I started my current career back in 2011 to which there was a ten week course that had to be completed before I began working. During this course I met what would not only be a future fellow co-worker, but also a true friend.
It began with an orange. She had sat next to me at the usual cheap rectangular grey tables that they set up in conference rooms. There were twenty two of us in the class but only Cher* and I were at this particular table in the back.
It was around noon and the instructor had gone out for her hourly smoke. Each of us pulled out something to snack on and I looked over at hers. She was eating healthy just like me so I took the opportunity to offer her a slice of my orange, maybe strike up a conversation. She politely declined but a conversation did ensue. Before I knew it that ten weeks were like high school all over again, laughing behind our work books, sharing our lunches, and making fun of our teachers.
After our “graduation” we entered into our careers together remaining close friends, going to concerts, out for drinks, listening to our old school music in the car and laughing and laughing and laughing. This was our thing. We had a mirrored sense of humor and it was what connected us from the beginning.
As the years rolled by we drifted apart and the job took its toll on us. It diverted us in different directions and our schedules were rarely ever the same. We had both gone through divorces and new relationships, I had lost my mom, she had also had some difficult times. So much had gone on in our lives since being there. Her taking another position left us only stumbling upon one another every now and again for a moment of a few laughs, a quick hug and a hurried good bye.
Fast forward almost six years later and I found myself in a peculiar head space one day in the break room. I had been under some stress and was really looking down at my life from an arial view. Realizing that I was truly not happy and I had no real sense of direction. My body was at work everyday but my heart, soul and mind had retired long ago. In fact it felt as if everyday I was forcing them into a cage of lions just by getting into my car and sitting in close to an hour worth of traffic heading off to bring home the bacon.
As I pondered this nagging feeling to just up and leave right in the middle of my shift in walks Cher*, absent of her usual ear to ear smile that could light up any room. We both looked beat (not so much in the physical sense but in the “I used to be so full of life and creativity and now I am a conditioned robot doing the same mindless movements sixty hours a week” sort of way)
We started to talk about it immediately and almost instantly, much like many of our conversations before, I felt connected with our like minded views. She began to explain to me, as if thumbing through the pages of the story book within my head, how she felt out of alignment with her true self. That being here presented her with a conundrum of sorts, the money was decent and steady so the bills were paid but the hours consumed her and the work was just not what she was passionate about. She too had the “body present only” situation going on.
We melded together our thoughts for a few more minutes, but much like our entire career here, she had to rush off to her duties and so did I, cutting an enlightening conversation shorter than it should have been in the interest of the company.
I was left feeling somewhat united, yet still alone in my thoughts. However, I could still hear and feel it in the vibrations of her voice even after she left the room that she was on the verge of something greater and she was going for it. I guess I just didn’t realize how soon it would be.
About a month after our encounter I received a phone call and was informed that she had made the leap! Cher had resigned from her position. She didn’t tell me beforehand but that wasn’t a bother. I remember feeling left behind in a way; almost as if my partner in crime received parole and I was denied, exactly like that in fact. Then a wave of pride for my friend washed over me, a touch of sadness and an explosion of inspiration. So many emotions all in a matter of a minute. She did it! She was brave enough to jump ship knowing that the seas might be rough but the freedom of the open waters would be worth it. She was no longer a slave to this machine every day. She didn’t have to go to work knowing that she wasn’t making a difference other than in the numbers in her bank account. It was sheer liberation and I could see it clearly in her joyous responses to my curious text messages about her departure.
She was finally extricated from the schedule of someone else’s timetable. Free to pursue her artistic side and all her passions.
I have read about people like her, people who had just up and left a six figure job to travel the world, make a hobby into a lifestyle, spend time with their family and just live. I have always admired these people who were only in books, and now I knew one in real life. I was amazed. I finally felt like what I really wanted to do wasn’t just a pipe dream, but a possibility.
Cher showed me that you don’t always have to stay stuck in a situation that you are unhappy with. Her leaving made me realize that money isn’t everything, and that when you feel it in your gut that it’s time to move on, you should.
I’m sure she was nervous leaving a guaranteed paycheck and a steady job, but she dug a little deeper and envisioned further down the road. She didn’t allow the almighty dollar to dictate her life, but imagined that her true path would make her rich in happiness. She took that leap that I so desperately want to take and she Let Everything Appear Possible!
Someday it will be my turn to release myself back into the world to become the Shannon I was meant to be.
UPDATE: Since posting this about a month ago I was recently made aware of another fellow friend and employee “J” who also took this leap. Listening to him talk the other day was just another fresh reminder of all the possibilities afforded to us if we just have the courage to be a little uncomfortable, feel just a bit unsure and learn to trust in the power of change. If we do this we can discover that life is more than just what we have chosen in the past , but what we continue to choose in the present.
I commend both of these wonderful individuals on there courageousness, visions and strength!
*names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual