Today is my last day at my job. After a year of bemoaning my existence and my victim-hood of being stuck in such a horrible, soul-sucking job I finally did the unthinkable: I resigned. Without another job in place, without any clear idea of what would happen to me after that last paycheck, without any real handhold to grab onto before letting go.
I grew up with the understanding that quitting a job, unless it was to go to another job that you already had a written offer from, was just not something that responsible people do. I thought that people who held jobs outside of offices with the general 9 to 5 schedule were cut from material so different than that of my creation that I couldn’t possibly relate, and shouldn’t try to.
At the risk of taking the analogy too far, I thought that life was like a game of Monopoly. You may make deals and create your own rules for some minor things (like how to distribute the tax money- did anyone else play by the “Free Parking wins it all” rule?), but for the most part the rules are set. They were written before you got there, they haven’t changed all that much over the years, and although you and your particular co-gamers may make some minor changes you’re basically playing the same game as everybody else.
Well, having had my entire understanding of life blow up in my face, and now with a year of life telling me pretty directly that it doesn’t give a rat’s ass what my plans are I can now say that I am finally seeing things ‘outside the box’. Or, at least not picking up the instruction manual anymore when people do things that don’t fit the rules.
How do I know that I’m seeing things differently? Because, as I said, today is my last day of work. Real, paycheck coming in direct deposit, health insurance helping me to afford to see my endocrinologist, rest assured that I can make mortgage work. And I don’t have another job lined up yet.
At this moment I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what’s coming next. And instead of paralyzing fear, or unimaginable despair, or even good old-fashioned panic I am feeling freedom. FREEDOM. Not excitement, not anticipation, not anything that you might feel if you knew there was something coming up the pike and you really believed it was good.
No, I feel freedom. The kind of feeling you get from not knowing- not even being able to formulate a hypothesis or assumption- what’s coming up. Having not experienced this particular feeling very often (I can think of two other occasions in my entire life, in fact), it’s pretty weird. This lightness in my chest is so drastically different from the heavy weight I usually feel.
I hear bad news and I don’t panic, or even startle. I just sit back and go “Ok, then.” There are a million little thoughts and worries and judgments that normally speed through my mind like a tornado that I’m just not thinking right now.
Instead, I listen to the radio and sing along out loud and off key without caring. I laugh- at whatever. Just because. I find my lips twitching in a suspiciously smile-like motion as I think of that silly Youtube video I just watched or that thing my puppy did.
I’m not naive enough to think that this wonderfully freeing sensation will last, and I’m completely prepared for those feelings of fear, panic and dread to return. My only hope is that when they do I won’t judge myself for having them or conclude that they’re back to stay. My only wish is that I can release them instead, and let the light return. Go back to being at peace with not knowing.
And for now? Now I’m just grateful that I have this feeling, for however long it lasts.