It was Friday the 13th in January of this year. I had just returned from a four-day business trip that was full of energy and life and motivation. It was actually a leadership conference, and considering I had just joined the company a few months prior in November, I was eager to get to know my co-workers and fellow industry folk from around the country. So the trip was something to look forward to, yet I dreaded getting on the plane. I felt guilty for being excited about having alone time/being away from my kids and husband. I felt sad for leaving them. I was looking forward to making new connections with people within my company that shared in my daily struggles (often) and successes (not as often unfortunately). While I was there, I asked strategic questions to find out more about the work/life balance others had and what they loved about coming to work each day. I noticed a pattern: the people in my company were amazing. They are hard-working and dedicated and tenacious and driven and inspiring. And I met a lot of incredible people, some of whom made flattering comments about my potential and what I could bring to the property and organization, just based off having watched me work for a few short weeks..it was very nice to hear to say the least and I left feeling appreciated.
However, I woke up that Friday morning filled with one of the worst feelings I’ve felt in my 35 years. I physically ached, my stomach hurt, I was puking. I dreaded going to work. I managed to get myself and the girls ready and get out of the house. As I backed my car out of the driveway my eyes welled up with tears. When I got to Sadler’s daycare I remember feeling angry. I barely spoke to anyone, signed her in at the front desk and got back in my car. As I drove to Everly’s daycare I started to feel increasingly worse and dreaded even walking into a familiar place such as her school in a few short minutes. I got out of my car, saw a fellow mommy/dear friend and my heart swelled in anticipation of a simple hug. I cried on her shoulder and my crying suddenly turned to sobbing. I could tell she was afraid of what was happening and not quite sure of what to say. My explanations were frantic; broken sentences and heavy breathing seemed to last forever. I took Everly into her classroom and looked at one of the teachers, “I hate my job”, the tears streamed down my face. My body physically ached as I hugged the daycare workers and my sweet friend, kissed Everly goodbye and drove home. I crawled into bed and cried harder than ever before. With the force of a Mack truck barreling down a midnight highway, I became overwhelmed with an urge I had felt before. An urge that only six months prior had swept me off my feet; an urge that led Reid and I to a place of unfamiliarity, but we seemed to find peace with things. We accepted that I wasn’t happy in my career and we agreed that I could and should hang my property management hat on the hook for the time being. I was being called to stay at home with my children, and felt in my heart that a work-from-home situation was more conducive to the life I wanted to live. However, an opportunity with another company presented itself and things began to appear as if perhaps there was a lifeline to the happiness within my career as a manager. I was excited about my new boss, loved the people-centric culture that my new company had to offer and even saw a future for myself within their executive leadership team. But on this Friday the 13th none of that seemed to matter. I found myself feeling that very same feeling that had knocked me over six months before. I picked up my phone and without fear of judgment I vulnerably texted my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be in the office, that I was having a rough time; I openly shared with her my current state of darkness and despair. I had nothing to lose and knew everything was actually only to be gained from that point forward.
The next few days were not much better physically, while mentally I felt a great sense relief. I managed to push through the weekend and as luck would have it, my birthday was the following Monday. An outpouring of love from friends and family on my “halfway to 70” birthday made the healing process that much sweeter and definitely much easier. I knew what I had to do, and the very next day I resigned from my position. My boss was devastated and tried to talk me out of it. Higher ups within the company called to try and talk me out of it. But they wholeheartedly respected my decision and I left no bridges burned in my departure.
I don’t have a solid plan, and I can honestly say the whole gamut of emotion has played part in my world lately. There’s been fear but hope, sadness but joy, uncertainty but clarity… But I have faith in God, and I firmly know that where I was wasn’t where I needed to be. Money can be made in plenty of ways and property managers are a dime a dozen. While I may have been successful in my career and am grateful for all that it provided for both me personally and for my family monetarily, life is far too precious and certainly not long enough to do anything that steals your joy.
Thanks to two very important ladies in my life, I know these two things to be true:
Ability and desire are not the same thing.
You can’t give from an empty vessel.
Life started for us this week, I just know it.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “