My life has been filled with so much goodness and the unexpected, it’s been quite a treat to be back. I’ve been needing to take time to reflect and honor all that has occurred in the short 4 months I’ve been home. I’m used to doing a lot when I’m abroad or traveling because it’s easy to pack my days with new experiences, meeting folks and seeing as much as possible but typically when I’ve been home my life resumes at a slower pace.
Not this time.
It’s been practically non-stop. And considering I didn’t have any expectations, which I’m not fond of anyway because they typically cause more issues and problems than good, I’ve been amazed at some things that have lined up.
I’ll recap a month of BIG transitions.
September ended in over-drove and when I flipped the calendar to October 1st, it didn’t let up. After a month of playing tour guide-having an excuse to show off my own backyard and see some new territory- I also had the unexpected opportunity to participate in a food sovereignty tour of California’s food system with none other than with a group of Basques farmers and food activists curious of California’s food system (Hello universe, Talk about connections, I’m not sure exactly what you’re tying to tell me but I’m taking notes).
On October 2, I awoke early to aboard the Bay Area’s equivalent of a metro and endure a tearful good-bye to a great friend. A month of exploring; visiting farms and breweries, eating our hearts out, talking about similar interests and changes we want to see in the world, and showing off the Beautiful and magical Bay Area and beyond. What a delight. I was constantly saying, “ya sabes que tenemos todo en California” (you know we have everything in California). All the while I was learning more about myself, what I want and providing me much needed perspective. Thank you. How lucky and grateful I am.
You know those moments when someone walks in to your life and you don’t realize just how important they might be?
Three days later, I was celebrating my birthday among close friends (a first in 2 years in the Bay) at a local beach with a gorgeous view of the Bay and San Francisco skyline. We ate delicious food picnic- style and chatted about everything under the hot October sun. A chill out slower paced birthday with good company to honor all I’ve done so far and to welcome a new chapter that I’m certain will be filled with more of the unexpected, spontaneity, love, adventure and all I enjoy.
Leaving when it’s not good for you:
Meanwhile, I was in a job that fell into my lap in August when I was looking because “you don’t know how long it will take when you job search” but secretly hoped to line something up for October. However, I don’t believe in turning down opportunities even if it’s not the best moment so I took the job, despite seeing a few red flags. For example, an interview on a Sunday. And then the several emails of things she considered urgent and deemed worthy of flooding my inbox and calling me before I even started. (cue: another red flag)
My first day, she asked me outright, “You seem anxious” and I explained. She looked at me dead in the eye with a grin, thanked me for being honest and direct and said, “you know, I work 7 days a week, I didn’t even realize it was a Sunday and it wasn’t typical.” (cue: first red flag).
It would be a week after week of non-stop ideas, running as fast as we could but barely able to breath despite my suggestions on focusing in on the business. There were already signs she valued getting things done more than making sure they were accurate, which can be problematic when you’re an education based company. My suggestion and motto were: Make the business solid rather than expand too quick, lose integrity or worse. Instead, she patronized me, used me as a sounding board and always said ‘we don’t have time for that” for every suggestion I made, failing to consider an outsider could be an asset to her business by providing perspective. On top of it, she questioned me weekly if I was committed to the job, even though I worked hard, diligently and even worked till 11pm one night due to a mistake on her part. To add to the mix, I was only part time at 15 hours a week (cue: high expectations, unrealistic and a bit out of touch). My actions show I’m committed.
So I practiced speaking up and being direct about the variety of things that came up (Thanks Spain and Basque Country). She appreciated it. I naturally hoped for change. But nothing shifted.
Instead, I changed.
One day after my 3 day work week, I spent the remainder of the day at the beach not too far from my house and all I could think of was how this business wasn’t in alignment with my values. No matter what I said or did, I wouldn’t be valued in the way I’d like to be. The way I need to be. I would just be a sounding board, the person she’d text late at night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to tell me info that wasn’t crucial because to her it was necessary, and heaven forbid she forget. My conversations with her regarding boundaries were acknowledged and then fell on deaf ears. Within a few days, she was back at it. (Really?!)
I decided that evening, I had to QUIT. Sure, the old adage of “it’s easier to look for a job when you have a job” sounded loudly in my ears and was echoed among friends but I knew deep down, I couldn’t tolerate much more. I made up my mind. Money is dandy and necessary, but I also knew being micromanaged, patronized, and talked to rudely as she did with others when she was anxious and frustrated was not the environment I deserved to be in. I want to surround myself around people who help me grow, who inspire me, who make me feel good. I deserve this.
So I QUIT.
Life is too short to do things we don’t enjoy. It’s too easy to get swept in the “what-if’s,” and to stay for a million reasons or for the simple little worry something else won’t line up. But you know what they say, sometimes a door must close for another to open. I’ve paid my dues over the years and stayed at jobs I didn’t like out of fear.
Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and trust a net will catch us to allow things into our life that we want, need and deserve. The more we focus on what we want and put energy into it, the more quickly it will align.
I‘m a believer in putting it out there and TRUSTING. Lots of TRUST!
Some of my friends complain they are bored at work. They want a change, more responsibility or something different yet they all stay without asking for what they want or actively look for something else. I get it, job searching is no fun and I’m back in the game myself. But to get what we want we have to start somewhere. I can’t compare myself to them but for me it’s only a reflection of how I want to live my life vs. how so many others do. I may long for the “well-paid salary” job, though I know it’s over-rated (unless of course, it’s a good fit) but I don’t want to reach a place of complacency. I don’t want to stay in something that is easy, or manageable or because it pays the bills. Too many people do it for a variety of reasons or obligations but I don’t want to live my life this way. I never have and after all my life experiences, I can’t. I’m thankful that I don’t have too many commitments in my life (such as kids or debt) that may keep me doing something I disliked. I know my perspective is different than most (I’m getting used to it) but I want something that keeps me growing, learning and moving forward. I must be active in ensuring this happens because no one else is going to take care of me but me.
My last day at my job was on Monday.
On Tuesday, I left a place I got to call home for 3 months and experience a “new city” I never knew as a child except for it’s notorious reputation. Instead of fearing fear itself, I did what I’ve learned to do on my travels and living in new cities in Spain- get out on the town, meet folks who live there and feel it out. Don’t take the media’s word for it. I volunteered within days of being in my new home, took Free Zumba classes almost 2-3 times a week, walked to the beach and frequented a local coffee shop as often as I could. I met more neighbors in 3 months than I have in the last 4 years in 4 different homes. That says something! While getting myself out there, I even met a few executive directors with organizations that are doing great work for improving the city!
I’ve grown tremendously over the years and having the chance to be out of my parent’s nest was exactly what I needed for starting over again, this time around in the Bay Area. Third time is the charm, right? So now, I know what I need and what I want and I’m just manifesting all will align soon.
And yet, as much as I love learning and growing, when I’m in the thick of it all and beautiful transitions, it can be challenging to see just how far I’ve come and where I’m headed. I’m grateful to friends who keep me balanced and remind me of all I’ve done in such a short time. And last night while chatting with a friend and doubting if I should have stuck out a job for the money until a new one came, my friend stopped me before I could finish,
“No she said, don’t you even go down that path. You knew it wasn’t good for you and took care of yourself. You’re inspiring me. You seem to have no fear.”
Well, we all have our fears but I don’t want my insecurities to guide me. Even if I’m not sure what tomorrow brings if I can at least be an inspiration to the people around me to re-think what they want for themselves and go after their dreams, it’s all worth it!