Did you ever have one of those moments when you felt like you were taking a leap off of a tall building and not quite sure if anybody was going to be there to catch you in the end?
On Friday I quit my job. I'm feeling an interesting combination of adrenaline, relief, and fear. And yesterday it was all compounded with a nice headache, compliments of a celebration of my career decision the night before.
The truth is, I've been restless for a while, but not courageous enough to do much about it except complain a lot to the people around me. I'm the first to admit that talking about a difficult situation is only helpful for about a minute. You can talk about anything forever (and I almost did), but until you're ready to take action, it's a waste of time. Yours and everybody else's, too.
I battled with this decision. There's something ingrained in my personality that makes it excruciating to quit or walk away from anything, especially a challenge (see my Chicago Marathon experience for a vivid example). And perhaps that's why I've lasted four years as a reporter here. I love writing. I love being a journalist. I think that the topics I covered will always be important. But there was something missing in the environment I put myself in--it was never inspiring to me, it rarely brought out the best in me, and perhaps that's why it didn't work.
Wasn't it Mark Twain who said something like: "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
I never felt like I could be great here, as much as I tried. And believe me when I say, I tried.
But we'll leave at that. I'll look ahead, instead of dwelling on what is now my past and take some valuable lessons learned in this experience with me.
If nothing else, I'm acutely aware of what has made me happy in the midst of the madness. It was the ridiculous amount of time I put into the first year of Race with Purpose. The chance to combine my passion for health, fitness, and philanthropy has proven to be the perfect recipe for happiness. Perhaps now that I hope to have the time to focus more heavily on it, the exhaustion will be less. Or at least of a different kind--the kind that leaves you feeling contently tired, knowing you've worked hard with people who share your passion and values, to do some kind of good in the world, however small it might be.
I have vowed that 2008 will be a better year. Certainly there were many highlights in 2007, but the majority of those 365 days were a struggle. That's a lot of energy, to struggle so much. No more. It's just not my style.
So, I look ahead knowing that I have a pretty blank canvas to do with whatever I want. I will build a freelance writing career, I will do my part to help Race with Purpose grow and flourish, and, eventually, I'll move back to New York.
I feel better already.