I did it. It is finished. I left my full-time job, downsizing to only two part-time ones.
Why haven’t you heard the shouts of jubilation I’d promised? Probably because the three jobs had me so utterly spent that I crawled home and promptly caught a doozy of a cold (or is it allergies? I can never tell.)
I planned to leave the office, pumping my fists and hopping from desk to desk crying, “Carpe diem!” Instead of seizing the day, I’m sneezing all day.
However, colds don’t last forever and I’m certain that my level of joy will rise. Since we returned from Eastern Europe, the summer has been margin-less, not how I’d envisioned it at all. I’ve juggled finishing my administrative job (with a massive pièce de résistance being a college president’s inauguration), teaching a college class for the first time in my life, and even serving on the Grand Jury one day a month for a year, tortured by the cases I hear.
I suspect that it will take time for this new lifestyle–my new normal–to sink in. It will take time to decompress, or as my husband likes to say, “decompose,” which feels much more appropriate at the moment.
My last week as an administrative assistant, I had nightmares every night. Regularly, I woke at 3:00 a.m., in a sweat because I was late for work and it was the big inauguration day. Each time, I had to remind myself that it was just a dream.
For six years, I’ve longed for the flexibility in my schedule that I’m about to enjoy. This isn’t retirement; it’s just changing my workplace. I’m making this transition for one reason. I believe this is what God has called me to do.
Besides my two teaching gigs, I plan to spend the bulk of my time writing at home. I’m motivated to work hard, but there will be freedom in that. Nobody will look at their watch and frown if I step into my home office five minutes late. That alone will be glorious!
Every job, every situation in life comes with both good and bad parts. Nothing is ever ideal. I know that. The job I left is no different.
At times, the drudgery of being a creative person confined to sit within the same four walls, every day from 8:00-5:00, got to me. Being under-maximized in a position you’re over-qualified for is never a pleasant combination.
And yet, I learned to cope. I survived and I found ways to break the tedium. At first, what kept me going was helping with the Cru group on campus. I’d meet with the female students over lunch and stay late when they had their meetings. My passions and experience found an outlet. I never expected to find that at my small university.
Later, I took a shaky step, with much self-doubt, and entered a master’s degree in writing–a perk of working at a university. I was in my fifties and I never expected to finish. But I did, and because of that degree and all that I’ve learned and all the people I’ve been privileged to get to know, opportunities are opening up for me.
Yes, my job has been a blessing in more ways than the reason I took it: health insurance.
The best thing that came out of it was the friendships I made, which will continue. As a newbie in North Carolina, the people I worked with taught me what about my new home. I am now richer in friends than I was before I started.
It shouldn’t have surprised me how difficult it was to say good-bye, but it did. I expected to skip out of the office, laughing. Instead, I was conflicted by how bittersweet the moment felt. What would be sadder than not being sad after six years invested in a place? And so I’m thankful for the tears.
I am ready to seize this new day in this new season of my life. But first, I have to snee …
This is such a great meditation on the truth that our path is hardly ever what we envisioned, and yet God is in it all: in it, beside us, before us — all the great prepositions!
You are absolutely right, Michele. Life rarely turns out the way we plan, but God is right there with us in the life we have. What hope we have in that!