Monday, March 8, 2010

Episode 3 - the sequel

The first of February one year ago : it was the start of “episode 3” on this blog. In other words : I started crawling out of a very deep black hole. Little by little, I reshaped my life. Looking back now, more than one year later, I wonder if it’s time to end this particular chapter or not.

- I have learned that “letting go” doesn’t mean “giving up”. Although it’s still something that doesn’t come naturally....The struggle continues. Letting go of a dream, of a wish, hard to do. Especially if you want to fight so hard for it, like me, while all you can do is just rely on faith and confidence in the future (I’m really starting to sound like one of those new-age, pop-psychology books here, don’t I?)

- I’ve realised I always fall into the same traps. I want to plan and organise my entire life – while some things, like the love of another person, or new life, can’t be planned or forced – but are gifts that come to you (now I almost sound like my parish priest)

- I still think of others first – and I forget about myself. In small things (“ok, I’ll re-schedule my entire calendar of it suits you”), but also in big things (“ok, I’ll consider moving abroad again just because you want it”). I know that this is one of the reasons I pushed myself over more than one limit in the past. I still believe in getting out of my comfort-zone. I no longer believe in getting so far away from it that I get completely lost. However, I’m terrified that it will happen again.

- I have no “brakes”. I know that now. When I work on a project, I don’t stop until it’s finished – even if this means forgetting about lunch, dinner and sleep. When I do sports, I go on until I drop dead. When I’m reading a book I like, I have to finish it – even if it’s 4 am. I go to work with a fever. I liked working part-time, but I’m already doing more than a full-time again. Friends from uni still remember me for my white nights during exam time. Good thing : I’ve learned to say “ok N, time to stop. Now.” And it’s actually working (sometimes).

- I’ve learned to be proud of what I do. For the first time in my life, when people ask me what I do, I feel not ashamed when I tell them. Even when I had the job with the big company car and the truckload of responsibilities, I still considered myself “inferior”. I was “only” the recruiter, or “only” the HR consultant. All that is gone. I’m a teacher and that’s the best job in the world for me.

- Which brings me to my last point. If I have learned one lesson, than it’s this : find out what you really want to do, and do it. Don’t let anything hold you back. I stayed in the wrong job in the wrong company for years. For all the wrong reasons.... Career changes, insights, knowing what you want,....: it doesn’t come in a fortnight. It’s a very long, difficult and on-going process (which, sorry, can’t be solved by just doing an MBA and thinking that that will provide all the answers and solutions). In a way, I was very lucky that others helped me on my way by firing me – it changed my life completely.

So after France and the start of this blog ("Between Brussels and Barbizon"), and after getting back to the job I didn't want anymore and slowly drowning in the aftershock of everything that happened (" Trying to keep her head up, and her feet on the ground"), "Episode 3" began. There’s still some work to do – but I think those will be live-long projects just ‘cause I’m N.
To be completely honest, I’m still hoping for one more live-long project. That day, will be the real end of “Episode 3”.

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