Six months ago, I was faced with the possibility of cancer, and had surgeries scheduled.
It became apparent that I was not going to be able to heal while dealing with the corporate job I was working at the time.
So I did the insane (but only sane thing I could do) thing, paying for COBRA insurance and turning in my two weeks notice.
It was a very scary, stressful time even before adding in two surgeries and recoveries.
I often doubted the decision I had made, doubted myself, and wondered if I’d find work in this economy once I was ready to look again.
There was a time, late in the winter when many, if not most of us battle Seasonal Affective Disorder when I was in significant pain, during which I battled some mild depression. (this is when I started posting my “daily gratitude” each day, which helps a lot)
What it boiled down to is that I had to trust in the universe; I had to trust in myself. I had to take that risk, because nothing will show you what does and doesn’t matter in your life, like the possibility of losing it.
I also made other changes. Changes in my diet (getting off the holiday food and back to healthy real food) not going to alcohol centered events or hanging out with people who habitually drink to excess, avoiding people who added unreasonable stress to my life, getting back to my art, learning new arts, and of course (once healed) easing back into a regular workout schedule.
When I was finally healed enough to consider working again, I made my intentions known to friends (and the universe) as to what I was looking for.
I did not want to be back in the corporate world, nor to deal with unhappy/unpleasant people stuck in a cubicle all day. I did not want to commute, I wanted to work right here in Tacoma again so that I could spend those wasted commuting hours with my animals and in my garden/farm. I wanted to ride my bike to work.
Most important, I wanted to do something that I loved, not something that I put up with because I thought I needed a certain amount of money/benefits, and I wanted to work with nice, happy people working towards a common goal.
First, an environmental non-profit organization that I have volunteered for over the years contacted me about a part time job they had just gotten a grant for. It was a perfect fit. I am now working with students and interns at Puget Creek Restoration Society helping to conserve and protect one of three salmon bearing streams in the city of Tacoma, and preparing them (the students and interns) for jobs in the environmental science field.
Next, I was made aware of another opportunity to “manage” (I like to refer to it as coordinating) the Tacoma Proctor Farmers’ Market, another part time opportunity doing something that I feel strongly about; promoting sustainability and supporting local farmers, healthy eating and building community.
So here I am, with the best of all worlds. (and full time work to pay the bills)
Educating, protecting/restoring the environment, and promoting sustainability, fresh healthy food and local farms.
I am riding my bike to work (well, OK…. not on days that I have to schlep booth displays around). I’m working here in Tacoma-no nasty commute wasting time I could be spending playing with my dog, working in my garden or creating art.
I am working with great people who love what they do and are passionate about it; and I feel good about what both organizations stand for and what they do.
No, I’m not going to get rich doing this, but since I’m big on living sustainably, am willing to be a bit more frugal. (and if I want extra cash, I’ll just have to pitch more magazine articles and/or do more performances)
I did not reinvent myself.
I decided to be true to myself.
I came back full circle, and couldn’t be happier.
I want to thank those who kept their eyes and ears open for opportunities, those who provided references for me, and most of all, those who supported me and held me up when I doubted myself.