Saturday, December 17, 2011

The End and The Beginning

Grab a tea, pull up a chair, get cozy! For those of you who have been following along for the last 12 months, you will know my Year of Turning 40 is coming to an end. And what a year it has been, the last six months especially. The blog post is about putting some closure to this year so I can free up some space for the new year to enter. Here goes . . .

On Friday June 17, the day before my big 4-0 day, a few hours before I was to head out with a few dozen work friends for a sushi birthday celebration, I received an urgent meeting request from my boss. Long story short, I received my first birthday present - a choice between the opportunity of staying with the organization in a new job or the opportunity of leaving the organization to do, well, whatever I wanted.

To be straight, I loved my work, especially the people I worked with. But there were aspects of my job that just didn't fit with me any more, especially not the family and creative part of me. After a thoughtful weekend I gave my answer Monday morning. I was leaving.

Here is what I wrote on Facebook that day at 4:43 pm. "Poured tea, read Dwell magazine's beach home issue, hot tub for lunch, went for a walk, talked to a few friends, picked up Kje from school. Doing okay."

It is a big thing to turn 40. It is a big thing to leave the work and work-family you love. It is a big thing to sit at home and do nothing but read a magazine, drink tea and wait for what comes next.

I have postponed writing this post for a few reasons, but primarily because I wanted to wait until I had some perspective and could write something profound about what came next. The truth is, change is a journey and six months later I am still waiting for what comes next and still don't have anything profound to say about it all.  What I do have to say it that I am grateful for the opportunity to leave the day-to-day of working for someone else and embrace the every day of being myself, in every moment, in every little way. I am rediscovering who I am without the shell of work getting in the way. Here are a few of the every day little things that shaped me and my last six months:

  • Writing a 50,000-word novel in 20 days and then four months later reading it and liking what I created. 
  • Spending the beginning of the summer living with my son Paris in our own borrowed Penthouse Suite (thank you again Anna for being so generous with your sanctuary!)
  • Mixing it up with DJ Jonnycat, Stray Cats, CCR, and the banjo in the mini van on our BC Summer Road Trip. Gold mines. Horse rides. Log flumes. Beach reads. Ahhhh . . .
  • Hanging with the boys and Mom and Dad at the cabin on Shuswap.
  • Spending every day with my husband and still continuing our tradition of hot tub happy hours, even though I no longer needed to vent "after work".
  • Spending every day, all day, with my husband and still enjoying his company. :)
  • Packing it up at one o'clock to hit the lake for a summer swim and relaxing float on the mattress. Bliss.
  • Walking my son Kje to school. Picking him up. After school snack. Homework. Nice Routine.
  • Volunteering at the school library and having my favourite student ask me every week to help her find a book, and then hug me after I found "the perfect one".
  • Texting with Paris while he was in school and helping him with his homework via Skype.
  • Starting my business. Getting my first contract. Finishing my first contract (well, almost).
  • Spending time on the phone with family and friends engaged in relaxed conversations.
  • Waking up and putting on jeans and a t-shirt every day.
  • Making lunch at home.
  • TED once a week. Thank you TED.
  • Listening to CBC programs like Canada Live and Q with Jian Ghomeshi.
  • Enjoying the morning sunlight.
  • Reading in the day time between 9 and 5. In bed. In my pyjamas.
  • Becoming comfortable saying I am a consultant, contractor, writer and photographer, not an ADM.
  • Writing and sending out a whole bunch of story proposals.
  • Going for 3 hour walks around Elk Lake in the middle of a work day.
  • Connecting with my work friends and turning them into friend friends.
So, Turning 40. A great year packed with tons of intense moments and lasting memories. I started the year saying I was going to do anything and everything I wanted and pay for the fun when I was 41. And yes, for the first six months that was true. I grabbed life, heaved it over my shoulders and took it for a ride. But the last six months have been about putting life down and curling up with a it and a good book. Slowing down. Doing less. Simplifying. Enjoying my family. Enjoying what I have. Enjoying routines and local connections. Being here in the moment. But more importantly, creating a new base from which I could  head into the next decade. And with that . . . off I go.


A Diver's Mom said...

How fitting I read this post on January 4th, 30 minutes before I ascend to the 12th floor to "catch up" (which really means hit the floor running) on the day to day you left in my care. While I'm envious of all you have done since June and have marveled on what you did prior, I'm taking heart and guidance (as I always do from you oh wise and much younger one) to ensure this year for me gets me closer to that place you just described. It will be several years away, but I will be ready to read in my pj's, spend quality time with loved ones and hopefully ready to start a new beginning. Until then, up I go. Miss you lots, love you more. xo

susan said...

Thanks Margaret! I can't wait until you reach that magic number. Until then, yes, up you go indeed! :)