A month ago, I resigned from the job that brought me out to the Bay Area.
It’s OK, I started a new one this week, closer to the City.
It was a right decision. It was the time to leave. It was past the time.
The new place is better. The commute is the best I’ve had for years. The atmosphere is warm. The manager who hired me motivates positively, from love, not from fear. I refer to this:
“A feature of the emotions is that there are really only two, love and fear.” – Darren Main, Inner Tranquility: A Guide to Seated Meditation
Although I can’t count on the permanence of that, I might have learned to recognize the pattern and act on that. Might have.
I have moved on my own volition several times before. A public school to a fancy lyceum. The lyceum to a university. The fancy uni on one continent to a so-so grad school on another. Grad school to grown up work. Maryland to Pennsylvania. East Coast to West, changing jobs. And now changing jobs again.
This last move was relatively minor; compared to transatlantic and transcontinental for sure. Not moving residence, not changing the general field (yet), just the office is 11 miles closer to home now. There wasn’t even much packing to do.
Yet it felt unusually substantial.
Oftentimes in the past, I indulged in the giddy excitement of leaving: walk out; reject all and sundry, wholesale, what didn’t work, what did; never look back. There was a little bit of that this time, too. When that happened though, I would now notice that and also take time to honor what has been good and to feel. To feel hope and excitement, yes, but also doubt, sadness, joy, despair, fear, love, gratitude.
I feared that I wasn’t leaving behind as much as wished. Anxiety, fear, mistrust… how much of that was my contribution? How much of that latent infection am I taking with me? I have been studying, practicing, learning to undo that. A lot. Not enough. Have I ever learned anything? Wherever you go, there you are.
I took time to say good byes to the work friends I had made over the nearly four years. I received and shared their sadness: we have been wonderful; it’s sad to lose each other. I accepted their grace with gratitude, and their honesty with loyalty. It would take time and effort to recognize and make new friends, to build trust and understanding.
I finished my work with joy and enthusiasm. I did a good job. That was relatively easy, only took remembering why I love my work. Since my days were numbered, I had a luxury of concentrating on what’s interesting and complex, dropping the tasks somebody else could do.
I gave two toastmasters speeches at the company club between giving the notice and leaving. Those two speeches completed a requirement for an award that I left with the club, as a parting gift of sorts. I don’t know when and where I’d go back to toastmasters.
I felt like I betrayed myself by resetting the vacation I get to 15 days for the next 5 years at least. It’s 15 days plus holidays plus company closures, but still.
I had recurring colds for most of the month, so I didn’t go out much, and ended up feeling increasingly more lonely and isolated.
I took a week off between jobs and took a 5 day solo road trip. I visited Tiffany for a couple of days, and then I was alone. Not doing much. Driving, hiking, reading, writing, sleeping.
At the end of the month of transition, I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. The emptiness became heavy. That didn’t get resolved properly; I just went to work on Monday, and that got covered with busyness.
Between places, I took one mask off, then lingered and observed what came up, and learned a little bit about what mattered. It would have been easier not to; that would have devalued the past journey and the present gift of the truths that reside in between places.
What did I learn? On my last day, I stepped out for some last day activity, then came back to find this note from one of my buddies:
Something like that.