When I Get There

I had this moment last Monday night, as I painted the letters, where I realized, this will end.

Let me put it another way – I have been working this project for more than 365 days. I have put more than 3000 hours into this project. I have put blood, sweat and tears (oh, the tears!) into this project. And in about 70 days, this will all come to an end. My work doesn’t quite end with “go-live” – there’s this thing called “stablization” where we all run around for a bit, but there is an end, and it’s coming – coming quickly.  Call it 600 or so hours from now. Please understand, while that number looks large it really isn’t. That number is very, very small.

And that was what I was thinking about over the last week, not that I have all of this work ahead of me, but that there is coming a time when I will not have all of this work. There will come a time when the way I have lived for almost a year will not be the way I live. I will close my laptop at around 5pm, and I will be done my work. Not done in, not having to give up out of exhaustion, not rushing off to another city, but actually, truly done. There will come a time when I will be able to work late and finish a task, when an extra 30 minutes will get me to done, not merely further along the path.

There will come a time when I will not work nights, weekends and holidays. There will come a time when I work 40 hours a week.

And it’s easy, too easy in fact, to say “yaay Mrs. Spit, it will be wonderful.”

Yes, I will be able to return to my old interests, my old hobbies. I will once again be fully home, not mind half at work. I will be able to focus on things other than this project, and truly, moving on means that my career has grown. It is a good thing to move on, even when change is new and foreign, it is a good thing. It’s just not a simple thing.

Busyness, for all its downsides, has a gigantic upside. My mother very sagely pointed out that adrenaline is addictive. It’s addictive to be the guy, to be the one in the room, to be the pivot person. It’s addictive to have mastery. There’s power and self-worth and self-actualization in the run and the rush.

It’s not about picking back up my book and my knitting and my friends. I’ve changed in a year, so has everything else. The problem is that we have changed independently. I’ve stretched and grown and healed. I’m not entirely different than I was before, but I am more aware. I’m aware of my limits and my frailties, but I’m also aware of my backbone of steel. I’m aware that you can keep going long after you think you can’t, I’m aware that you can always choose your attitude, under any circumstances.

Put simply, I know what I can do. When my back is against the wall, when the chips are down, when times are hard, I know that I am capable. I found, within myself a person I wasn’t fully aware even existed. I found a woman who thrives on challenge, who can negotiate, build relationships, broker compromise. I found my management abilities (nascent, I know) and I found out what I am good at. I found out that I am very, very good indeed.

With all of that information, perhaps not all of my old paths are still open to me. It seems a waste, almost sinful, to learn all of that, and to go back to the way I was. Not just the job I had, but who I was. It seems odd, foolish, to take all that I have learned about myself, what I like, what I’m good at, and carry on with my old hopes and dreams, knowing that they don’t capture this new information and they don’t quite fit anymore.

When you find the adrenaline rush, when you find your own power, you cannot simply go back. You can go forward, and you can chart your own course. And so, here I am, looking at empty space and wondering exactly how I want to fill it – wondering exactly what this new woman can do now, and where she can go.

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9 Responses to When I Get There

  1. a says:

    Change is good – and the next challenge will present itself.

  2. Mr Spit says:

    Empowering change, from work – who’d’a’thunkit?

    Better still to see you happy.

  3. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I hope all the upsides of not being as busy outweigh the downsides. 🙂

  4. loribeth says:

    She can go wherever she wants to go. ; ) But hopefully finding a happy medium between 40 & 80-hour work weeks in the process. ; )

  5. YaChun says:

    I used to work a bit like that, and while it is addicting and empowering, it can also be unhealthy. So, I hope when everything comes rushing to what seems like a standstill, you have more time to take care of yourself!

    And I can’t wait to see what new challenges you find for yourself.

    (And your photo is in the envelope. Step 1.)

  6. Kristin says:

    Change can be good and I can’t wait to see where it takes you.

  7. debby says:

    I got excited for you just reading this. I recognize that feeling. It’s always life changing.

  8. Gosh, a year!
    Your hobbies, friends, and time to just be, await!
    I miss my hobbies, I wonder how they are…

  9. Jamie says:

    She can do anything! Go anywhere! I’m glad you are finishing this project with more than just a project (sorry – don’t mean to belittle it by calling is ‘just’ a project). But with a new confidence and the feeling of empowerment. Hear you roar!!

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