February 8th 2017. That was the day that I officially took a break, took a step back, got some much-needed rest, went on hiatus... became unemployed. I'd spent most of my adult life working in an industry that was foreign to the word; down time. Being open 24-hours, 365 days a year, meant that like the career I'd chosen, I was available ALL THE TIME. It'd become commonplace to receive a call at 11pm (just after I'd had my third glass of Sangria), from a colleague stating that he couldn't show up for work, and of course needed me to cover his shift. It was upsetting to get that text at 5am suggesting that I come in to scramble some eggs, because the breakfast cook had yet to arrive for her shift. It was hellish to be on vacation and receive a flood of emails, texts and voice mails indicating that my division was represented negatively on TripAdvisor, and I had one day to respond... from the boat... in the middle of the ocean... on my anniversary... on my vacation.
I complained a lot, imbibed a bit, complained some more, drank some more, and chalked it all up to, "that's why I get the big bucks!" I consumed stress for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and gobbled it all up with a hint of thyme. After the company closed my division, I accepted a job offer with another like business. During my first day of training, a colleague joked about the busyness of the company. His exact words to me were, "prepare to never sleep again." I'd learn later that he'd just returned from a two-month absence due to a heart attack. In the days that followed, I'd worked 10-12 hour days, pacify livid customers, placate irate staff threatening to quit, reconcile payroll from three weeks ago, and assist the police with a drug sting... no, really.
On the fifth day of my 'training', I excused myself to the restroom. I grabbed my purse on the way the door, and walked directly to my car, where I sat for several minutes with my head buried in my hands. I sobbed uncontrollably, and experienced a panic attack so troubling that I considered driving to the ER. I called my husband, and in a rapid, incoherent rant told him that I just couldn't do it anymore. I apologized repeatedly, and highlighted the many reasons that I was having a mental breakdown in my SUV. Expecting him to be sensible and urge me to put my big girl panties on and get back in there and push through it, he simply said, "Baby, just quit and come home." WHAT?!?! Did he just tell me to quit? Doesn't he realize that I have a car payment? Doesn't he realize that we've got a trip out of town coming up? Doesn't he realize that we have one more dependent child left at home? Doesn't he realize that I have a handbag addiction? Doesn't he realize that the house payment is coming due, again? WHAT?!?!
February 20, 2017. I woke up at 9am (instead of 5am), because I could. I watched as my gorgeous husband made me a killer omelet, followed by me enjoying an hour-long relaxing bubble bath. I took my doxies to the lake and was able to leisurely walk along the shore with them. I sat on the bed with my two youngest daughters, reminiscing, laughing, and sharing family memories. I followed up with clients from as far away as China, and thus generated additional income. I wrote some more chapters, and submitted another blog. And then it happened. I casually looked over at him as he worked on an art piece for an upcoming show, and it clicked... this is what I want, this is actually, ALL that I want.
Now, don't go searching for the GoFundMe link at the bottom of this page, because you won't find one. And no, I'm not selling my Coach bags on eBay... yet. But I can tell you what I am doing. I am seriously investing in myself, and focusing on my personal businesses. I fully intend to take my 'hobbies' to the next level. I am cutting expenses in my life that are eating away at funds best used elsewhere (buh, bye Sirius XM, it's been fun cable TV). I am setting the stage for what I will, and won't settle for in my life. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for drama and BS. And most importantly, I'm spending quality time with the ones I love. The past few nights have been the most restful, and enjoyable evenings I've had in several years. I went to bed knowing that no one would be calling, emailing, or texting me with an issue. It was fantastic!
Will I ever go back to working for someone else? I don't know. Will I ever sacrifice my health and well-being for a plaque on some wall attempting to showcase my worth? Definitely not! I'm sitting in my PJ's wrapping up my novel, invoicing clients, listening to Prince, sipping my oolong tea, petting my pooch, and watching him paint. I'm unsure of how long this ideal happenstance will last, but I am sure that I will work towards it extending a lifetime.
I feel good. I feel really GOOD. And now that I've leapt, I'm fully confident that the Universe will cause the net to appear...