Monthly Archives: July 2014

Why I Left

Almost ten years ago, I worked at a pharmaceutical company. It wasn’t the dream job I had imagined when I was young, though it very much was a dream job for me during most of my tenure there.

I started off on the ground floor, taking a position at a lower level than I was working previously in order to get into the company. I had recently been laid off, yet another victim of sorts of the 9/11 tragedy. This company was growing and offered a lot of opportunity.

The company went into launch mode six months after I joined, hiring like crazy. I got a promotion, and several others in the next few years, with all the trappings of the so-called “American Dream”. I worked well outside of my job description and loved every minute of it.

It was heady and exciting to be a part of something that felt so significant. I was learning a lot, testing myself and developing new skills, and felt like I was tremendously valued and appreciated while being part of a family of sorts.

Then things changed.

I was now one of 2,000 employees. And worst of all, I got caught up in a political turf war and was uninvited to the launch meeting along with several of my peers. I was crushed. It was as if all the hard work and sacrifice were thrown in my face, and now that the rewards of my work were realized, I was no longer valued.

I was then given the task of doing the same thing in half the time with half the resources– not very inspiring.

I was making more money than I ever thought possible and working in a job that I formerly loved, however, my prior joy was now sucked out. I felt so insulted, and didn’t see the opportunity for growth that I previously enjoyed. After a rough weekend of soul searching, I determined my next step.

Credit to: Stephanie Staples, www.nursetogether.com

Credit to: Stephanie Staples, http://www.nursetogether.com

I resigned.

I was offered a lot more money, but that wasn’t really the point. I just didn’t feel it anymore and money wasn’t going to bring back the joy I once had. People were shocked when they found out I was quitting without a job, and I’ll admit that I felt a little smug about it.

I have never made the money I made while working at that company, nor have I enjoyed any job as much since. However, I’ve never once regretted my decision to leave when the job no longer served me. I’ve always felt that the $1,500 the company saved for my travel to that meeting wasn’t worth the insult to me, nor to my peers, who all left shortly after I did.

I may not find a job I am as passionate about, however, I will no longer sacrifice myself so much for any company. It was a painful lesson learned but a good one, and though I do continue to struggle with my work-life balance at times, thinking back to this time certainly puts things into perspective.

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Why Home is Always in your Heart

The best cure for being homesick: go home.

As I crossed over the country, my excitement grew. What would it be like to go home? How would it be to see friends that I have known for most of my life, yet haven’t seen in years? Would it be comforting to be home, or would it feel strange? Would it still feel like home?

I landed during a mild hurricane and my wonderful friend and her perfect pup met me at the airport shuttle stop. It poured buckets, and yet we ran giggling through the puddles.

Home.

Such mixed feelings. The sights, the smells, the sounds—all so familiar and yet like they were from a lifetime ago. And in many ways, they are. I arrived feeling like it was all so familiar, and yet feeling like a visitor.

I walked a beach that I walked as a child at a very different point in my life. Back then I had no control of the chaos around me. Now it’s entirely different. I can run down the beach with the giddiness of a child and no heavy weight of sadness. I am free to be the person I want to be, and the person that I always have been.

I am free to be a child if I choose, and it was fun.

The universe provided a wonderful gift, and I had the opportunity to stay right in Boston in an apartment in my favorite part of town, Back Bay. I was a block from the Public Garden, across the street from a beautiful green belt with mature trees. Feeling like a local again was so wonderful and made my heart happy.

I am so honored by the amazing generosity with which it was given. And I was blessed to meet one of the most amazing people—she unfortunately doesn’t have the gift of time, but is blessed with the strength and beauty of understanding that time is precious and every moment to be cherished. Perspective is such an incredible thing. What a gift meeting her was—such an amazing person filled with such beauty and light.

I’m grateful.

As I pounded the pavement eager to see everything I could, I got to reconnect with some friends from my past: a friend from elementary school that I haven’t seen for over 25 years, my best friend during high school and much of my 20s and 30s, a college friend, and several friends I’ve known for 10-to-20 years. Reconnecting those friendships again filled me with such a feeling of love and comfort. Distance may separate us but they will always be in my heart.

