My sister and I have long recognized a phenomenon that occurs when you break up with a boyfriend- it’s called backsliding. Typically a day or two after you decide to pull the trigger, your brain loses all capacity for reason and you enter a full-on panic. All your pro-con lists go out the window and your brain stem steps in to say “YOU’RE MAKING A MISTAKE! YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT THIS PERSON!” When you don’t have a good friend or sister by your side to put you in a straight jacket, you usually reach out to your boyfriend and beg to be taken back. This is not a good thing, but it does happen. Breaking up is hard to do.
Right now I’m in the process of breaking up with my job. Saying it’s a job minimizes how it feels to hang out with the same twelve people every day all day, who know about your family, your favorite TV shows, and have seen you on good days and bad for years on end. Your co-workers end up being a second family. Say what you will about the unhealthy American relationship with work. It is unhealthy. One of the reasons I’m leaving is because I have a hour-long commute and the nature of my job doesn’t lend itself to work-from-home. I need a healthier balance in my work-to-family ratio. Unfortunately, the relationships I’ve built all these years are getting damaged in the process.
I’m having a hard time finding a metaphor for how it feels to encounter people who you bond with profoundly, but then disappear from your life. Untangling the tentacles that weave into the hearts of other people is a complicated and fraught process. It hurts. I can delegate my tasks to other people, but my heart leaves with me. I know this is the nature of life. We go about our lives bumping into other people, leaving a positive or negative effect, then move on to bump into other people. This is just how it is. When relationships end, when things change, we might grieve, we might backslide, but we always grow.
Right now my heart hurts and I will grieve for what I’m leaving behind. That is ok. I never would have made this decision if I didn’t know in my gut it was the right one. I was made better by the people I met here and they were made better by me. What a gift that is.