let’s start over… hi, my name is steph.

I feel terrible, really I do… I tried to do this whole commitment thing and to write consistently, if for nothing else than the fact that I need to be accountable for something. You know, everyone should have their thing. Well, I’ve bounced around from thing to thing most of my life. I’ve not been one of those people who finds a hobby and it’s a consistent go-to, something they can depend on to anchor them to the essence of who they are. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m flaky. In fact, I’m rather the opposite. I’m sometimes annoyingly persistent. I’ve never bounced around from job-to-job, I almost NEVER give up on a friendship (yeah, this one has bitten me in the ass a couple of times). I have a ridiculous level of loyalty when it comes to working. So I need to just remind myself that it’s going to be okay if I’m not perfect (pssst… I’m really not perfect).

So in the interest of getting over myself, here’s what we’re going to talk about today: change. So yeah, change sucks. Even if you know with absolute certainty that in the end you will be better off for it, change sucks. Even for me change sometimes sucks, and I’m one of those annoyingly optimistic, forward thinking people who, as a general rule embraces change with open arms. That does not, however negate the emotional impact that change will have. Especially major changes. You know… life-changing, well, changes.

I quit my job. Remember how I mentioned loyalty? Yeah, I have never actually quit a job before in my life. So in my defense, this has also been a highly charged experience solely based on the newness of it. They say that your career can be similar to a relationship. The phrase “married to your job” immediately comes to mind. I have been married. To my job. For 6 years. I can’t really talk about my job. I worked in Human Resources and as you can imagine, that involves a great deal of confidentiality. Hopefully, in my new job I will be able to regale you with hilarious stories (I’m going back into hospitality).

Ah there I am getting off topic again. Change. So this has been my first big change (aside from going to school… but then again, I never really even left my hometown for that one. Meh. Some things happened and I realized that I really wasn’t happy. I wasn’t where I wanted to be. So, I decided to figure out what would make me happy and how I could get there. You see, I couldn’t understand WHY I wasn’t happy. I did what everyone said I should do. I went to College, Graduate School, bought a house and started a retirement plan. I was ambitious and working my way up the corporate ladder. What the hell was wrong with me that I wasn’t content.

There was a time when I was really just in a bad place. It didn’t help that I didn’t feel well on that particular day. A very dear friend sent me a poem that I really, really needed to hear.

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Charles Bukowski

Yeah, so this has had a profound impact on my thoughts. It’s incredible really how quickly and profoundly an epiphany can drop in your brain and take over. I have spent the last 29 years of my life doing what everyone said would make me happy. Well, it didn’t work. Not really, not deep down in your gut happy. So after my migraine went away, I started listing the things that would make me happy. Here’s what I came up with:

    1. Making other people happy.
    2. Leaving work at work.
    3. Not worrying so much about how others perceived me, especially not worrying so much about what others have to say about me.
    4. Making time for hobbies.
    5. Being outside or with people I love. Or both at the same time.
    6. Trying new things.

So, yeah. My job was allowing almost none of this. I was very damn good at my job, don’t get me wrong. And I’m not bragging here. I was good because I was trained to be very good. I also was surrounded by a group of people who were also very good at what they did. But it wasn’t enough. Not for me. I started considering the things that were on my list. Then I started thinking about when in my life I felt the most fuffilled and content. Guess what… it was when I worked in a (or several) restaurants. Coincidentally, at this same time, a job working as an Assistant General Manager for a restaurant practically fell in my lap.

Kismet right?

Long story (as if this one hasn’t been long enough already) short, I’ve decided to take the job. So I quit my job. Now this brought up a well of emotions that I just didn’t handle well. I cried. A lot. Like a baby. Because really, it felt like what I would assume a break-up would feel like. Huh… married to your job, I get that now.

I’ve had a lot of reactions to my decision. The vast majority of them have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive a few have been very skeptical, and some downright rude. To the people in my life who have been supportive and awesome. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. To the others, I hope you will one day be able to understand that, to me, my career is not about attaining some predetermined goal any more than religion is a prescribed, defined “my way or the highway” road (more on that at another time). Each person has to find, and follow, their own bliss. So if this isn’t it for me, guess what… that’s ok, I’ll find another way. Because we were created for change. If we weren’t, we would be born fully grown people with fully developed faculties. Then we would immediately die because there was nowhere further to go.

And, as I sit here in this little coffee shop where I spent the majority of my collegiate experience, I am content.


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