I have absolutely no regrets about moving forward in my life (see the last couple of posts or so), but I still have this guilt, as if I should feel bad about leaving a job I’ve been at for over a decade. As if it were always going to be the job I had with no intention of trying new things or following my heart or something. How silly is that? Yet, it’s still like this divorce of sorts, but more a liberation than a divorce…it’s divorcing a life I have known and admittedly not always found to be ideal or positive or life-affirming. That isn’t to say I regret the entire experience, rather it has helped me over time realize just what I need and want from my life.
Everyone goes through these things, I guess I just let my feelings get too much in the way, read too much into what people will do or say or watch me walk away with ill will and a “good riddance,” from their lips. I have done nothing to warrant such things, and nobody actually has (at this point), but still, it’s like you’re letting people down just for wanting something different than them in life, and you feel like you have to apologize for leaving or qualify your decision with a long explanation. Some people will always try to spin it to make you look bad or tell people you’re crazy or your feelings are invalid, or maybe they simply don’t believe/want to believe in you, etc.; sadly, I know of a few and to say their behavior disappoints me isn’t enough. (And not worth my energy, frankly.)
For me, it’s a series of things that have brought me to this point, but mostly I move forward with goals, plans for better things, and a full slate of work waiting for me. These are things that will in turn allow me to live my best life, truly putting my heart and soul out there in the way I am meant to, and yet, this little tinge of guilt tries to bust in to ruin things. I have no reason to feel guilt, shame or regret – I am actually doing something (many things) that will give me the joy that has more-or-less been sucked out of me in a situation that isn’t best for me. I lost myself in the process, all the going through the motions and trying to block out the unpleasantries and soforth, feeling obligated to hang tough when I realize things will never change when others won’t, but nothing is stopping me from making changes for myself except me. Oh, there I go being selfish again…
It’s like an abusive relationship in a way, but in order to move forward, you have to examine your life, work through it all as best as you can, then separate yourself so you can focus on the new path ahead. You know, like the end of a marriage. You want to leave on the best of terms (most of the time, obviously not always the case), yet, you are often casting off pieces of the past you never hope to revisit, but maybe there are a few bits you do want to keep with you. And then there’s that guilt, that feeling like you didn’t (or couldn’t) do enough or try to make the most of things when your heart just isn’t there. The course has been run and there is nothing else but another trip around the same track (to put it metaphorically). And then you remember you did what you could, and sometimes things just didn’t change or didn’t last long enough to feel motivated anymore, and you have to accept it’s time to move on. And that’s hard.
I am not actually having a hard time with leaving my job; I look forward to continuing with the path I have been slowly making for myself over many years now, and though it took time to mentally prepare myself for that “I’m ready” moment, I know the only way to make it happen is to start running, from the old to the new. The guilt will probably subside as I fill those areas with new-found happiness and a true sense of purpose and knowing I’m contributing something to the world as more than just a “paper-pusher,” or the person who sits back quietly, making it easy to turn into a doormat or scapegoat for other people’s shortcomings. That doesn’t have to be me, and I hope others out there who truly deal with these feelings for any reason at all (and likely in more profound ways than I’ll ever know) realize that, too. We are all valuable in this life, and those who try to take that away or make it difficult will always be around trying to project their unhappiness onto us. We have to say “NO WAY, I DESERVE BETTER,” and then actually make it happen.
Has anyone else felt conflicted about walking away from something (or someone) in their life? How have you worked through it and pushed ahead toward better days?
And with all this rambling, I am ready to close out 2012 (hey, we made it) along with some feelings I am ready to cast off, hoping for far better days ahead in 2013. May the same be with you! 🙂