A New Direction
A few months ago, I made a decision to leave my job of almost 10 years. It's something I've thought about doing for a while, knowing that it was time, but without a new job to step into I didn't feel like I could leave. I couldn't figure out what came next. And then it occurred to me that maybe that was because there wasn't supposed to be anything. Maybe I could do something I'd fantasized about for years and take a break for most of a year. So, I did.
I gave my notice and two and a half months later walked out the door. As of this week I am officially unemployed.
As I've told people about what I'm doing I've gotten a lot of questions. Reactions have all been positive. Many have been tinged with envy. Being able to take an extended period of time off is a privileged position to be in, something I don't take for granted. But there's also been a healthy dose of confusion and curiosity. What the heck am I going to do with myself and how did I decide to do this?
It was tempting to set a goal for my time off - trying to finish and polish a manuscript so I could query agents and try to get published, for example. But what I really craved was wide open space with no expectations. My creativity is an intrinsic part of me. There's no way that I can have lots of time and not be creative. I will write and develop stories. That's a given. I don't have to plan that or put structure around it to make it happen. I also have at least one other creative project that I've been wanting to work on, but haven't had the time until now, to throw into the mix. Beyond that I have no plans.
I've been goal oriented most of my life. As an enneagram three it's like breathing. But goals haven't really gotten me where I've wanted. When I focus solely on them I tend to disconnect from my body and instincts. Not setting a goal feels subversive and freeing. So, my loose plans are to rest and recharge for the next few months while I work on my creative projects and see what the world looks like in the new year. See what kind of desires and ideas crop up and take things from there.
The other question is how did I come to the decision to do this? Was there a specific catalyst? I can't pinpoint one moment that pushed me to this point. It's been a very gradual shifting over the course of years.
I've known for a long time that I wasn't living the way I wanted to, craving fulfillment in a way that I've only experienced in brief bursts. How to achieve that fulfillment has driven me in many different directions. I tried traditional and not so traditional therapy, manifestation, getting more organized, reducing my priorities. While I got something from each of them it was like being given small pieces of a large puzzle with no guide as to how they fit together. I knew I needed to make a shift but didn't know what. So, I kept chase hoping to find it around every corner.
I delved into Human Design, astrology, and tarot. I consulted a psychic. More puzzle pieces. But I started to notice something. The same message seemed to be coming through. I knew my life wasn't working the way I wanted it to, that I wasn't functioning physically, emotionally, or mentally like I felt I could, but there wasn't anything wrong with me. (I went to the doctor to make sure there wasn't a physical explanation. There wasn't.) I wasn't the problem. The circumstances that shaped my life were.
There are certain things that we take as fact. Where we live. Family. Job. Whenever I looked at making changes I assumed I would work, if not at my current job than somewhere else. Somewhere that would provide a steady paycheck and benefits. That was a given. It took years to come to the conclusion that since I'd tried to change most of the other things in my life with no results that it was time to consider changing the one thing I'd assumed couldn't. Working.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same over and over and expecting different results." - Anonymous. (Yes, I know it's usually attributed to Albert Einstein but there's no actual proof he said it.)
Making the perception shift and considering such a drastic change was terrifying. Funny thing, though. Once I made the decision I stopped being scared. I'm more certain that this is the right choice than I've ever been. I don't know what's on the other side and it drives me crazy. But I am sure that this is how I get there.