Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
This was a good year for me, decision-wise. I made a lot of them, but I think I chose wisely. It’s not really a coincidence that it was a good year all-around.
At the time, there was no way I could be sure if I was making the right choice, but I followed my gut. Looking back, my gut was right. And when I say “gut,” I’m not talking about instinct; I’m talking about intuition. A very important distinction. Your instinct might tell you to make a terrible decision, but your intuition knows all along that the decision is terrible. The bad habit of making decisions with my instinct in spite of what my intuition was telling me is why I spent most of the last five years with my stomach–literally, my gut–in knots.
2010 was the year of finally unknotting my gut and listening to it. What followed were some very good–and very big–decisions.
Filing for divorce. When Ex-Husband and I separated back in 2009, I figured that we would just stay estranged for a while and not really bother with the whole legal paperwork business until one of us wanted to get married again. It was just a piece of paper to me and didn’t really mean anything, so I wasn’t too worried about it. And then tax season hit, and because of various laws that were created to prevent rich married people (read: NOT ME) from cheating the government, I ended up owing the IRS $1,333. Youch. It still hurts to think about all that money. But in retrospect, it was for the best, as it finally gave me impetus to make this thing final. Ex-Husband filed in October, and though we won’t be divorced by the end of this year, which was my goal, he agreed to do our taxes this year with both of our best interests in mind. And I should be a single lady officially again by the end of January.
Quitting antidepressants. This was one of the tougher decisions I made this year, as it went against my doctor’s recommendation. But being without insurance for a month between the old job and the new job actually kind of made the decision for me, as it would’ve cost astronomical sums to refill my Lexapro without insurance. It was a bumpy road, and sometimes I very much miss the sense of calm and well-being the drug gave me. But I feel more like myself, occasional bouts of melancholy and all, and I feel all the stronger for it.
Leaving my job in the advertising industry. My job was making me miserable and was probably one of the main reasons I had to go on antidepressants in the first place. I alluded the other day to my terrible boss, and she was certainly most of it, but I also think that working for too long in advertising is bad for one’s soul, especially if your main clients sell pizza, junk food, and soda. Every day I came to work and did what I could to ensure the language we used to sell people more pizza and more junk food and more soda was correct. People don’t need more pizza and more junk food and more soda. Additionally, the fact that my boss was so absolutely terrible but is still there should hint at a level of toxicity in the management system that I won’t get into, as I don’t wish to burn bridges, and there were some very good things about the company as well. I couldn’t fix the toxicity, though. When we filled out our goal-setting forms for 2010, I set a personal goal to leave my job that year. And, in June, I did. I had been there for three years.
Turning down a teaching job. Once I decided to leave my job, I began looking at jobs in Austin. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue to edit, and I’m very passionate about the Montessori method of teaching. I have some Montessori experience as an accredited Godly Play teacher, which is a Sunday school curriculum for liturgical churches based on the Montessori method. Teaching Sunday school became the highlight of my week, and I began to wonder what it would be like to teach full-time. I applied at every Montessori school in Austin I could find and interviewed at one that seemed quite promising. However, when they offered me the position of assistant preschool teacher, they told me that it paid only $10/hour. I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it. I looked at my budget and crunched and recrunched the numbers. I considered selling my car and accepting Boyfriend’s offer to move in with him. I tried so very hard to make it work, but, in the end, I would’ve had to sacrifice too much: the career I’ve already worked hard to build, the wealth I’ve accrued so far, perhaps even my relationship with Boyfriend if we took the huge step of moving in together too soon. So I turned the job down. It was a crushing decision, and even now, as I type this, my chest is tight with sorrow for the sweet life I could have had as a Montessori preschool teacher. I didn’t know it yet, but there was something even better in store for me.
Accepting a job in the medical industry. When I first received a phone call from a recruiter for my current position (completely out of the blue–she found my resume on monster.com [if you’re looking for a job, make sure your resume is posted on monster.com!]), I was skeptical that it would be a good fit. But I was desperately trying to leave the ad agency, and I was trying to keep my options open. This job had a lot of strikes against it right off the bat: I knew nothing about medical terminology, not to mention how depressing the idea of reading about cancer all day was; it’s located in Dallas, and I wanted to move to Austin; and it’s another 9-5 desk job, which I was trying to get away from. But I tried to keep an open mind as I moved through the interview process, which took a month. Even as I completed the editing test I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy reading such dry, scientific content day after day. At the in-person interview, my potential future coworkers seemed friendly, and the scales began to tip in the opposite direction. I couldn’t deny that I would be taking the next important step in my career as an editor. And it would mean more money, more financial security. When they offered me the job, I discussed the idea of working remotely from Austin with them, and they were amenable to it after the completion of my training. So I took a chance and accepted the position. And, in six months, I haven’t regretted the decision once. As I’ve learned more about cancer, the material has come to life and isn’t dry to me any longer, which has been the best surprise. Next month we begin discussing what my working remotely from Austin will look like.
Dating Boyfriend. I know this probably seems like a no-brainer, and it’s difficult for me to remember fully the strife our fledgling relationship encountered back in January, as the situation has since fully resolved itself, but this was probably the hardest decision I made this year. And the best. It turned out that it was quite a problem that Boyfriend is also the ex-boyfriend of Best Friend’s Sister. Yes, I realize that sounds like the cheap plot device of a soap opera. When BFS caught wind that not only had Boyfriend and I spent the rest of the New Year’s Eve party making out in his childhood room but that he was planning on coming to visit me in Dallas, she expressed to me her discomfort with the situation as well as her wishes that I pursue the relationship no further. And though she certainly did not intend for it to come off this way, as BFS is a lovely person with a lovely heart, she also included the threat that if I were to pursue the relationship further, it would make things quite uncomfortable for Best Friend, to the point that she may have to choose between us, and of course she would choose her sister. With a heavy heart, I told Boyfriend to cancel his trip, and then I agonized about it for the next few days. On the day Boyfriend would have been in Dallas, I grabbed coffee with a good friend of mine. She pointed out that any feelings my dating Boyfriend would cause BFS to have are BFS’s responsibility and not mine. Certainly, if it were Best Friend who dated him, there would be other things to consider. But that wasn’t the case. I texted Boyfriend and asked him to please come see me, and within the hour he was headed my direction. Things were awkward with Best Friend for a couple of weeks, but after a few honest conversations the air began to clear. I daresay the experience even brought us closer together, and now I do believe she’s just as happy as I am that I have Boyfriend. Well, maybe not JUST AS, but close.