.