Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bittersweet Goodbye

This past week marks exactly three months since I pulled the ripcord on my old life, and parachuted completely into my fresh new start.

90 days and so much has changed. The first 90 days are what make or break you in a new career, or so I’ve read. You have 90 days to set expectations, leave impressions, let people know your work ethic and how you perform as an employee. Am I working longer hours? Sometimes. Am I experiencing new challenges, learning more, but still having fun? Absolutely.

It’s been a hell of a 90 days for me. The first five weeks in my new career path were spent commuting an hour and a half each way. I essentially walked out the door at 6 am to walk back in around 7 pm, eat dinner, sleep, and restart the next day. I had no social life to speak of, but I at least got to become familiar in the job I was taking over. I’m so grateful for my parents who helped me with Homer and had dinner waiting for me while I worked this insane schedule temporarily still living under their roof.

I knew an ending was in sight as I signed an apartment lease closer to work soon after taking the position. With the help of a moving crew and my family I packed up what I needed from my storage unit and moved into my own place. It’s small, but it's perfect because it's mine. There’s a lovely fenced dog park for Homer to run around in (not to mention friendly neighbors with friendly dogs) and plenty of sidewalks for us to take long walks. 

This is the first time I've been living on my own, and I love it. I went from college to engaged to married; so this is truly my first time living alone. I still deal with some of the neurosis from my ex which rear their ugly heads from time to time. I'm not always sure if I really want to clean something or it's a compulsion from my living with him. I will be the first to tell you I wasn't perfect in my marriage, but I wasn't the one who kept us in every Saturday cleaning and doing laundry. 

It's really the silly, simple pleasures I'm still finding and learning to enjoy. I went from having such a regimented daily and weekly schedule to the freedom of whatever I want to do with my time. Being able to come and go as I please. I can walk around with no clothes. I do laundry when I feel like any day or night of the week. I clean when I want. I'll cook dinner if I want, or pickup takeout on my way home. The only schedule routine I have is walking Homer and letting him run at the dog park. Even he seems more relaxed. I've rediscovered my love of music and have been to three concerts so far this year, with a fourth coming up in September. I've even started golf lessons this month which I've been talking about doing for years. My goal? Get comfortable enough to join the group at work that I'm on the email list for that goes once a week to play a round at the end of the day. 

Two weeks ago I went to the PIA convention to say good bye/pass the gavel officially for the Vice President to move up to President. It was bittersweet. It didn't hit me until I sat down to write the Thank Yous to my board a few days before heading down. I started to cry, and when I text a friend he said of course it's a lot, you're closing a chapter of your life. Truer words haven't been spoken. I miss all these people; they've been my extended family and colleagues for the better part of almost a decade. They awarded me with a lovely plaque for my service as well as a gorgeous collage that I can't wait to hang above my desk in my room. Leaving there on Sunday night was hard; it felt like a final good-bye. It's amazing to see how only three months into my new routine and I already felt so out of place being around my old one. 

For the past 9 years I've known exactly what that PIA weekend holds in store for me. This time that weekend was the first time I had no stress, minor deadlines, and for the first time I felt almost disconnected. I don’t miss what I was doing. Granted, I’m still learning so much, and everything is so new, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge again that it's thanks to what I learned at the agency I landed where I am. I've been told our busy season starts at the end of the summer with renewals, so I know that there will be bad and frustrating days to come. But even in knowing that I still believe this move was for the best, and has improved my relationship with my family, or at least I feel as though it did. From what I’m told via other sources I’m leaving quite the impression with everyone I work with, and they are happy to have me on the team. 

I'm slowly getting into my own routine at home of early morning gym, work, dog mama balance, and fun. Work is starting to feel familiar on some fronts which is slightly frightening. I'm still saying yes to so many new adventures and continuing to get out of my own comfort zone, because that's where the fun happens! 

I still have my down days. I won’t pretend that everything is rainbows and butterflies and incredible times. I’ve cried myself to sleep and messed up things at work. But I dry my tears the next morning, readily admit when I've made a mistake, but the good still heavily outweighs the bad life I was living. If anything the biggest takeaway from my experiences this past year and a half is that life is too short to be anything but happy.  

The word brave gets thrown around a lot for what I did, and the remark that it took so much courage. In some part I can see that, not everyone would be wiling to completely uproot their life and make the drastic changes I did. In some ways I see it as just that, drastic and irresponsible. But how I know it was right is that I feel absolutely no guilt. Knowing that I gave my all, I have a clear conscious of my actions, and my gut tells me as much. I'm happy, have no anxiety, and seeing past photos of me, reading my past journal entires both public and private, I know I was a shell of myself. 

I refuse to ever lose myself again like that, because life is entirely too short. So I'll keep saying yes to new adventures, keep making seemingly terrible life decisions, keep having fun and enjoying every day doing what I want when I want.