Monday, April 12, 2010

Leaving Home

You ever notice how many people say "I am done with _______"?
I wonder if they know the next step is "I'm finished?" It is only when THAT unshakeable realization hits that you can leave the cube, or office or virtual desk or even a relationship. It is a really a great beginning, that “I’m finished”, and always proceeded by the feeling of “I have no control/I need control”.

I have often thought that leaving a job you loved is like leaving a man (or woman) that you loved--and there is an inherent grieving process involved, no matter what the final reason for leaving is.

Both situations are similar, too, in the fact that most of the time is no one single reason for leaving—it is just time. There is, however, for everyone (and don’t let them fool you) one final moment of realization of “finished”.

Finished is the last and final -30- on any relationship, be it work or personal. More likely than not, it is that one bit of realization that hits you with more of a whisper than of a bang.

For work, it might be the one that is seductively whispering in your ear as you sit thru another endlessly fruitless conference call. For that dead end relationship, it is the one that makes you say across the breakfast table without putting the paper down, “I having an affair with_______”. (____) being the one person your husband/partner/lover,  would never think you would have an affair with, and the one they cannot possibly forgive. This method works—I know—and works especially well if you are lying.

You say it. And you are committed. Work or Love-same same. In fact, saying “I’m finished” is a lot like saying I love you. YOU CANNOT TAKE BACK THOSE WORDS. They are irrevocable, and once said ping-pong around the universe with consequences that cannot even be imagined at the time they leave your mouth.  Extreme caution must be used. They should carry a warning label. "Use only in an emergency, or if you want to continue to breathe. "

Once said, you feel relief. At first. Don’t get cocky—other feelings are on the fast train right behind relief. Exhilaration. Euphoria. Power. Unlimited potential. Sorrow. Regret. Then, FEAR. Yes, make no mistake: The feeling of “oh shit, what have I done?” is part of this transitory space you have put yourself in. This transitory space can part of the adventure of what is ahead. Don’t dwell in any one of those feelings – you do not have the luxury of that self-indulgence. Speedy acceptance is essential. YOU made the decision, and whatever happens next, YOU have taken back control of your life. So get on with it.

Control of the ending of things. Interesting, we are back at the beginning.

Left anything or anyone lately?


  1. Not lately, but I remember the feeling well. When I quit my job to travel RTW for a year I was exilerated and terrified at the same time. I also remember feeling a bit lost once I no longer had a job which defined "who I am." It took quite a while to get over that sense of loss, almost like going through the 5 stages of grief.

  2. What a powerful analogy. That's exactly what I couldn't articulate to a girlfriend on the phone - IT is similar to a relationship disintegrating, that pause before it's cemented, over, done, finished.

    Unlike Kristina, I don't feel lost. My identity at work was slipping, for NC IS my true self.

    What I do feel is pushed towards the right direction. The layoff shocked me only because what I longed for came abruptly, before I was prepared. Ah, but it's dawning on me I probably was prepared. My psyche refused to see it. :)

    Beautifully written Sharon, thanks for sharing.

  3. These days it seems I am always leaving. But the interesting part of leaving is that it is really the first stage of arriving. This has become a sort of mantra for me.

    The best part of not working (for money) is what Kristina has said; you get to redefine yourself. No longer are you defined by what you DO, but more about who you ARE. This is a good thing.

    Bravo to you Sharon. Your bravery resonates. See you in Rome!