The [Complete] Resignation
New but old... I combined, rejiggered, edited, revised my three separate posts on the process of resigning from my job into one 1,000 word piece which feels better than the original parts I, II and III.
You know that feeling when you’re on the verge of something huge — a big life change, epiphany, whatever? That tingle in your guts? That feeling like you’re going to piss yourself and maybe throw up at the same time? It’s a lot. A LOT. I have that feeling right now.
In the last month I’ve battled a ferocious bout of insomnia, thrown around the idea of cashing out my 401k and thoroughly researched writing the perfect resignation letter. Right now I am home on sick leave. I’m sure you can see where this is going even though it’s taken me this whole month to get a clue. I am quitting my job.
On the brink of swan diving into the massive unknown, throwing myself at the mercy of the universe, choosing to act in opposition of overwhelming fear and doubt; it is all very dramatic.
Amidst all this drama there is a calm and still point. It breathes on my neck and runs movie titles along the inside of my eyes with words like travel and write. It leaves audio inside my head with ideas about people and experiences and inspiration. This calm and still point, I’ll call it “the center”, has somehow managed to gain control of all my faculties and senses at various points in the day. Occasionally it directs my gaze to magazine covers with headlines about making major life changes. It guides my channel surfing to interviews with people who speak about things like the power of intention and asking the universe questions about what we are meant to do with our lives. It allows me to stumble upon people saying and doing exactly what I need to hear and witness. A thousand little signs pointing in the same direction, pointing away from where I have stood still for 12 years.
I can’t see what is ahead and I am shaking with sheer terror and adrenaline-fueled anticipation. January 31st is when I will be paid my bonus from the past year and that little voice inside me — the center, keeper of the spiritual brass balls and badass maximus — is telling me that is the day I will be submitting my letter of resignation.
My cells are vibrating; the rumble in my guts unmistakable. I can’t quite catch my breath and I frequently reach out to grip steady objects for support in the event my knees completely buckle and I collapse. That center is growing. It once inhabited a small part of my insides and now courses boldly through the blood network of my lymphatic system. A parasite in reverse, it’s begun eating away those dead parts which for so long maintained a most unfortunate stasis. Each nibble brings me a little closer to life, to the potential I have always sensed and never quite touched.
I wrote the resignation letter. I emailed myself a copy so I can’t deny it’s existence. Today is Monday; Wednesday is the 31st. My heart has relocated to my throat.
It’s 7 o’clock in the morning and I am struggling with the motivation to leave the house and get on the train. Last week I worked from home and then called in sick each day for the rest of the week. My momentum is running towards staying inside and hiding. When I’m on the subway and approaching my stop for work I have to yell inside my head, “get off at the next stop get off at the next stop GET OFF AT THE NEXT STOP”. One time I didn’t.
I woke at 3:49am after only falling asleep around midnight. I can’t remember the last time I slept more than four hours. Anxiety. Mild hyperventilation. My biological state is troubling. I want all the changes I desire to happen without my participation. Confronting demons and believing in myself is hard work. I started reading The War of Art yesterday , the author calls what I am experiencing “the Resistance”; apparently I should be comforted that the greater the symptoms, the greater the indication that I am indeed on the right path. While there is a nugget of comfort in believing that to be true, the rest of me is screaming.
March 2 was my last day. After nearly 12 years in the same building on Park Avenue, I wiped my machines, turned in my laptop and badge, hugged exactly seven people and then walked out the door. I would like to tell you I am in tip top shape, filled to the brim with confidence and purpose and direction, but yesterday I started crying on the street on the way to a dentist appointment, everything suddenly hitting me as I crossed a busy intersection in midtown.
It’s been almost a week since I left. I gave myself the weekend to have a breakdown and then when Monday hit I began working on taking care of logistical tasks around my house, preparing myself and my environment for the great unknown. The breakdown was much less dramatic than anticipated, which I’m sure is largely due to just giving myself permission to be a mess. I cried, I sat in paralyzed fear, I ate carbs — I also managed to sleep through the night. I finally did my laundry and today I changed my sheets for the first time in two months. I washed the dishes, rearranged my furniture and purged a surprising amount of useless objects. I arranged a specific, inviting and large area devoted entirely to use as a workspace and I began tackling the overwhelming amount of mail and random papers I’ve been hoarding for months.
And now I am writing this post, I am doing things. These current things may not yet be the magic I quit my job to pursue, but they are actionable steps on the way to that next thing. And that next thing might very well be magic.