Journey by Choice
What I Choose to Subscribe to:
The life journey many of us subscribe to is without much thought. Reflect on how many things we all do without thinking: we go to school, enter the workforce, get married, have children, and then continue participating in the ‘daily grind’.
A typical day could go something like this: we wake up, drag our tired butts out of bed, rush the kids to school (if we have them), scurry to the office where we sit for seven to 10 (sometimes 12 or more) hours each day with few breaks and little to no real human connection. Then, we rush home to pick up the kids, get dinner on, get the kids to bed, only to get back online to show our bosses we are a team player and working hard.
Throughout some of the day (or on the weekends), we squeeze in socializing, time with our partners, children, pets, families and friends. Perhaps throw in some deprecating ‘self care’ (which feels good at the time) like a few alcoholic libations, some comfort food, shopping or a cigarette or two, and maybe combine all of that with some guilty trips to the gym or yoga class in an attempt to counteract all of the self deprecating things we have accepted into our lifestyle. Not all of us have the same habits, however, insert yours above. Then, we start it all over again the following day, or Monday and so on.
How many of us actually think about why we are doing this? – why are we perpetuating this ‘daily grind?’ – why do we subscribe to this life journey?
The year of my 40th birthday, I arrived at work on a beautiful May morning. I had just come back from a wonderful holiday in Malta. I looked and felt amazing; I was relaxed, I beamed happiness. I was even excited to start back to work. I was hopeful that I could carry this lovely feeling forward into my work life.
I was working in sales at a large media company and had a large portfolio of clients. I was actually over my sales targets for the year. Before I left for my holiday, I managed to commit myself to going to the gym during my lunch hour (three days out of my five-day work week), I was bringing my own healthy lunches to work and even socializing for a few minutes in the mornings before starting my work day. Mind you, I was still rushing with my daughter in the morning and after work (so I could make space to get back online and work after she went to sleep, but I honestly felt as though I was doing it). Subscribing to this ‘daily grind,’ however carving in some time to be good to myself as well.
Two days back from holidays, my manager pulled me into her office and explained to me that “she didn’t know what I was up to,” and that “I was going to the gym during prime business hours,” and “how was I going to change my priorities?” I was dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say. I felt like crying and certainly didn’t want to cry in front of her. She continued to berate me for a good while longer and I left her office feeling dejected and scared for my job.
I remember driving home from work saying to myself, “what the hell am I going to do? I have a choice – to stay or leave – and if you leave, it can’t be to the same type of work environment.” You see, I had fought to have this company employ me (I was one of a few hundred qualified applicants and really wanted to work for what I thought to be a prestigious company).
In speaking with a friend later that week, she told me about a training program in spiritual psychotherapy. Having experience volunteering in a hospice setting, I had always dreamed about working somewhere that was more fulfilling – a place that would feed my soul. However, I was hesitant as I made good money in sales; it facilitated my life. Plus, how the heck was I going to pull anything more off with my life schedule and the life that I was currently subscribing to? I decided to have the sales job start to facilitate my new life and the one I would have while I was in school and when it was completed.
I took a deep breath and told myself, “Colleen, it will take you just as long to do it as it will not to.” I registered for the program the following day and that started my new journey.
It was scheduled to start in four months so I had time to prepare – mentally and otherwise. The course demanded one full weekend each month as well as one-week night each week – with assignments, exams, and therapy hours (yes, I even had to start seeing a therapist to ensure I was emotionally healthy and taking care of my own shit). I won’t lie, it was scary – and took a lot of faith in the universe and in myself. Would I be able to do it?, could I stay present during the classes (especially the evening ones)?, could I manage my time for work and school and complete the assignments and readings whilst spending real time with my daughter? Could I get the help I needed to pull this off – financially and for my daughter?
It is incredible once you put out there what you need what comes your way.
I sent an email to key friends and family members who I thought could help me with my daughter and some wonderful individuals stepped up. I also spoke to my daughter about the importance of what I was about to do and even though she was only three, she seemed to understand. It wasn’t easy as she missed me, however, she seemed to ‘get it’ on another level.
Financially, as mentioned before, I had worked hard in sales and was lucky to have some extra money which helped to pay for my first year outright so in the back of my mind, I was thinking it was low risk.
My first day of school was on my 40th birthday – this was almost four years ago. As I sit here today and write this down, I cannot believe how far I have come. I left my media job two years ago in order to expedite my training and am currently registered with the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario.
It wasn’t easy, however I did it (with a little help from some great friends)!
And the best part is, it would have taken just as long to stay at the media job as it would have not to. The same amount of time to stay – subscribing to a ‘daily grind’ that I didn’t even understand as it did to leave.
Consequently, that manager who berated me was fired a couple of months after I started school. She may never hear this directly from me; however, I thank her often for starting me on this amazing journey.
Today, my journey includes a regular exercise routine (sometimes at lunch time), seeing clients daily and spending time with my beautiful daughter and I love it!
It’s not always easy – it is a path that is fully one which I am totally responsible for and something that I am cultivating – and am totally aware of why I am subscribing to it.
Would love to hear about your journey…please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org