Yesterday I finally severed the umbilical cord to yet another chapter of my life…I wrote in formally and quit my job. I had been meaning to do this for quite a few months, but it was as, if I did, then I would suddenly become rudderless, and be cast adrift upon alien waters. So I clung on to a life style which had taught me discipline, shown me focus and brought in the wherewithal to care for my children without us being forced to tackle major lifestyle changes. I was not in the first flush of youth when our family had a tragedy to face, but I was grateful that I was given the opportunity of earning a decent living, without it smacking of charity, worse, pity.
Maybe right at the beginning, if I had been able to peep into the future and been privvy to the many pitfalls in my career path, better sense might have prevailed…or maybe not! I clutched at every straw, sought any escape to lend focus to a world suddenly gone topsy-turvy. One moment my life had it all. A wonderful husband rising to dizzy heights in his chosen career, children who never caused us any grief and only made us proud and happy to be their parents, my warm & loving parents & in laws. Then one dark day, in one fell swoop, everything changed. I had to work, I needed to focus and pull myself up and carry on with living. And so began a career, at mid life, which spanned twenty three years
Since I was going to start working in familiar surroundings and not among strangers, my self confidence began seeping back. But it was rather daunting to be aware that I was joining a mostly male-centric working executive community. Also, women were not such a major chunk of the workforce in those years when I started working. It took me a while, but it was enjoyable and satisfying that I was able to pull my weight, put the proverbial clothes on our backs & food on the table, plus add a few frills to our lives, with my new role of Provider. The sun came out from behind the dark clouds of the previous nightmarish months, the children who had suddenly been clinging to me, began to also realize that I would be there for them-always. They had no need for apprehensions, apprehensions of any kind. I was always going to be their rock, there for them, whatever the future might hold.
As you can imagine, working a 9 to 5 corporate job helps shape and sharpen, and redefine your personality. It gives you the discipline of time management, helps you multi task better than the juggling clown at a circus, calms your mind to deal with tricky situations on the job, which adds to life experience, not just work experience. Instinctively I felt worthy and good to be part of the workforce. I went where I wanted, I chose to do and say what I thought & wished. I took decisions for my children and their future, unflinchingly, knowing full well that maybe in hindsight these may not always be the correct ones. But by then, one also had honed the skills to tweak any wrong decision made. All because I was a working woman…I felt this was what had given me poise and self confidence and with it, freedom.
I moved to the city, continued working well into the explosive computer age of the ‘90’s & the dawn of the new century. I learnt on the new job, stuck it out for the comfort factor. Made mistakes, erred in many a judgement, learnt not to trust the world around me without first checking their bona fides. It was as if nothing could faze me. I was made of sterner stuff, and blessed with many good friends and confidantes, so I was able to take such hiccups in my stride, towards eventual grandmotherhood.
Then I began feeling bewildered. The juggling of life’s balls was not smoothly perfect. What I could cope with just a few years ago, tied hands & blindfolded, often seemed beyond me lately. My priorities had shifted. My personal responsibilities continued & multiplied, but these of course one could not ignore and wish away. Yet I had begun to resent not having sufficient “me” time. I seemed mainly to have to often think of what was expected of me. I thought that I needed to, I had earned it and I yearned for it, and so I took the conscious decision, to have the flexibility to spend my time as I wished. To counting butterflies maybe, in far off & wondrous, yet unexplored lands, before my eyesight faded and my joints audibly creaked. To spoiling my delicious grand children silly, behind their parents’ backs. To enjoying the company of my friends,in giggly gaggles, at lunches or the movies, or at short getaway holidays.
And so, I quit my job.