When you leave something — friendships, your family home, romantic relationships, a hairstylist, job or career — you do suffer a loss, even if the reasons for leaving are celebrated. When you get married or get the big promotion, or you move far away from loved ones, you are happy for the next chapter but you realize that the page has turned permanently.
This stuck me today as I was reading a post from a woman who worked in the entertainment world — she had left her job to take some time off. Like me, she made this decision over a long period of time and was able to plan for it financially. She knew it was coming.
And yet she still felt a tremendous loss.
She talks about the initial feelings of losing her identity as she went from 24/7 work overdrive while in the job to having lots of time on her hands. Now granted, I have not yet felt like a kept woman, one who has nothing but free time and not a care in the world. My life since leaving my job has been more crazy than I expected but it has eventually turned into the life I imagined, just without the money.
One of the things that resonated about this woman’s story was how she could see that this exit from her job is just one of hundreds of exits we make in our lives. We make changes, move forward, and life goes on. And after you finally get some stillness, you realize you are still YOU. Not having a title or a career as an identity does not decimate all of your personality gifts or your contributions to society. You still have much to offer and give, and much to learn. You evolve. You keep going.
I have reconnected with so many parts of my soul that I had long forgotten in the frenzied workplace — my sense of resilience, hope, compassion, laughter, and appreciation for friends and family who let me be me.
We can’t avoid leaving, and we will all keep doing it. Embrace how much learning it will bring!