It didn’t take long to see the goal. It should have overwhelmed me, but it didn’t. I should have felt some apprehension about the fact that I was leading an organization that was down to its last $1,000 in checking, the board of director’s consisted of a few faithful people who held on through a board split, we had no viable connections, no plan for success, and everyone was looking at me to change everything. Instead of panicking I felt utter joy. I was given the reins to lead a small nonprofit out of ruin and towards success. My desire and love for independence and the ability to make decisions was fulfilled. I could lead and do so with little restraint. I was in my element. I was in my moment.
I worked diligently for seven years to grow and change the organization and that is exactly what happened. We not only survived we thrived. We opened a thrift store as an income stream for our growing organization, added on new services, volunteer and paid staff, grew our board, re-connected with the community and became a viable resource for our target client audience. It was everything I ever wanted. I could go and go and go and never stop. I could add on additional responsibilities that would equip me to lead more efficiently. People wanted me to help and I said yes when they asked. I was maxed out with work and responsibility and thought I had reached my pinnacle of joy. Work was my passion. It’s what I lived for.
Then the day came. Have you had one of those days? I was home. My husband left for work and gave me a weird glance as he went out the door. The kids we had left at home went to school. I sat there. I had just left my dream job to start a career transition. I didn’t have a new job yet and I was home alone. I didn’t have any idea that day what was ahead for me in my career transition. I was in shock. The craziness was over. There was silence and time. Something I wasn’t familiar with. The pressing responsibilities were gone. I had to get rid of most of them. A mid-life melt down clarified things for me. I couldn’t handle everything like I did before. My body said stop.
A Beautiful Pause
I was off work for four months before I landed a new job. The first few days were difficult, but in time I learned to enjoy the quiet. I began to see things. I am still seeing things. Things that you can’t see when work becomes an obsession and your life is wrapped up in it. I didn’t know who I was. I had let life define me. I had no hobbies, friends, or basic understanding of how to enjoy life. I saw the time wasted on things that weren’t important. I saw the neglect of my family. Not the kind of neglect you can see, but the kind that comes from inside. Where you just aren’t quite who you should be and where you spend more time loving work than those close to you. I saw a mess.
It’s been over two years since I started my career transition. I am just now starting to figure things out. When I started I wanted a job that would be my passion and challenge me as much as my dream job did, but I haven’t found that. I am thankful. I am starting to see the beauty of taking a pause. I am starting to appreciate that there is more to life than work and that our passion should stem from a plurality of things. I am more than what I do at or for a company. I am a whole person and am made up of many pieces that make me whole.
Perhaps I had the wrong dream. I still want to work hard and pour my time, talent and energy into everything I do. I want to live a passionate life, but that doesn’t mean my sole reason for living has to be wrapped up in what I do at work. Even if I find another dream job I still need to live as the whole being that I am. I still need to develop who I am and be a rounded person. A person who likes to create solutions, develop processes, read, lift weights, eat, watch movies, and travel. I am many pieces. I am a mother, a child, a cousin, a wife, a co-worker, a friend and a lot of things.
The beautiful pause they I got was when my life as I knew it completely changed. Within a two year period almost every major part of my life had changed. It was terrifying and it was beautiful. It made me pause and think and assess what was important. It made me look at what I really wanted in life. It gave me the opportunity to align my life with my priorities. It placed me within a new set of circumstances that I could grow with and learn from. It was a stop to the old and a pause before the new.
Waiting Can Help, Everything.
I don’t have the job that I want yet. I am not where I want to live. I am not able to do all that I want to do. I am waiting. I am waiting while I can get some things accomplished that will help me transition to what’s ahead. Waiting can be painful, but gives us needed time to grow and develop. It gives us time to identify and then clarify our goals. It gives us time to rest before we dive into a busy future. It helps ease our mind, calm our soul, and re energize our reason for living.
Don’t wait until life makes you take a pause. Take it yourself. Take time and be silent. Time and silence are miracle remedies for a troubled soul. They provide an opportunity to find ourselves. To figure out who we are, what we like to do and where we are going. To figure that out and not let the world tell us that.
Find a quiet spot, take a walk in a nearby park, or just take a long bath. Take some time, be silent and let the beauty of a pause effect you. Remember that waiting produces patience, develops character and makes what is to come that much sweeter.