My Life of What Ifs

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Then and Now

Six months ago today I posted this on my original blog. It was my announcement that I had given notice at my job, and at the time the decision seemed crystal clear. There were no doubts, only endless possibilities of what the future may hold. That was then.

Now, things are a little cloudier. Cloudy with doubt and a menagerie of what ifs. What if I hadn't quit my job? What if I had waited to give notice until I found something else? What if I had been laid-off instead? What if someone just knocked me upside my head? Last Saturday, for the very first time, I uttered the words. I said, "I should have never quit my job." Those words are hard to type, and they were even harder to say, but I meant them.

I have to be honest, and what better place to be honest than on my blog where anyone can read my words? I should not have quit my job. Looking back it was a selfish thing to do. My actions were justified, at least I thought they were. I was burned out. Miserable. My physical and mental health were severely affected by my commute, the doom-and-gloom atmosphere of working for an automotive supplier, and my lack of passion for what I was doing. In short, I had a shitty attitude and it made everything suck.

The six weeks between giving notice and my actual last day were euphoric. I didn't dread going to work, I didn't dread driving to work, and I didn't dread doing the work, because I knew I wasn't going to have to do it much longer. The week before my last, my employer laid off another 145 people. It was the fifth round of mass layoffs in two-and-a-half years. Did I save someones job by giving my notice? Who knows? Did I miss out on severance and unemployment by jumping the gun? Again, who knows? I will never know, and for awhile I could survive without thinking about it at all. Money wasn't too tight, due to some carefully planned options, but now after five months or so? Yeah, things aren't too green at our house. Had I stuck it out, it may have gotten better, and I would have continued to bring in a very nice paycheck twice a month to keep my family in food, gas and electricity. But no, I had dreams.

During my time "off", I accomplished many things I had been wanting to do for so long. I printed digital pictures. I cleaned out closets and storage spaces. I even started to remodel our small master bath. By started, I mean I decided how I was going to decorate it and that's about as far as I got. Around the holidays my motivation started to slow, and the depression crept in. I have dealt with depression for as long as I can remember. I have been medicated and not. In therapy and not. I could guess why I was feeling that way, and not. This was different. Depression when you have no where to go is even worse. Even if you hate where you are going every day you can still (most of the time) convince yourself that you have to get up and go. But, by quitting my job I also quit my reason for being. Yes, I have kids and a husband and I live for them, but I also realized how I lived for my career and how much I identified myself by my success and my job. When my job was no longer, there were days where I literally could not get out of bed. I have never felt so hopeless and helpless in all of my life, and I was, and am, medicated and in therapy. Go figure.

Recently I was given my first freelance writing assignment. It is a dream come true. The assignment is not finished yet, due entirely to Michigan's crappy weather, but it will be soon. But I don't feel I am as excited about it as I should be. I don't feel motivated or compelled to get it done. In fact, I figure at this point I will finish it about five minutes before I turn it in to my editor. I also went and applied at five local greenhouse/landscape companies and last week started at a local family run operation. I am working my ass off for very little, and yet when I am there I love it. I have purpose and I accomplish things. I feel like I've done something when I leave there, but leaving there is the problem. When I am not there I am flooded again with self doubt and I question my self worth. "I left what job to do this?" "I negotiated music licenses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and now I am transplanting Coleus all day?" What. The. Hell.

I am not a snob (at least I don't think I am), but I am horribly confused. What has happened to me? What did I do to my life? To my families' life? Did I really identify myself that much by my job? Or was it just having a job? One where I was using my degree and raking in the cash? I don't know the answers anymore. But I am tired, and on the edge. Something has to wake up inside of me and soon. My 37th birthday is a week from today and I am desperate for this mid-life crisis of mine to be over. I have talent. I am smart. So where is my motivation to succeed and when will the darkness go away? I am ready for my fresh start, for the possibilities to come to fruition, and for the old me to return. I guess she wasn't so bad after all.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Oh Stacy!! I'm so sorry you're feeling this way! I wish there was something I could say or do, but there isn't. ((hugs)) and you know what? We do need another "get together" and hey, birthdays would be a good excuse. Hang in there, girl - you'll figure it out. I have faith!