(This post is part of an awesome series of awesome 25swf guest bloggers- read about them here!)
A wise soul told me that “Women all around the world have been giving up things they love since forever in order to protect themselves and their hearts.” What makes me any different?
I’ve been in the process of starting a nonprofit with ___ and some good friends for about two years. I love it, and I love our mission, and I love the people I was working with, but… I didn’t love the fact that I saw him all the dang time. Or that anytime I got free time, I was spending it working on bylaws, or going to meetings, or planning events, and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I wanted to. Also, there happen to be a lot of new things cropping up in my life that I would rather devote my attention to.
So I decided to quit.
It was an incredibly difficult decision. I don’t like quitting things, and I tend to stick with something until it makes me really unhappy, or dies away. I decided to preempt some of that.
I met with our Chair and spoke to him in person about my decision and my reasoning, and he agreed, and it went really smoothly. When I got home, I emailed the group (including ___) a concise explanation of my decision and how much I would miss the group.
Cue relief, and a movie for relaxation.
Only… 1.5 hours later…
I get a phone call. Guess who.
“I just got your email. I just wanted to say… I mean I understand your reasons, and I’m happy for you, I guess I just wanted to call because, well, this group is kind of the only thing that’s been keeping us in contact, and it feels like without it, we won’t be seeing each other for a while, and I just didn’t think we should leave it at an email between us. I’m not really sure why I’m calling. I guess I just hope that the reasons you listed in your email are true. I mean, I know they’re true, but I just feel like I’m part of your reasons for quitting, and I’ve been thinking of quitting too, but I just want to make sure that you’re actually going on to better things, and that I just, I hope I didn’t make things too hard on you. And I want to know what you’re doing, I want to know what your new plans are. I just hope that you’re doing okay. You know you don’t give me enough credit for how much I care about you. ”
It went on like that for about 5 minutes before he paused to let me respond. It ended up being about a 30 minute conversation. For brevity’s sake, I’ll just say that in the end, I was able to get a few things off my chest that I had been wanting to for a long time. And I was able to end the conversation by telling him that I didn’t want to see him, or have him contact me, or work with him. Not for forever, just until I can get into a frame of mind that doesn’t involve me thinking about him every day.
It felt like a post-breakup breakup, and it felt like I had finally taken the power in my life and made a concrete decision that has helped me get into a better frame of mind. I finally took a positive step in the direction of my own goals and dreams, and it feels really, really good.
And in the end, quitting wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It was hard, but I don’t feel like people are judging me for stepping down. I actually feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I can really focus on learning new things and not being held back by others’ perceptions.