There are moments in one’s life when you have to do something that pushes you outside your comfort zone. This is as it should be; people who remain inside a tiny, minuscule bubble for their entire lives merely exist. They never live.
I have chosen to step outside my comfort zone from time to time, and there have been times where I have been pushed – initially against my will – out of that self-same bubble.
Each time it’s happened, I’ve felt a mixture of emotions – nervousness, excitement, terror, fascination, self-doubt … I could go on. When I’ve tried new things, I had come out the other side older, wiser, and perhaps more battle scarred … but with more knowledge and some new friends along the way.
To make the choice to change your life is thrilling, of course; be it a new job, becoming a parent for the first, second, third … time, or moving half-way across the world. I’ve never done the third (and never intend to), but I can speak with some expertise on the first and second.
Becoming a parent was the most intense, fascinating, and wonderous experience of my life, and it remains a precious connection – I have a son, and I get to show him love and safety. If I can nurture his kindness and generosity, then I will have done a good thing, and long may it continue.
When my son first came home, I had the privilege of being at home with him for eight months; that was an intense experience that dominated the entirety of my consciousness. When I returned to work, it was a culture shock. Until then, I was able to think of myself and work, compartmentalised into two roughly-equal segments. But now my brain divided into three segments, with the one labelled “SON” being the largest by far. Coping with the diversity of work in any environment quickly became a struggle; I was being pulled in a hundred different directions, even without the possibility of carving out an identity for myself.
So I have taken a brave move into the unknown, and tendered my resignation from the “day job”. It’s a huge decision, and I had to think long and hard about it; there were so many variables to consider, but three things defined the decision I made – my relationship with my son, who needs me to be focused on him; my ability to do a job effectively; my own mental health. If they all suffer collectively, then something has to give, and right now, it’s the job that I sacrifice in order to devote more energy to the others.
So that’s what I’ve done; resigned without necessarily knowing what I will next in my career. That’s been a very hard decision to take, but it was the right one for this moment in time – and now I can take a step back and focus on what’s important.