I just left my job after 17 years.
I didn’t plan it. I thought I’d made peace. I thought I’d go to grad school when I retired and eventually get a Ph.D. in literature. I had an ambitious but feasible plan for how I’d pay to send my son to college in 10 years. I did cry in therapy sometimes, but each session always ended with “I can’t quit my job,” though I’d been checking my messages and missed calls every 15 minutes, and once even answered a call for some reason I swore was a dire emergency at the time. It consumed every fiber of my life.
I’m a Taurus. I need to be as comfortable as possible at all times and I got inconceivably comfortable. It was the perfect job for me for as long as it was. I was happy to play a supporting role because a) my self-imposed martyrdom became a heady addiction that eventually defined my very existence, and 2) as long as I was focusing on every detail of my job, I had the excuse not to work hard on taking care of my life. I wasn’t driving my own course and I drove the lives of others for money. I got used to it, and I convinced myself that I was reading less and no longer journaling or going to concerts was merely the result of shifting priorities. The truth is I was missing in my own life and I was missing from my son’s life. I was inextricably submerged in “the other side” because I believed I was adulting and that’s what adults do.
My world had become a struggle to maintain the forward motion of rusty gears on gears, metal on metal, loudly grinding and turning a massive sort of a hamster wheel. It managed to keep going somehow, likely due to laws of physics and forward momentum. But eventually, it ground to a halt. I had settled into an asphyxiating rut. Eventually, it stopped and gears still hot to the touch, my life broke. I was exhausted.
George Michael knew his talent belied his neon short shorts when he signed with Sony, but he couldn’t have fathomed creating the masterpiece “Listen Without Prejudice” more than a decade later. He had a lot of life to live first. When I chose my career at 30, the only work experience I’d had was in record stores and at EMI Music. Conversely, I’d already begun using Estee Lauder (both day and nights serums), acquired a taste for single malt scotch, and had an appreciation for good sheets. It was time to become my adult self. I took out my eyebrow and tongue rings and accepted a job with one of the smartest, most passionately imperfect and intense men I’d ever met. Fortunately, I consider myself the smartest, most passionately imperfect and intense woman I’ve ever met. Our bond and mutual respect were instant and long-lasting. It was amazingly easy for 2 narcissists to work so closely together for so many years. We understood each other perfectly.
I’ve learned that 2 narcissists can’t occupy the same space at the same time (my regrets to L-Boogie) without one of them dying inside a little bit every day. Any ombudsman worth her weight in salt eventually wants more.
Leaving was a difficult decision and a painful process. Everything about my life changed and my decision affected numerous people. I refer to it now as a mini death, and I’ve learned to embrace the fact that sometimes death is sudden. The process of growing out of the life path you signed up for and contributed to creating for yourself is a paradigm shift. After years of putting all of my faith in other people to take care of me, I’m learning to put that faith in myself and to use my voice.
So, there you have it. I’m creating a corner of the world (web) that’s all mine.