This week marks a huge transition in the course of my life. The job that I have held for almost my entire existence since graduating from college is coming to an end. Due to continual budget constraints, my boss decided to eliminate my position. In truth, he did offer me the job of lab manager instead, telling me that if I did take that position, I would have to work more and stricter hours than I currently work, without equivalent financial compensation. At first, I was shocked to hear this news, as I had no forewarning, and asked him if I could think about it for a couple of days. In reality, however, I had no need to think about my decision for even a moment. I knew and had felt for more years than I care to admit, that there was no choice. A large part of me had died staying in this job, and because I did not know how to make my way out of it myself, the universe closed this door for me in order to open new doors. Here was my chance to hike the Pacific Crest Trail- something that I had been wanting to do ever since I finished the Appalachian Trail, and something that I would not be allowed to do if I accepted the role of lab manager. And here was a chance to begin a new life- one that can be shaped more by me and my own interests.
Because of who I am and the life that was given to me, I am not a person that can spend the majority of my days devoted to doing work that does not touch my heart or fulfill me. I have endured an incredible amount of pain and hardship, and have been left with the remnants of trying to make sense of what has happened. I need to be around people who are in touch with themselves, who share and give love freely, who are empathetic and compassionate and willing to give hugs. I need to be around people who inspire and uplift. I need to go to places that allow me to find my own freedom and sources of strength and my own well of hope. I need to find a way to support myself in a way that makes me feel happy and fulfilled, and where I can share my strengths.
I feel the most hopeful when I am outside and moving. I am friendlier and more open to people, and I even amaze myself with the optimism and encouragement that I can offer others (when not in a state of exhaustion). I also feel remarkably less fear when I am hiking alone, than when I am living in “ordinary” life. The most common comment that I receive when I am hiking alone is how brave I am (especially to be out there as a female on her own). Most people- even the men- said they would never even consider going out on trails alone. For me, I feel the opposite way. I feel much less afraid than I normally do, much stronger, more open, and more happy. There is no choice for me. It is what I must do.
I have begun to clear my desk, lab bench, and freezer full of tubes, and as more and more space opens up, more space arises in me as well. I feel more free and less encumbered by years of work that I was never meant to do. And while it is incredibly frightening to have no idea how I will support myself, how I will be able to fund my own future hikes, to lose my security, my access to benefits such as having a printer, my health insurance (I will no longer be able to get my chiropractic adjustments, which have become so important and useful to me), I also feel the sense of a new beginning emerging- one that can now stem from my core, one that can be shaped by love. My desire is to create a life from a place of love- doing the things that I love, sharing the love that is inside of me, and being open to receiving love in return. There is no time to do anything less.