Social media is a remarkable phenomenon to me. When I think back in high school when my sister and I got an EXTENSION telephone in our bedroom we thought we were hot shit! With social media you are connected to so many more people than you ever would have encountered in your normal day life. There are so many inspiring people out there to follow, and I follow a lot, but while I am happy for other people’s successes, a tiny part of me thought “why are they so lucky they get to do what they love.” Or “it must be nice just to quit your job and travel.”
They say that you shouldn’t make any rash decisions the first year after your spouse dies. Well, I fortunately and unfortunately I had to redo the whole front of my house because it was rotten. While I feared tackling a huge project like that without Tony, I realized I had to put my big girl pants on and make decisions, hire contractors, etc. It was a blessing in disguise, because after Tony died, I spent less than six nights in 8 months in my living room, and that was only when I had company over. It hurt too much. His beloved chair was there, everything looked the same. And if I let myself, I could almost imagine that he was just in the bathroom about to join me to watch one of our favorite t.v. shows together.
But after it was finished, and my friend Whitney (hi Whit!) decorated the place for me, it felt like. . . me. It didn’t feel like us anymore, and as the work got finished just a couple months before the first anniversary of Tony’s death, I think that was the first time that I finally gave my life some thought. I was no longer married. My daughter, her fiancé, my step-son and his wife are young adults. I went from us and we to I and me. And I realized that there was nothing holding me back. It was as if the fog was really lifting and I could no longer define my life as a wife and mother.
So I got to thinking and taking stock of where I was at. Long time readers know that my job isn’t my favorite place to be. The life of a legal secretary is so different from when I started over 20 years ago. Technology has caught up and the attorneys are so self-sufficient, that unless we have a case going to trial, it’s a very mundane job. I’d read about people cooking for a living and wonder if that could be me? Did I have to just read about people making their lives happy and could I possibly have the guts to try it myself?
My first word of advice for you: life insurance. I couldn’t do what I am about to do if I didn’t have that nest egg to fall back on. It paid for all the renovations, the flooring, the furniture, the labor, etc. And even though there were times when I wrote out that check to State Farm every month when money was tight, I never missed a payment in 9 years. And I actually think that gave Tony piece of mind and he was able to let go at the end, knowing that I’d be okay.
So this is a spontaneous decision and not at the same time. I realized in order to research what my next step was, I had to quit my job in order to give my “Operation Happiness” a full 110%. I can basically go in any direction – from being a cook on a tour bus for a band, or work for a national catering company traveling. The possibilities are endless!
And even though a part of me feels tiny Tony sitting on my shoulder telling me to wait to quit my job until I have a new one, well, that’s just not me. Once I decided to do something, come hell or high water, I am going to try to make it work. I ended up just throwing gym clothes in my bag on Monday because I was so excited to tell the office manager my news. She was shocked to say the least (this is the same boss that I just catered her dinner party the previous Saturday night!) but she was happy for me and sad for herself. She has two boys who are in college, one just about to graduate from college, and her analogy was spot on. She said it was like finding out her son got his dream job, but then finding out that it was in San Francisco.
All throughout the day on Monday whenever I scrolled through Instagram, I’d see a saying that just solidified my decision. And the shirt I picked out to workout in? BE INSPIRING!
So my mantra going forward? YOU GET WHAT YOU FOCUS ON, SO FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT. Yep, I shouted it, because it makes me so happy that I am doing this. I am not scared, or nervous. I know my bills will continue to be paid as they have been, just from a different account.
One of the owners of the firm told me that she was afraid that cooking would some day steal me away from the firm, but she looked me directly in the eye and said “I know you will be a success no matter what you do.”
So the best time for new beginnings, is now! And I cannot wait to see where it takes me. I hope you stick along for the ride!