It’s not uncommon for us to think of a phase in our life coming to an end as a time to feel sad or bitter. Rather, the end of something often means the beginning of something else. The fact is, when one door opens another door, even if we don’t immediately see or understand it, also opens. When writing my last article I had no idea how prophetic it would be when I said that if I can no longer do the job that I do, I’d simply start over. At the time I was still languishing in so many areas in my life. In some ways it felt like an ex-boyfriend I just couldn’t quit. I loved it but had difficulty moving on. But now it’s time to truly let it go. The news of that letting go was splashed across the front page of the local paper. My resignation was there for all to see. There was no going back now.
It is, after all, a new year. And with a new year comes the opportunity to become a new you. Two weeks ago I decided that it was time to walk away from a job and career that I’ve had for more than 12 years. I invested my time, money, energy and health into it. Ignoring the suggestions of family and friends to find a better work/life balance, it was not uncommon for me to work long hours, to always be on call, and to put the needs of my job above my own. I held on because it was all that I knew. All of my adult life had been spent inside those walls. I felt like it too, the job, was like a person and that by investing that time into that person, they’d be there when I needed them most. But like a real person, you can’t always count on that either.
Regardless, here I am on the other side of 12 years having gained a great deal of expertise and experience. Just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean that you always have to. In recent months and maybe even years, the joy in the work that I did had begun to fade away. And I sometimes felt like I was simply moving to life’s ebbs and flows. It’s often difficult to make any change in your life, even if it is for the best. You feel that you’ve known something for so long and ask yourself why you should trade the certainty of one thing for the uncertainty of another.
Sometimes you just have to do it. If you aren’t proactive you become reactionary, you are forced to settle or to simply trudge along. And so I chose to be proactive. It was the right time. I resigned from the job that I had once loved, I am now walking away from that life entirely. Not only am I leaving my job, I’m also moving away. I’m moving on in order to find a renewed sense of myself. I stayed after my divorce and remained on my terms. I’d walk away doing the same. It is in times like these that you really find out what you’re made of and you become more acutely aware of your worth as a person. I know that I am not defined by anyone’s perception of me but my own. I also know that the hardest part is in taking the very first steps. And so I step out on to the abyss. Although I don’t know what happens next, I know that internally I’m prepared to handle it and am at peace with my decision.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing thus far. I assure you, the past few months of anguish truly prepared me for this moment. But there was still the terror of walking away from a life, a home that’s now a house, and from knowing what I’d be doing everyday to not even knowing what the next hour would bring. Taking that first step was indeed the hardest but it didn’t break me. It made me more aware of who I am and what I want with my life. You never really realize how strong you are until you have been tested. You never know just how loved you are until you’re in a place of need.
Do I know what tomorrow brings? Do I know when I’ll be working again? The answer is no. But the great thing about it is, I don’t feel like I have to know at this very moment. I’m proud of the things that I’ve accomplished in my life thus far and just because this very big chapter is ending, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be even better ones to come.
LaToya M. Davidson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter, @LaToyaonUR.