Friendship

I had the opportunity to visit some of places I used to love during my childhood to create new memories, filled with much more happiness than the first time around. Places like Newport, Rhode Island and Rockport, MA are burned in my memory as my escape places. The waves crashing on the beach used to bring me solace and they washed away my tears. Now the same waves brought peace and happiness. I felt the comfort of being home in a place so familiar.

Home.

Memories of my time in Boston leave happy echoes in my heart. Even during some of the toughest times of my lives, I met some truly amazing people who walked with me every step of the way. My life may not be what I envisioned or even what I wished for, but I am so incredibly lucky and grateful to the people in my life for showing me that. My heart feels like it may overflow now and my tears wash away the sadness of some of my earliest memories.

Thanks to my friends for reintroducing me to my home. I remember all of the feelings I had years ago walking the same paths, and yet, I opened and let it all go. My heart healed when I laid down wonderful new tracks in these places. What a beautiful gift.

Time truly can heal.

Have you ever noticed that when you are enjoying yourself, and especially when you really are happy with a toe-curling, deep-down feeling of jumping in the air and twirling like a child in a ballerina skit, time flies quickly? My week in Boston few by in an instant—I was on the plane arriving, and then, almost instantly, back on the plane returning.

Poof! My magical week was over. But In a way, I can’t help but feel that it’s just begun. I had to run away to be able to go back home.

The Long Goodbye

What does “I love you” mean to you?

I have been thinking a lot lately about what “I love you” means and I believe everyone has a slightly different definition based on the context, the moment in time and the relationship.

When I was a child, “I love you” meant you are an important part of my world and I will keep you safe. It meant you are my love, you are my joy and you are my future.

But that didn’t make any sense to me given the abuse that I regularly dealt with from the person who brought me into this world. How do you say “I love you” then proceed to continuously berate, belittle and hit a child? It was difficult to reconcile, and though I am not sure I still am able to, I have learned to be at peace with it.

When I was a teenager and began dating, it meant that you mean a lot to me and I will be there for you, will be good to you and will protect your heart. Here is my vision of you and me, and I want to make it happen. I am going to make it happen. Forever.

However, there’s no contract with “I love you” and sometimes it simply means I love you.

In. This. Moment.

Maybe the lesson is to just enjoy those moments– appreciate the love wrapped around me then and there. And if it remains, that’s wonderful. A person’s actions show their feelings, thoughts and intent more than words can. Someone’s “I love you” may mean something entirely different.

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When I was younger, I remember thinking, “but he said he loved me. How could he [fill in the blank.]” I was recently having this conversation with myself and stopped and realized that our definitions were different. I realized that not much had changed.

I know from my childhood that I cannot keep my heart open to someone who doesn’t love himself; someone who doesn’t care about me enough to respect me and treat me with thoughtfulness and consideration when things are tough. Someone who would rather walk away than have a conversation about what is bothering him.

I remember laughing when on Sex and the City, someone broke up with Carrie with a post-it note. Hilarity. It’s not so funny when it actually happens.

There’s a lesson in everything though. I have always had a difficult time closing my heart to people who mistreat it. When I say “I love you,” it’s more than just the words but also implies some level of commitment that I am willing to stay and do the work. I have a hard time walking away when the other person doesn’t have that same level of commitment. Or I walk away, only to return. Then I get angry at myself for remaining in the situation and trying when the effort is not being reciprocated.

happyAround and around I go, reenacting my childhood dance. I may now be able to step back and see it, but it’s so easy to fall into the patterns of behavior reinforced over so many years of my life, time and time again. Then to be disappointed in myself for doing it, still clinging to them because though they don’t serve me, they are comfortable.

Instead of being frustrated with myself for doing this again, I choose to be grateful for the fact that even after what I’ve been through, I still see the positive in people and hope that they will prove me right.

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And so I shall.

Thank you.

Thank you for being in my life, if for no other reason than to teach me a valuable lesson of my self-worth, love and respect.

Thank you for walking away when you recognized that I deserve far better than you are willing and capable of giving.

Thank you for the gift of showing me just how far I’ve come, and that I can make different choices.

Thank you for doing it in such a way that leaves me absolutely no doubt in my heart.

It’s time to move on past the long goodbye.