I was saying to her that I'm considering taking a step backwards, giving up on the current experiment and just going back home, get physically close to family, thinking that maybe working as a coach, having a little less stressful a career, maybe potlucking with the old aunts and a house with windows on all 4 sides for the cats would be a life I now want. I'd risk letting people down or being seen as weak but that maybe I am and that's okay.
Key words in that explanation: giving up, backwards, less stressful, family, letting people down, weak. If I was coaching myself, I would ask what the hell I mean by going backwards and how is looking for a less stressful job going backwards? weak? giving up?
In continuing to talk with this woman, I found one thing she said really struck me.
Life is not a straight line. It doesn't start on a chart where the X and Y axis meet and then go on an upward tilt until we die.
Life is a lot more flexible than that, if we let it be.
Life may start anywhere - let's say the corner of X and Y. And it continues. We do age, we do gain and lose weight, we get grey hair and we wear lower stiletto heels as the years go. These things are measurable on that upward or downward tilt.
At some point, though, life on the whole begins to bend a little. We decide to change or stop our jobs to have families, to travel, to follow a spouse, to address medical issues...we buy bigger houses and then buy smaller houses with one floor simply out of practicality. We crave independence and to get away from home and try something new, meet new people, find new places to hang out, learn new things.
Sometimes that continues. Sometimes that changes. Sometimes, at some point, we crave something other than total independence and showing other people what we can achieve. In my case, I crave a change. No doubt brought on by the total shock of the last few months in terms of my career, but definitely not the one and only time I've had thoughts of looking for something else. Going backwards.
Going backwards - it's more like going around...like bending that otherwise straight-arrow trajectory of life and career. Hey, that's not going backwards. That's being flexible...and maybe responsive...and maybe even, to use coaching lingo...showing some morality and some conscience work on my spiritual aspect of myself to improve my trust in me and my ability to keep myself safe in a time of transition - this safety may very well be needing me to trust my feelings and my instinct that this current way is not my way anymore. It was and it was great and it made me into a great employee, a great leader (I believe!) and a great person. But to be the best person I can be, I have to stop listening to all the noise about that straight-arrow trajectory and that any direction other than an upward slant is failure and going backward and giving up.
FLEXIBILITY. Like a fishing rod, maybe. I'll never be 1 year old living off of mashed peas ever again. But I can be 40 years old looking for a change that may take me to somewhere I've been before. Somewhere safe. Somewhere I can be kind to myself, where I can slow down and focus on my new priorities - not the same priorities as many people have but they're mine. Somewhere I can breathe and feel at home.
All parts of me taken into account, considered and cared for.
Somewhere with windows on all 4 sides of the house.