Some of you know that I went through a breakup about six months ago. It was an extremely difficult decision to make. Out of respect for us both (and because we’re allowed to have a private life) that’s all I’m going to share. What I will say is that it was the most loving and most respectful breakup I’ve ever had. But it was also hard. And six months later it’s still hard.
Endings are hard. And choosing to end something is especially hard. Because there’s so much risk involved.
Choosing to end something is a gutsy move — whether it’s a breakup, stepping back from a toxic friend or relative, leaving your home for somewhere new, or quitting your job. Ending something by choice is a brazen act of faith.
Because, really, you have no clue what’s coming down the road. You’re never quite sure if things will work out the way you hope, or even if you made the right choice.
Except you do know. Because there’s the little voice.
After all the pros and cons and weighty deliberation, after all the logic and rationale and forecasting, there’s the little voice. That’s how you know.
Or maybe you try not to know. Maybe you try to silence the little voice. Maybe you try to push it down. I’ve done that. Just ask me why I stayed in my Ph.D. for so long when I knew I hated it. Or why I wasted energy on people who were unkind to me. Or why I stayed when I knew I should go.
I know what it’s like to ignore the little voice. I bet you do too. Which is why I think it’s such a miracle when we actually tune in. We should celebrate those moments. We should celebrate tuning in and making the hard choices even when we don’t quite understand them.
If you’re like me, the idea of celebration probably won’t even occur to you. Because you’ll be mucking it out in the trenches of your hard choice — sweating and gritting your teeth and fearing for your life. Celebration will seem unnatural.
And yet, I think, justified. Maybe even necessary.
The kind of celebration I’m talking about doesn’t involve champagne fizz or confetti. It’s more like a mental fist bump — props for having the strength to fight in the trenches. It’s a moment of awe where you mutter under your breath, “Wow, look at me go. I am a fucking warrior.”
That’s what I’m talking about — a celebration of your badassery. A quiet nod to the audacity required to bet on yourself.
So if you’re in the trenches of a hard choice, perhaps an ending of your own — at work, at home, in life — take a moment to marvel at the beauty of your gritty resilience, at the depths of your own strength. You are a fucking warrior.
Sending you so much love for whatever choices you make.
PS — If you’re thinking about ending your career and choosing something new, I can help.