Thursday, July 31, 2008

On a day like any other

I got up yesterday morning, a bright summer morning not unlike so many others, but this one was different for me. As I've mentioned, all too often, I've been sick for a long time - seventeen years in fact.  But a little over two years ago, I entered a new phase of this mysterious illness, a phase in which, despite some initial progress, I have been unable to overcome. 

The little bit of breakfast I managed made me sick, yet again. The entire month has been like this. I wake up in pain, I go to bed in pain, and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why, all the sudden, I've taken a turn for the worse. But it was time. Dave and I have talked about this day for so long and it finally came. 

We biked to the office. I don't quite understand it, but something about riding my bike makes my body feel good, even if it's for a short time, so I bike as often as I'm able. Arriving at work, I locked up my bike, showered, and headed to my office. This was it. Although I spoke to my boss about it last week, yesterday I officially submitted my letter of resignation at work. It's done and my last day of work is August 15. 

It still doesn't quite seem real, but it feels good. It was a hard, and a somewhat frightening decision, but a solid one. I'm choosing my health, my life, my happiness over money. Once the decision was made, I was ecstatic. I starting dreaming about all the things I would now have time to do. Things that I couldn't do before because working took the little bit of energy I had. Things like putting in that garden in the backyard; spending an entire day with my dad when he goes on delivery; and putting up a clothes-line. There will be more time for baking and reading; for lunches with friends; for visits with my grandparents; and most important of all, there will be time for healing. 

The idea is that unemployment will be temporary - maybe a year, but a year in which I can also consider the many possibilities for the future. I can't help but think what an incredible opportunity this is. I would never have wished myself ill, but suddenly the world has opened up and I'm so looking forward to all it has to offer. 

21 comments:

Burbanmom said...

When life hands you lemons, throw them back and order a bourbon on the rocks. Maybe keep one lemon for a twist.

Congratulations on your decision, Heather. I hope your hiatus proves good for both your physical and your mental health.

If you get bored, call me. I'll send you my kids. ;-)

'Burbs

sharli said...

I'm so happy for you!! And maybe a little jealous.... :) I definitely agree that this is the right decision for you.

Beany said...

I am so glad you did this. In fact your posts have got me thinking about my choices too. I've already spoken to my boss about me leaving, but haven't quite confirmed it (did say I was not going to renew my lease). I've been spending alot of time thinking about how much value I should place on money versus my health and mental stability. And you know that saying - there is no price, its priceless.

Green Bean said...

Good for you for choosing your health and happiness. I hope you feel better soon and that time off, doing things you truly enjoy, is just what the doctor ordered.

Glenda said...

I can relate to the weight that is lifted when you make that decision -- it's incredibly freeing. Even knowing there will be less income, it's still very freeing. I hope the time away from the obligation of a job helps refresh your body.

eco 'burban mom said...

Best wishes on your "retirement" no matter how short it might be. It will be a wonderful way for you to feel better and enjoy your life!

Green Resolutions said...

It is a scary decision, isn't it? Best wishes for a great year and insight as you take time to figure things out!

maryann said...

Good for you! I hope things start to get better for you. When I first figured out I was pregnant I was thrown for a loop and cried a lot - I never wanted kids - don't get me wrong I like them, I just like returning them to someone else. When my hubby suggested I stay home after having the baby I was not any happier, slowly though the idea of not returning to work next year is looking good. I keep thinking of all I'll be able to get done without the 2 hour commute and 9 hour work day. Sometimes the curve balls life throws at you work out okay. j Best Wishes

Heather @ SGF said...

burbanmom - ooh. I like the way you think! Thanks for offering up the kids. Yeah. I'll, uh, get back to you on that... :)

sharli - thanks for all your support as I've been trying to figure this out. Hopefully this means I'll have more energy so we can get together more for bike rides, smoothies, picnics, canning....

beany - I did the same thing, talking to my boss about it first and then deciding for sure later (although later for me was about a week). It feels pretty surreal, but it was right for me. I hope you find answers too. Just remember not to stress about it. If you feel it's the right thing for you, you'll make it work.

green bean - Thanks! I'm already starting to feel less stressed. It's amazing what a little light at the end of the tunnel can do for me.

glenda - Thanks! That's the perfect word for it - Freeing. I was getting so overwhelmed. Trying to do the right things in order to feel better is hard enough, let alone when you juggle a million other things. I felt like I wasn't a good wife, a good worker, a good mom to the pets, etc. Hopefully this will be just what I need to make a difference not just in my life, but in the ones I love.

eco 'burban mom - This will definitely be a time for some serious rejuvenation. I just couldn't hold out to 65. I wonder if my hubby will mind if I call him my "sugar daddy" now :)

Green Resolutions - yep. It was a scary, tough decision. I've never NOT worked and I felt selfish at first thinking of how many friends and loved ones struggle to get by in this poor economic climate. But I've been working hard for a long time and Dave and I have worked up to this. Growing up I worked every summer, every xmas break, every spring break. I finally decided it was my turn and I'm going to make this year the best ever. Once that was decided, the fear disappeared and all that's left is a big goofy smile on my face. :)

Heather @ SGF said...

