It is the Friday before Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting in my office feeling weepy. Network services are down in the building, and there is no phone access or CNN to distract me from staying present in this moment. Change is happening throughout my life and most of it is out of my control.
The leaves are changing, snow is on the way, and I don’t know where I’ll be working two months from now. I’ve enjoyed a nice combination of employment and self-employment and my day job is going through changes.
Intellectually I know all will be well, however, this morning I hit an emotional wall. A slightly snarky e-mail from a stranger made me see red. I knew I was overreacting to it. However, the anger came up anyway, and I couldn’t shake it. I simmered. I fumed. Then I stomped.
I called a trusted friend to detail the injustice of the e-mail. Midway through my rant, my voice cracked. Oh crap. Here we go. Damn, I am human. I started to cry.
The cause of my upset was not the grump who challenged filling out some forms. The truth is, I’m closing a chapter of my work life and this week brought home some facts that turned the concept into a reality. Yes, it is the end of another cycle.
In many ways, I’m at a turning point. This week I updated my resume. I leafed through my career portfolio and saw mementos of old jobs I used to love too. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’ve been, some career roads not taken and what could or could not be ahead for me.
And I’m allowed to feel sad about all of it. I must be ready to move on. But I don’t naturally make the space to feel anxious and uncertain. Feeling vulnerability is not my “go to” first choice emotional state.
When I think about the last week, I’ve stayed busy and distracted, but I’ve felt on edge. Admittedly worn down by the flu and the circus of American politics I’ve felt out of sorts. In my quiet time, I’ve been revisiting some old grievances and ghosts of workplaces past. I’ve noticed a hint of a “poor me” creeping in and some “tone.”
Intellectually I’ve known I’m at risk for creating resentments as a defence against the changes. You can’t talk yourself out of resentment or into liking something that in the short- term sucks. I need to acknowledge the losses and feel them move me forward to the other side.
The problem with unexpressed feelings is they can get in the way of seeing the facts. What is happening is merely the end of a cycle. Organizational changes aren’t personal. Every change does bring a silver lining. But there is no way to see it without first acknowledging what you are losing. You have to look at it and feel it and say goodbye.
I’d forgotten about the power, and necessity of a good cry. I’m enjoying having a good old snot nosed cry, alone in my office on this sunny day and the pressure is lifting. My perspective is shifting.
And saying thank you helps to say goodbye with more grace. My first thanks are to my non-judgemental friend who listened until I got to the part where I cried. And thanks to the grumpy pants who sent me the e-mail and the service outage that stopped me from hastily replying.
With tears flowing I could say out loud how much I’ve loved what I’ve built and the people with whom I had the privilege to work. I’ve made the absolute most of a unique opportunity, and I’ve had an incredible run. I needed to say this out loud and a witness so I could hear it.
As if on cue, someone slipped a lovely handwritten card underneath my door. I opened the card and read, “Thank you for the time you spent with me and for making me see myself in a different light.”
I’m thanking my lucky stars for everything this work situation made possible for me and the daily joy of loving what I do and knowing I made a difference in someone’s life.
Nothing is happening yet, and the timelines don’t matter now. I am grateful and I am ready for whatever is next.