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One Year of Change

January 25, 2014

One year ago, I made a decision that changed my life: I decided I was going to walk away from my job.

As dramatic as that sounds, it was even more terrifying to make the final decision. I had to move from a steady paycheck with benefits to relying completely on myself.

But I also knew that I was escaping 60-80 hours a week of politics, constant internal stress that didn’t do anything to advance our work, our team members or our clients, and frustrating decisions in which others accepted projects for budgets that were one-fifth of what they should have been and then left me holding the (highly unprofitable) bag.

The final straw came not with a roar, but with a whimper, as I realized there were those among us who couldn’t even be honest about choices they had made.

While not unusual, I am one who finds this intolerable. As we say in the world of communications, “don’t try to spin the spinner.”

So, despite the fear that had kept me from making the move before, I knew that the time was right. I waited a few more weeks before giving my final notice, but I grew ever more emboldened by my decision with every day that passed. In the end, I didn’t have to worry too much. Friends and former colleagues were gracious enough to shift work my way and recommend me for projects. Today, my plate and my gratitude overflows in a way it never has before.

But while I have been busy, I have also had more time available to me than I could ever remember in my working life. My 60- to 80-hour work week has dropped to between 20 and 35 hours. While some might have responded by taking on more personal projects, I tried to spend the extra time re-evaluating all of the things I once held dear. As I began looking around my house, I realized it was filled with books I didn’t have time to read, movies I didn’t have time to watch, video games I never had the time to play. Magazines spilled out of baskets, emails jammed my inbox, craft projects filled my closets.

I had the best of intentions when I first invested in these items. My rationalization was that I would fully commit to them when I had time. But now that I had time, I realized that I didn’t want anything to do with them any longer.

Clearly, they were designed simply to fill the hole where my life should have been.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a life. I started this blog specifically to remind myself of all that I should be enjoying in my life. But, the reality is that most of what I did before the decision to leave my job was tense and frenetic. Vacations were taken even though I too tired to truly enjoy them. I rushed to complete Cooper’s training rather than taking the time to really enjoy the process simply because I only had so much time in the week.

But now that I have more time, I have realized that life is not a mad-dash scramble to fill every moment with as much activity as one can humanly bear. It is not a game of what didn’t I complete today. It’s not a repetitive and insane dance in which you pray for the song to end before you collapse from exhaustion or death.

Life — real life — can only be found in the space between activities, between thoughts, between plans. It is the almost-imperceptible pause between the exhale of stale city living and the inhale of fresh mountain air. It cannot be found in activities. It can only be found in the blessed appreciation of everything the world has to offer — both good and bad.

My goal now is to take more time to enjoy the little things in life.

The sight of my cats relaxing nearby.

Cuddles 5

The chance to take long walks and hikes.

DCF 1

The beauty that surrounds me.

DCF 3

The joy of just being.

DCF 5A Sepia

While I’m still an ever-evolving work-in-progress, I hope to always move forward on this new path rather than repeating mistakes of the past.

From → Animals, Balance, Cats, Cooper

10 Comments
  1. There are those who require the safety net of a steady paycheck and benefits. Then, there are those who dance high atop the skies, with no net, and relish every minute of it ❤

  2. Love this, Julie. Very inspiring. Also? I had no idea that you were into video games. Love that!

    • LOL … they have to be really entertaining, but yes, I do enjoy them when I feel I have the time for them. 🙂

  3. Carol permalink

    Julie, I loved everything you said and am so glad someone else feels that way and did something about it. I have gone through the same thing the past nine years. Congratulations.

    • Carol — it honestly took me far too long to make the move, but I am very glad I did. There is nowhere to go but up from here. Hope you resolve your situation, as well.

  4. I am SO happy you are happy!

    • Thank you! And thank you so much for taking a chance on me. It’s amazing to get the chance to work with you again. 🙂

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