As I come upon the one year anniversary of a life changing event for me, a time where I want to focus on celebrating my accomplishments, I instead find myself rounding up my grief.
I don’t speak of it often because the event is still confusing for me and pangs of anger and sadness can rise up quicker than I can escort them out. It is a story of betrayal, of lies, of weakness and yet, an event that would cause me to dig deep to decide and follow through on how I would allow myself to be treated and what I truly deserved.
I was told I would no longer have my job, a job I once dreamt of having, a job I did well at, a job where I grew close friends who had supported me through some of the other major life changes I’d undergone…getting married, having my babies, deaths of loved ones and even the end of my marriage. In so many ways I grew up there, it was my security, it was my home base, and then when I least expected it, it told me I was not welcome there anymore.
Let me be clear, I still had a job, but not at the place I had called my home. I was not fired, I was told that I would have no choice but to take a different job if I still wanted employment. For someone like me who needs to understand EVERYTHING, it made no sense at all. I had not done anything wrong. I was good at what I did. I created opportunity to give as much as I could while I was there. Yet, I knew in my heart why it was happening. I knew I didn’t belong there anymore, but it hurt tremendously.
The feeling of intense heartache and anger was not foreign. It was not the first time I had been treated poorly in my life. And I knew I had to make a decision on if I would allow the pattern to continue or if I could muster the courage to change it. I asked myself the same questions over and over again…what do you want, what would you do if you removed the fear, and what would you tell yourself if you were your own spouse? My answers came quickly, but it didn’t stop me from asking them…repeating “Are you sure? Are you really sure?” I was sure, but wow, it was scary.
I was quickly reminded it wasn’t just about me. I had children to think about, a mortgage, and no actual knowledge of what life outside my little bubble would look like. Prior to making my decision to leave a secure job completely, I didn’t even know what the hell I was going to do!
And so began my first step in my giant leap….huge leap….of Faith. I knew myself well enough to know once I made up my mind there would be no turning back. And there wasn’t.
I want to tell you that it was smooth sailing after that. I want to tell you there have been no obstacles. I want to tell you that the fear dissolves. But the truth is, even being on the “right” path, there are still obstacles, there are storms like I’ve never seen, there are fears that follow me around like we have been besties for years and they still lie to me that they are keeping me safe. The learning curves for me are enormous. And I become overwhelmed and frustrated and exhausted.
Yet, when I think of what my life would have been like if I chose the other path, I can’t even fathom how I’d still be breathing. I would have survived, I would have made it work, but I wouldn’t be truly living….at least not comfortably in my skin. And not directly on the path to my own happiness.
A year later, I AM living an authentic life. One I’ve had great help designing and one that hasn’t even begun to exploit what I know I have yet to do. I am given amazing gifts nearly every day. Extraordinary highs I've never experienced and a sense of knowing I would have never believed existed. I have had spontaneous tears of joy that seem to come from nowhere and the sensation of my passion bubbling to the surface. I hear myself say thank you all day long...and I mean it from the depths of my soul.
I wish my accomplishments took the sadness out for me. I wish I didn’t still feel the heartache. But maybe that’s just the reminder, that I had a good life to walk away from. And there really don’t need to be any regrets. It was just time to move on to the next part of who I am.
Acceptance…the last stage of grief. I’m just a few tears away.
I was telling my son that I will be celebrating the date and he highlighted my bravery, stating that not everyone has the courage to do what I’ve done. I disagreed and still disagree. Everyone has the same amount of bravery to access, it’s whether we choose to use it or not.
How do you want to live your life? We are all asked the same question and we are all given opportunity to create exactly what we want. And when the opportunity presents itself, and it always does… it’s our call what comes next.