Turning Points

 

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Here I am again, feeling like life has thrown a fork in the road, like someone is trying desperately to send me a sign. This has become a very familiar spot, yet I’ve always been too scared to go down the path less traveled. So I forge ahead with the familiar, a sense of dread engulfing me like a giant wave.

For the past few weeks I’ve been on medical leave from my job as I recover from my tissue expander surgery. I haven’t done anything particularly productive or exciting. Far from it. I’ve enjoyed a kind of peaceful solitude, spending hours in the comfort of my home, no children, no television, no stress. I’ve played in the dirt in my garden and spent long, self-indulgent afternoons having lunch or coffee with friends.

So why the sense of dread? At the end of the month, I return to my job, which I have honestly been trying to find a way out of for the past six years. At times like these, where I’ve gained the clarity only distance can bring, I swear that this is it. I will finally turn in my notice and set myself free. But I always go back and get sucked into the vortex, going through the motions, living for long weekends.

I know why this happens. I remind myself that I’m not independently wealthy…it would be too hard to cut back…I’m afraid we couldn’t make it without my income…and boy do I love those Disney trips! I am a prisoner of the lifestyle we’ve built. And a slave to an employer’s job market.

I wrote a lot early on in my breast cancer adventure about how I believe emotions can make us sick. Especially those of us who tend to bite our lip and suck it up. The anger that gets turned inward, the resentment that builds over years, the longing to find our authentic selves, all of that energy has the power to destroy us if it is never given a voice, if we never have the courage to face our fears.

I know I sound somewhat like a spoiled child complaining about having a well-paying job when so many are struggling, but I feel that a life without meaningful work can never be truly fulfilling. I want to find a calling, a passion, a career that stimulates me and feeds my mind. I just wish I knew what that was. I so envy my blogging friends who talk about their work with glowing enthusiasm.

One day I may find my niche, but for now, I think I just need a break to assimilate all that has happened, to “reboot” my system. I need space to play in the sunshine, to plant roses, to wander with my thoughts and find new adventures. I just need to be alive.

As my son would say, “First-world problems, Mom”.

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14 thoughts on “Turning Points

  1. I wished we lived near each other so we could have lunch together. This post could have been written by me! My time out for treatment and surgery has definitely made me step back and take stock of life. I can’t just quit my job as we wouldn’t be able to pay the mortgage, and we love where we live. I do love my job but at the end of last year I started feeling like there was something else I should be doing. What is my calling, what am I meant to be doing? I actually found lots of help by listening to a telerecording by Lissa Rankin, and the doing a Medicine for the Soul 6 – week tele class with Lissa Rankin and Rachel Naomi Remen. It might just be I need to look at where I am differently. I definitely need to be open to the signs. I’m wondering if I should work part-time doing consulting (although can be stressful) and find some paid board positions. Looking for a sign I had a job ad passed to me recently out of the blue, right down my alley and in keeping with my goals, but much bigger than even I had dreamed of. I have no idea if I’ll get it or if it’s what I want do do or whether I’d have the stamina to do the job but I feel like I should give it a go …who knows, some new opportunity might come out of it without me having to leave my current job. Or it will help to give me more clarity about what it is I should be doing.
    So, I know how you’re feeling. I think we just have to keep an open mind, be aware of signs and most of all be patient….we still have a lot of healing to do.
    Best wishes.

    • I wish we lived near each other, too. I think we have so much in common. Maybe we can visit one day…are you missing the mountains?:) I’m very excited for you about the new opportunities that seem to be coming your way. That definitely sounds like a sign! It’s amazing how this cancer mess shakes things up, even when you think they’re going along smoothly. I guess you realize that time is potentially limited, and now your choices have to be very meaningful, not just adequate. I hope we both figure out our “calling” soon. Keep me posted on how your new prospect turns out.

  2. Oh, I get it. I was where you were a few years ago, but was lucky enough to be married then and able to stay home with my kids and freelance. It was a huge leap of faith, but we did it knowing we could always reverse. And the Universe supported me:). Much easier to say in hindsight than to believe at the time . . . wishing you opportunity!

    • Thank you. I would love to freelance, but I have no idea where to start. I live in kind of a Podunk town. Beautiful, but very limited in opportunity unless you want to work in the tourist industry. It sounds like you’re making it with grace and dignity. Kudos to you:)

  3. As one who presently loves my job, your post reminds me of a horrible boss and a few bad years not that long ago. I was never so close to quitting. But I too bit my lip and stuck bit ok. It worked out in the end but at what expense? Cancer followed. Coincidence? We will never know. I can only say “listen to your heart”. Good luck in this latest crossroad.

    • I’m glad things worked out for you. I don’t know why women have such a hard time listening to their hearts and taking care of their own needs. We seem auto-programmed at birth to be martyrs in a sense. I’m really trying to let that inner voice speak!

  4. Wow! So much weight in your writing it makes me sad. I only had a part-time job for extra income and decided to leave when I was diagnosed. I felt my life is too short to be working in a place I just tolerated. Not really knowing your financials I still think you need to leave the job. Take some time off for yourself, it will help you to reexamine and force you to make the change you desire. I love Disney too but I love me more:) I will be sending good intentions your way.

    • Thank you. I feel exactly the same way. We don’t know how much more life is guaranteed, so why spend it dreading the day ahead? It would be tight financially, but there are always lots of little things we waste money on that could be trimmed. I hope you’re doing ok.

  5. I was made redundant during treatment and have been the only income earner in our household for 22 years. I won’t deny that it was scary but I found another, better, job which is more fulfilling, less stressful and I’m actually appreciated for what I do instead of taken for granted working 80 hours a week. I believe emotional imbalance, physical and mental stresses make us sick and we can never afford to offer cancer any help with that. I know its a big step, daunting and a source of fear but staying in a job that makes you feel this way isn’t helping your mind, body or spirit. I hope you find a way to change things for the better.

  6. Scary to look down the barrel of potential unemployment — by choice no less! Yeah, the kids like to say “first world problems,” and they have a point, an excellent point, but not one that makes your anxiety any less or less real. Looks like you have a lot of support, and courage, and both will see you through.

  7. You stopped by via Susie’s “Use Me & Abuse Me” party yesterday. I can really identify with your job struggle. Last year, I worked at a place where the office manager did everything she could to make my work life absolutely miserable. Nice one day, mean the next, sabotaging my work, you name it. I thought I couldn’t quit because I had “committed” to the job. She finally pushed me so far that for my own sanity and peace of mind, I had to quit. Life was too short to deal with her anymore. Pray for a new beginning, then take steps to work toward that. You can do it! 🙂 The link is to an article I wrote about “being” your job. http://dmswriter.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/you-are-not-your-job-really/

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