I’m making up my own rules now.
“Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding your self that everything happens for a reason.”
– John Mayer
Last day! Last day!! Last daaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!
Once upon a time in 2009, our protagonist came back to NY from a short-term job singing in China, with zero savings and no job prospects.
For months and months she struggled to find work (any work) in the midst of the recession in a city where her only safety net was her dear and wonderful (now ex) boyfriend…
Finally, in summer 2010, she was offered a full-time executive assistant job she had never imagined she was qualified for and accepted an offer to earn more money than she could have envisioned ever making! She was SAVED! It was a dream come true!!!
There was only one catch: In exchange for this paycheck to sustain her survival in NY she would have to give up her TIME. Her time now belonged to the company. From 9am-5pm and some overtime on Saturday or Sunday, she had to be at her desk. She belonged to them…and there would be no singing in the office.
Over time, her body became rigid and underused from sitting in a chair hour upon hour, year upon year.
Her eyes became blurry from the computer screens she stared at all day long, the lights constantly flickering for her attention from morning til night.
Once she used to dance and let her voice and heart sing free, but now she answered the phone in clipped sentences and drank expensive coffee. She was a “professional” now.
Soon the beep of the phone and the buzz of the email inbox went from sounds of delight to disturbing alarms, alerting-alerting-alerting her that there was another urgent matter (someone else’s priority) that she needed to fix, take-care-of, or solve. Everyone else’s priorities became her priorities.
Alert! Alert! Alert!
After six years at the job she wrote in her journal on Sept 10, 2015, trying to make some sense of what was happening in her life. Her heart and her mind had been SCREAMING for a change for a long time before she could recognize the courage to take action…it all came out on the page when she sat down to write…
“I am so overloaded with things. There are way too many things on my mind. I am overwhelmed. I am tired. It’s too hard to juggle everything all at once. Something’s gotta give. I am just spread way too thin. I feel like I’m getting 1,000 emails in my inbox every day.
I didn’t really take a lunch break today, which is a problem, but not uncommon. I am drowning right now in my own over-extension of myself.
I need a rest. I need a break. I need peace.
I am cancelling social obligations with friends in favor of being alone at home; that’s totally what’s needed right now.
I am just an automaton on my phone these days. My work phone, my personal phone. I jump with anxiety every time it “dings.”
I don’t know what is going on in my body a lot of the time. I just ignore it. I am so focused on the screens, the phone screen, the computer screen…with all the alerts, the buzzing. It’s crazy-making!
Yikes! Anyway, I am going to figure out a good way to juggle all of this.
I hate being single. I wish I had someone who I could depend on, to help me when I’m having a tough time. I’m feeling like I “should” be more self-reliant than I am, more self-aware than I am. I’m not sure what’s underneath all these thoughts and feelings I’m writing right now. I’m just so overwhelmed with the world.
I wish I could spend some time by myself, traveling or sitting on a beach in the sun and spending time alone. Alone. I feel much safer alone in many ways. It’s so much easier to be by myself. Then I don’t have to worry about outside stimuli from any other person. Other people make life so confusing. I’m so influenced by them. They make me feel things I don’t want to feel a lot of the time. It’s so overwhelming.
I think I’d really like to take a nap or stare at my phone. There are so many things I could do to escape from this feeling of overwhelm.
I am second-guessing myself all the time and making up disaster scenarios in my head all over the place!
Why do I always seem to make myself so busy? I just love so many things and I want to be involved in so many things that it’s really hard for me to slow down and just BE….When I just sit…by myself…and chill… I start to become human again….I need space to do that though and rest.
What is stopping me from making that happen?”
A few months passed, the busy, busy business continued on and on and on. And then one day her body couldn’t hold in the tension any more and the tears came in waves and waves and waves.
Her lifestyle didn’t seem to fit her anymore. The world she had built had become too stressful for her to handle.
What had happened? The job that once had saved her, had helped to sustain her survival, now she needed to be saved from it or be destroyed by it.
After many moments of contemplation, conversation and self-reflection she said to herself, “I’m done.” Finally the fog of confusion and indecision had lifted and the sweet clarity of making a choice (any choice) filled her with a sense of power and control over her own destiny. She was determined.
She walked into the office tower and said to her boss, “I’d like to own my own time again, please. This exchange of money for my time is not making me happy any more. I will be leaving on March 18. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.”
Holy shit! She did it.
She walked back to her desk to start to clean up and prepare for her departure sighing, “God bless America. I’m grateful for my freedom.” It felt like she had just given herself the gift of life again. She refused to die a slow death of checking email.
“I’m sure everyone at the office will get along just fine without me sitting here all day. Someone else will be more than willing to play that role.” She told herself.
“Chapter closing.” The glorious rightness of this decision began to sink into her muscles. Her body began to relax. “Goodbye to Madison Avenue. I gave six years of my life to playing by your rules.”
She smiled, “I’m making up my own rules now.”
Virginia is not working right now, living on her savings and is open to finding her next career opportunity as soon as she runs out of money or gets tired of explaining to people that she’s currently not “doing” anything for money right now. If you want to hear some current creative experiments from Virginia, check her out on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/iamthemeaningmaker. You can also get a glimpse into her past life as an actor by visiting www.VirginiaWilcox.com. Or if none of that interests you and you would simply like to tell Virginia how reading this post has impacted you, kindly email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Fuck it and be free!” :-)