Maryann - we must have been writing at the same time :) Life can really shock us sometimes but with a little change in perspective, we can achieve wonderful things in life. Glad things are starting to look up for you!

timeus said...

I've spent so much time reading your daily blogs (which I so enjoy), that you kinda feel like a big sister to me. So, since I feel like a little brother, I'd like to say,

"HOLY CRAP! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO IF I NEED TO BORROW MONEY?!?!?"

Good luck! And congrats on taking that leap!

"In the end,we only regret the chances we didn't take,the relationships we were afraid to have and the decisions we waited too long to make."

Now, I don't know who originally wrote that, but Frasier Crane quoted that on the last episode of "Frasier," and he usually quotes smart people.

Heather @ SGF said...

Timeus - Gee, curious why you would think of me as a big sister. And who needs to borrow cash, money bags? You're the one with the financial degree, no? I'm coming to you!

Great quote, by the way. I didn't remember that one. I remember he quoted Tennyson at the end. I liked that one too:

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Hmm. That was a great show!

Theresa said...

This brings tears to my eyes. I am so happy for you, that you get this opportunity, and that you are seeing it as an opportunity. Blessings and wellness to you :)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I'm sorry you've had to endure this Heather, it has to have been a rough 17 years.

However, with that said, I am so happy that you are seeing the bright side to your condition and situation. Not only will this "time off" give you a chance to heal, it will also give you an opportunity to nurture your interests and skills, learn more, and become a fuller person. I'm so happy you see the opportunity in what may to some appear to be a "lose-lose" situation. It isn't, you are doing what's best for your body, and you might just find out it's best for your psyche as well. :-)

CFM said...

I am sure you will find plenty to do to keep your time productive!!! Although I didn't leave my normal work a day job for health reasons...well they were mental health reasons, I think I know what you are feeling...at least partly. The time off will do wonders for you!!!

If you want a hand in the garden or to bake with another person let Vicki and I know.

Wendy said...

Congratulations on making the decision to care for yourself. It's no good working yourself sick.

Enjoy your time to recuperate, and who knows, maybe you'll find some work you love in a place you love being and still earn a few dollars. That's what happened to me, anyway. I'm self-employed and work from home. It's a great job, and I have a fantastic boss :).

Heather @ SGF said...

Theresa - thank you for all the wellness wishes. I can use all the help I can get :)

Jennifer - You're right. I'm looking forward to working on my bread baking skills, canning etc. I think the hardest part will actually be to sit still long enough to heal. I have so many things I'd like to try :)

CFM - thanks for the offer. I'll definitely be needing a little help. My first step is to read the Square Foot Garden book we just bought, but I'll be ready before too much longer, I think. It should be a fun but relaxing activity. I'm looking forward to it.

wendy - working for myself out of the house would be great. Who knows. Maybe my garden will be so awesome I'll open up my own stand at the farmers market. Ok. Probably not, but you never know :) So what do you do?

timeus said...

timeus is sorry that he had to break character in his previous post, but c'mon, he was talking to his internet "big sister," and he got a little personal.

So sue him. :)

timeus learned something when he was 18 years old and in the Marine Corps (many moons ago, for those counting). Sometimes, he forgot it, which caused problems, but he's since remembered it, which has been a good thing.

A Sergeant (who was very much a hardass, and not just in the physical sense, but in every way imaginable) told timeus that he always leaves his work at work. And that if there's something that is upsetting him, he took it out on people at work and didn't take it home with him...his family deserved better than that.

While timeus certainly doesn't recommend chewing people out at work to feel better at home, that train of thought has helped him a great deal. timeus found (unknowingly) that he never talks about work at home, and that he rarely talks about home at work (unless bragging about the kids or the Mrs). That ride to or from work serves as the transition period for timeus, and the ability to focus either on work or the family allows him to be himself...only in different ways.

(For those that don't really know timeus, which would include pretty much everybody reading this sentence, that means being a dedicated, serious, caring, professional, hard worker while on the jobsite...while being a dedicated, sometimes serious (but most of the time goofy and fun), caring, professional boy deflector in training, caring person who just loves his family.)

timeus guesses that the best way to put is that he gives himself both at work and at home...he just gives his whole self at home.

"Work" isn't worth that, and that should never be forgotten.

Remember, work isn't supposed to be fun...that's why they pay you to be there. ;)

Beany said...

Since I already think your decision is brilliant, I'd like to offer you an award for it.

Jenelle said...

Sorry that it took your health becoming worse, but I'm happy you made the choice to take the needed time for yourself. I remember you telling me that you have worked all your life and you definitely deserve the time off. Congrats.

Heather @ SGF said...

Timeus - great advice to leave work at work!

Beany - my first award :) Thanks!

Jenelle - Thanks! Now that I'm free, maybe we can actually start having lunch together again (sorry, I know I've been swamped). Another picnic maybe.