A friend messaged me yesterday to tell me she was quitting her job. She knew I would sympathize with her decision, and I do. I messaged her back and shared some of the things I’d learned so far, and realized I wanted to share them with you too.
1. Truth: I was more burnt out than I expected. I’ve shared this here already, but it’s a big one and worth sharing again. For the past four or five years, I’ve pushed myself so hard. My work at CSU kept getting more and more overwhelming, and it took a lot of energy to push back against that, to try and keep healthy boundaries. I also wanted more for myself, knew I had more to offer, and I tried to do that “on the side.” I got certified as a 500 hour yoga teacher and a meditation instructor, took lots of classes, did a lot of writing and some teaching. I raised a really difficult puppy into a slightly less difficult dog, and worked with the other to heal an injury while also managing my own chronic pain. Etc. There wasn’t the option to slow down or stop, so I just kept going until I collapsed. I’d take just enough time to recover and then I was right back at it. This summer, when I left my job for good and allowed myself to stop, I realized I was in full on burnout and it was going to take some time before I had the energy to start anything new. Every day has been focused on moving in ways that feel good and getting a lot of rest, along with letting myself feel what I feel about where I find myself right now.
2. Truth: Quitting CSU was like a breakup, but with a “thing” rather than a person. And let me tell you, that’s weird. When I feel angry about some of the things that happened in that relationship, or even when I miss it, there’s no real object to attach that to, no specific place or single person to direct it toward. It can feel really confusing.
3. Truth: There was no immediate sense of relief or freedom from quitting, being done. Maybe in part it’s because I have thought about it and planned for it for such a long time. Maybe it’s because anything you’ve imagined for so long can’t possibly live up to the fantasy. Maybe it’s because when you’ve waited for something for so long when it finally happens it doesn’t feel real. Maybe it’s a simple as I’ve had summers off for the past nine years, so it won’t be until school starts again in the fall but this time I don’t go back that it finally and fully sinks in.
One wish: That when we find ourselves burnt out, we allow ourselves the time and care it takes to heal, to restore and renew. That we honor what we need and pace ourselves, having patience with the process and being gentle with ourselves.