For much of my life, I boxed myself into corners: to-dos I must accomplish, outward appearances I must provide, happiness for others I must generate, long hours I must work. These were all corners of my own making, but it took time to understand my role in the process. I began to question the box-myself-in route. I realized there is not one path; there are multiple paths that weave together and apart. Years ago I read a line from Jen Louden and it stuck in my head: "We always have choices, especially when it feels like we don't" [italics mine]. The times when I feel most rigid--when my ego unequivocally boxes me into a corner--that's precisely the time to question. That's the time to open my mind and think of choices; even if it's a micro-choice, it's always there.
On Wednesday, October 3, I sat in the hallway of the Provost's office. My heart raced with anxiety. My ego strongly doubted my decision. My true self was at peace. It was time for me to leave academia, to leave Lawrence. No seeds of doubt. A bold choice made after years of self-reflection. (BTW, ego doesn't like bold choices made from the heart.)
On my way home from work, I thought it appropriate to take photos--to document the Day-I-Resigned. The fall colors were amazing. I appreciated the space to pause, look around, and rest in my heartfelt decision. I lay under a tree. The wind blew and a gorgeous shower of leaves fell to the ground.
I felt relieved, free, and playful. Life is an interesting journey. Along that journey, we always have choices. Choices as wide ranging as laying under a tree or quitting a job. I'm glad I've made time to know myself--to suss out what's ego and what's me; to understand choices made for immediate comfort and those made for sustained happiness.
In "Summer Day," Mary Oliver asks, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" My response: live authentically, make heartfelt choices, be kind, know myself, love people, laugh, listen to others and myself, create, be grateful, share my joy, make connections. What will I do next September? I'm not yet sure. But I trust in myself.