Letting Go, (Struggling Against) Looking Back

Sitting at my work desk today, my big step (my great, huge leap) has begun to sink in. Finally, it’s starting to feel like a reality. I am leaving my day job, on principal alone. Not merely on a whim, though; I have to leave because the environment is interfering with my ability to be a sane, level-headed, self-sufficient, and happy person.

I start to wonder if there are stages of realization, as there are stages of grief. All of the different emotions I’m feeling – sadness, grief, questioning if this was the right decision, and sometimes – rarely but increasingly – the relief just washes in like a flood. I have taken a jump of faith and I believe that things will all work out for the better; it can only improve from the situation I have been in. But now I have to figure out exactly what that means I will need to do.

My last day is tomorrow. I put in that notice two weeks ago…already! …quitting a job to which I have poured out my heart and soul and effort (and time and love and…practically my life for the last 7 1/2 years). I now have one full work day ahead of me (I thank the universe for the paid holidays I can still take advantage of). It was not easy. It took me weeks to finally commit to this (and a tremendous, supportive push from my husband). I will have to explain more of the background to the situation when I’m further away from it (and I don’t feel sick to my stomach thinking of it), but I know in my core that this was the right decision.

I had been going home every night and crying for hours, assaulting my family and friends with pleas for ideas to help “fix” the situation. My body wouldn’t sleep without a sedative. Feeling like I was losing myself, I couldn’t go in to work without anti-anxiety medication. I hadn’t had a normal digestive tract for weeks. I couldn’t find the energy to look for another job; I couldn’t even cook dinner or paint or garden…my favorite things to do. Every week was a cycle of surviving until Friday evening and relaxing for a day, then tensing up and dreading Sunday night and the inevitable return to my own custom-tailored version of hell on Earth.

I tried to look at it from different perspectives. I tried extreme self love and taking a few days off to re-evaluate things. I gave my employer every benefit of the doubt, every chance to rectify the situation with the exception of staying in their employ to train my replacement and be let go (i.e. letting them walk all over me). I had to take it into my own hands and face the truth. As I found out, doing what’s right for yourself is not always easy, or what others suggest, or even what comes naturally. Sometimes you just know and have to fight so hard against the “shoulds”…beating yourself bloody like a salmon en route to spawn.

Even though I know it was a good decision and Scott and I are prepared to face a life on one income for awhile, I just keep getting hung up on how hard it is to let go of the idea of this job at its prime, even when it has now become so toxic and destructive. The memory of the good things and my accomplishments, and the thought that if I just tried harder, it would have worked…

It is a human fault of mine to care beyond reason, and I know that this see-saw of emotion is probably just an echo of the back-and-forth momentum of the last few weeks. I kept making a decision, sure that I would show up the next day and finally be able to settle things. The problem was, the next day came and there were different options on the table. Day after day, endless back and forth. It seemed like a game of cat and mouse where I was presented with the option to chase my tail endlessly and no opportunity to catch the mouse (I found out it was stuffed with sand, anyway…so that may be for the better).

It swung my compass around violently so many times that I know it will take awhile to recalibrate completely and see everything clearly again.

Have you ever made a really tough decision through the confusion of a negative circumstance? How did you deal with the aftermath of doubts, and did everything turn out for the better?