Monday, August 28, 2017, I did a lot of breathing exercises. I told myself every positive, forward-thinking mantra I could think of until finally settling on “I can and I will,” a simple but effective encouragement from Jane the Virgin, for at least 30 minutes straight. Then I hit send on the message to my boss asking if he had a moment to talk.
Roughly an hour later, I was in his office explaining how I appreciated the opportunity he’d given me with the job (kind of a lie) but that I needed to take a step back and evaluate my life and career and how neither was going how I’d planned or even wanted (1000% the truth).
Today, Friday, September 1, 2017, is my last day at a job I’ve had for two years and hated for at least one. I made a Spotify playlist for the occasion (if you’re so inclined). In another attempt to prepare myself for Q-DAY (quittin’ day), I read a lot of posts with premises similar to this one. And they all had one thing in common that this one will not: they were all written by someone who spent 7-10+ years on Wall Street (or some equally high-paying job) and/or by someone with access to a trust fund. In other words, all written by people who had the means to take a year or two off, to travel and really find themselves.
That’s not me. I’ve got a phone interview today for a job entirely too similar to this one and I’ve picked up a temp legal assistant gig for a trial next week. But, other than that, I have no job prospects, minimal savings, and no idea what to do with myself about it.
I should be freaking the fuck out, no?
Oh, believe me, part of me is, but it’s a much smaller part than I could’ve ever imagined. In the past week, I’ve bombarded myself with enough thoughts of Plan Bs, Cs, and Ds that not knowing Plan A isn’t that big of a deal to me anymore.
I’ve been saying since basically September of last year that I didn’t want to still be at this job by my birthday in September this year. And like the true procrastinator I’ve always been, I’m cutting it pretty damn close. Especially considering I’ve also told myself, “I won’t be here by the end of the first quarter; I won’t be here by summertime; July is my ABSOLUTE LAST MONTH at this job.”
I said all of this, but there was always something that prevented me from actually quitting: not getting into grad school; getting a dog and having something depend on me for the first time; not getting that flight attendant job; not getting that other flight attendant job; etc., etc.
So maybe that’s why it seems appropriate that I got the kick in the pants I needed to quit while I’m doing a 28-day cleanse. The whole point of this pre-planned diet is to rid your body of toxins by developing smarter, cleaner, healthier eating habits. And it seems removing toxins from one area of my life has made the ones in other areas stand out that much more, made me that much readier to get rid of them.
The place I’m leaving has definitely been a toxic environment for me, one I’ve been stewing in for entirely too long. To be sure, a few of the people have been incredibly nice and supportive; and I’ve seen a few people thrive here. But with my experiences, I should’ve quit long ago and many times over. I lost my voice at a time when I needed it more than ever; as a direct result of this place, I’ve been too miserable for too long.
So maybe it’s the diet, maybe it’s Mercury retrograde, maybe it was hearing my mom’s friends say, “You shouldn’t spend the majority of your time somewhere that makes you depressed” too many (or just enough) times.
Whatever it was, I finally got the courage Monday to walk away and today I feel lighter than ever. I’m ready to rediscover my voice, I’m ready to see what I’m capable of. I’m even okay with stricter financial restrictions and looser employment definitions.
I’m flexin’ my wings and, for the first time, I know I’ve got this.
What I’ve Learned
There’s a reason I’m trying to be real with how little I have planned past the next week or so. Not to come off too dramatic, but I really have been living a half life for too long now because of the misery I’ve subjected myself to in this job. I’d wake up, go to work, be on autopilot all day because I hated what I was doing, come home crushed and exhausted (bad emotions take a toll, y’all), watch Netflix, and sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. I didn’t go out, I didn’t do anything creative; I just kept myself alive and that was it.
For me, it was never going to be the case that I’d be able to pull myself up and out of these doldrums without removing their main cause. I couldn’t wait anymore for a safety net because it was becoming clearer and clearer that a safety net was what was already holding me back.
I suppose in the next month or so I’ll learn how right I was, learn how much I’m truly capable of without a plan. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve already learned in the hopes that it’ll help you, if you need, to leave a toxic situation, whatever it may be, safety net or no safety net:
- You really. should not. spend the majority of your time. in misery. Sadness is a real, necessary emotion, but it should not a primary one.
- Toxicity can be comfortable, but it will eat away at you for as long as you let it until you don’t recognize yourself anymore.
- Meditation helps so much in ways you may not even realize at first. Do it. Do it now.
- Serotonin – the chemical that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness – is produced primarily in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) a.k.a. the gut. In other words: eat better, feel better.
- You have more [marketable] talents than you realize. Remember, “Bigger dummies than you…”
- You have a bigger support system than you realize, more people cheering you on than you know. If you don’t believe me, at least count me as one of the people on your side. I believe in you.
So, as you’ve probably guessed, I’ll have quite a bit of free time in the upcoming weeks. If you’re interested in collaborating on anything (writing, film, painting) or need something edited, contact me! Let’s work something out!
Image Source: Oh My Disney
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