Yesterday was my first day not going to the office. Well, sort of, anyway. I actually did go to the office…to turn in my laptop, phone, ID badge, and credit card. Except this time I couldn’t go in. I’ve already been erased from the system. My name already says “presence unknown” in the corporate chat tool.
How do I feel? A jumble of emotions. Just like life.
A mixed bag. A veritable stew. Yeah, like life. And after all, it is life. Just a different chapter.
I knew I felt heavy before. I could tell particularly when I went to my Alexander lesson at the end of the workday. My body weighed down when I wasn’t carrying anything except my tiny purse. Now I know just how heavy that was, because I already feel lighter.
What was so heavy? An atmosphere of mistrust, indecision, negativity, and criticism. A process that chokes the life out of everything. And the funny thing is that we weren’t dealing with life and death here. It was money. Work process. Computer systems to facilitate workflow. Not something that’s going to change the course of humankind.
After only one day I already feel the weight is starting to lift. My voice has a lilt that hasn’t been there for a while.
If you’re somewhere you don’t really belong, if you’re fighting your culture, you may feel heavy too. Pay attention to that feeling. It may mean that it’s time to make a change.
Like an Outsider
Already on January 2nd I no longer belonged. I was already disconnected. Not part of the group. The tribe. This is such a strong drive for us, even in our modern world. Belonging to a tribe is so deep-seated. Sometimes we’ll do almost anything to belong. Even lose ourselves.
And now here I am on Day One no longer part of that tribe. Feeling as though I don’t truly belong to any tribe right now.
As I wrote these words in my journal, I realized this has been a recurring theme in my life – feeling like an outsider. Not part of the group. I wasn’t willing to completely sacrifice my sense of self to become someone else.
What I did instead was work harder than everyone else to make myself valuable enough to earn the right to belong. I haven’t believed people would want me to be part of the group just for me. I believed I had to earn my way in. That’s something for me to continue to work on.
Maybe I’m not alone in that. Maybe you struggle with that too. If so, know you have a fellow struggler.
Hopeful and Excited
How often do we get the chance to start over when we choose the timeline? Not often. So often life happens to us, and we end up responding. This time I chose. And I did it. I have a blank canvas. An empty score. Now I get to fill it in. I get to play as I go. I get to ask myself – what would be meaningful to me? What do I need? What would be fun? What would be in service to others? What does love look like? And I have more freedom to decide and do than I’ve ever had before.
Maybe you don’t have this luxury right now. You can still ask yourself those questions in your present circumstances. You can steer your life more than you think you can. When you open your heart to possibilities, it’s amazing how they show themselves.
Yes, I worked hard. Very hard. Yes, I sacrificed to get ahead. I battled sexism. I didn’t buy a big house. I bought only used cars. I saved instead of spent. I invested wisely. But that’s not the only story. I’ve never been laid off. My husband’s death didn’t cause a huge financial disaster. I don’t have monumental medical bills; I’m not paying for a loved one’s drug rehabilitation. My situation isn’t totally the result of my own hard work. I know it and I’m grateful.
My life’s not perfect. If you’ve read this blog or listened to my podcast for any length of time, you know that. But I am indeed blessed. And I choose to focus on the blessings. This time I have is one of those blessings.
What are you grateful for? How are you blessed? Just take one minute to feel one blessing in your heart. Breathe it in and exhale with that sense of freedom that comes from a grateful heart.
So yeah. After Day One, it’s a mixed bag. Lighter, like an outsider, excited, blessed. Just like life. ‘Cause it is. A mixture of crazy, wonderful, awful, beautiful, and exciting. Whatever it is, I'm embracing it. It's the only life we've got. Let's live it!
How are you feeling right this minute? If you’re experiencing a jumble of emotions, you’re not alone. Share in the comments, and even share a photo if you want.
P.S., A story appeared in my local paper just today about a couple who embraced life even at the point of death. Click here to read it.