Knowing When to Go

My second-to-last position at my last employer was a position I was moved into when the one I held was eliminated. Six months later, I was moved into another role.

I’d felt competent in my original job, the one the company hired me for. I did good work, and it made a difference. But those last two roles felt uncomfortable.

They were more outward-facing. I was more inward-facing. They required imagining what didn’t exist. I was better at overhauling what was. I liked to make things. The new roles required remaking culture.

I had been in the last role for about two years when, in July, I learned from my financial planner that I didn’t need to keep working if I didn’t want to. But I stayed. If I define myself by my job, who am I without it?

In November, a grocery store removed all their flyers so they could wash the windows that straddled their doorway. Instead of walking through the open doorway, I tried to walk through a glass wall.

In the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s emergency room, the diagnosis was an intact retina, but a shaken eyeball, broken nose, and concussion.

Following orders, lying on my bed, praying for the lightning flashes in my right eye to stop, I realized the problem wasn’t the freshly cleaned and naked glass wall.

The problem was me.

I was living outside my body, living a life my body didn’t want to live anymore. As the lightning flashed (even with my eyes closed), I knew that if I didn’t pay attention to this message from my body, the next one would be worse.

I talked to my boss about what I might do instead, proposing another role in the company (because change is hard). I came to see (no pun intended) that what was best, what I most wanted and was most afraid of, was to leave.

When you know it’s time to go, you gotta go.

I’m proud that I at least had the good sense to realize it was time to go. And with this post, it’s time to end this series on things I’m proud of.

PS: The lightning in my eye, which had been happening at a rate of about six times a minute (the ophthalmologist asked me to time it), diminished. But it didn’t substantially dissipate until March, when I retired from my position and my career. It was as if my body knew me, knew that I needed a reminder or I might go back on my word. Our bodies know best. We just need to listen.


Chewing the Cud of Good

closeup of the golden heads of grasses

Thankful for making virtual friends and meeting them in person!

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