Chapter 273

I start a new job next week. 

A job that means I can reclaim my financial independence (after a bit of help in the beginning affording extra travel costs etc etc), and will hopefully simplify my life a lot. 

I’ve closed the receptionist chapter. And, while I’ve met some incredible people and made some keeper friends, I’m not sad about it. It’s almost a relief. That job really linked up with studying full time. And studying full time, as an adult, with debts to pay and who has tasted freedom and financial independence and mortgages and what not, is bloody hard, man. Bloody hard. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’ve had a cruisy 2 years getting up at 4.30am to get course work done then racing to work at midday. Changing my eating habits completely to suit my work start time… Not going out to see friends because not only could I not afford a meal or an extra coffee in a day, but the money that should have put fuel in my car instead bought horse feed. Giving entire 3 day weekends to essays, AT LEAST once a month… And learning to smile politely when people assumed I relaxed and watched reruns of Oprah before starting work at midday. Lucky me. Yes. Ok. 

Lucky me because I’m blessed enough to have the opportunity to further my education, firstly. Lucky that I’m encouraged to do so by my mother and furthermore, supported in doing so by living for free and always being fed by her. Lucky that I have the intelligence to soak up all this amazing knowledge. Lucky to have had the freedom to have already studied in the tertiary system twice, before working out what I wanted to really actually do with my life. And lucky that I found just that: what I want to do with my life. 

I intended for this post to be basically a list of things I’m excited about. But here we are. 

I had the most beautiful thing said to me on Friday night. A dear friend from my now previous workplace, said “people don’t come to you with their problems and their worries because they have no one else, we come to you because you’re a safe place. YOU are a safe place. You’re absolutely doing the right thing with your life. This is absolutely where you’re supposed to be headed. Don’t ever doubt that.” 

… You are a safe place. 24 hours on and this sits heavily with me. What does that look like? I can’t see it, I’m me. What does me as a safe place look like? Is it even quantifiable? And does it even matter?

Probably not. Probably not at all. And I’m not about to start rummaging around to try to work it out. I’m just going to let it be… And try to remember that responsibility when I’m feeling off colour or off key, that I don’t betray any person’s (or animal’s) trust in a fleeting moment that lacks composure. 

So, this weekend I’m cleansing my palate. Thinking about nothing. Taking each moment as it comes. Riding my horse, being with loved ones, chilling with my cat, and birds, and dog… Etc… Cleaning the house, resetting myself and my space, ready to take on the next adventure. Whether or not it’s just not near enough to hit me yet, I don’t know, but I’m not even remotely anxious about this new job. I’m so confident in my abilities in this field. Which is not to be scoffed at; I’ve worked hard to be exceptional at customer service. Just as I’m working hard to be exceptional at counselling… And taking this opportunity means even more possibilities and time, and space and peace and stresslessness to be able to study more broadly, or more specifically, or more anything, to become the greatest counsellor I can be.  

The neverending story

I’ve never been big on goodbyes… Like, they just don’t bother me. They’re just another thing that happens in life. Like buying petrol and buying new socks. 

But recently I’ve begun to wonder if it’s because I’m actually really UNcomfortable with them when I’m always saying I’m not phased and fluid about them… Why the recent doubt, you ask? Ok, you didn’t ask, but I’ve a list of big (ish) goodbyes to check off in the next few weeks and I’m a little uneasy about it. 

Today I farewelled the school where I’ve been completing my student placement. I tried to make a big deal, I made cupcakes to share with staff and clients, exchanged gifts with my supervisor and thanked and farewelled the school principal at the end of the day… I gave each client the opportunity to say goodbye (or not) in their own way (having been made aware by clinical supervisors that we need to be respectful of everyone’s way it dealing with endings), and kept my name badge as a momento. 

But now I’m sitting in a cafe and wondering how I feel about it… This week in clinical supervision, my supervisor asked me to take 15 minutes at the end of my last day to reflect on my time. So I am. And I want to cry. 

That’s it. There it is. I want to cry. 

Now, I’m not saying that wanting to cry makes me bad at endings… Perhaps I’m just surprised is all. Stay with me…

Yesterday, I received a formal offer for a full time job to get me through to the next phase of my life, which meant I resigned from my current position (which, you may recall, has been fraught with identity and self-worth issues), and prepare to finish up there in less than 2 weeks and move straight into a new full time position in a call centre. 

I have virtually no feelings about that yet. It was never a permanent position, the people I have become close with I will stay in touch with and I’ll just jump into the next chapter. See? Easy. No scary goodbye, just “thanks everyone, I’ve loved getting to know you, but see ya!”… 

Then there’s Uni. In 3 weeks, I’ll have completed my stint as a full time student and all the sacrifices that came with it. Done. Back into the real world. It’s taken me nearly the whole 2 years to really become the student. Accept that that’s my main job. Own the title. So now, after only just getting a grip on it, I get to let go of it again. This ones easy. I’m excited about this one. I like working. I love studying too, but this student life has been really tough. I’ve lost independence and barely managed to remain financially afloat. Working equals independence for me. And I love my independence. 
So 3 big goodbyes. 3 big endings. All in a month. 

One’s done. And I thought I’d feel OK about it. I don’t believe it’s the end there anyway. I’m sure I’ll be back in one way or another. Whether counselling or in some other capacity depending on which way the wind blows. 

But I want to cry. And I can’t work out if it’s relief, sadness, exhaustion, anxiety or joy. 

I’m relieved to check another box and get closer to getting my degree. 

I’m sad that I don’t get to counsel every week anymore. I’m sad that I’ll miss the kids I’ve been working with. That have trusted me. That I’ve connected with. That I KNOW I made some difference to the lives of. 

I’m completely exhausted. That’s no secret. And no surprise. There’s every possibility that it’s just exhaustion… 

I might be anxious that I’m not moving into a counselling job. Worried that I’ll miss opportunities, lose touch, lose confidence. That’s real too. 

Maybe it’s joy because of how much I’ve achieved. Maybe I’m happy because of those kids I’ve connected with. I feel I’ve done only good in that school. That I have never brought negativity through the gate and I’ve grown profoundly throughout my journey there. 

Maybe I’m ok with the ending because it was such a positive experience and the other emotions are all valid and that simply leads to tears. As a release of them all. 

Maybe I still am super duper at goodbyes. Maybe the fact that I’m commenting on all this is a testament to that. Maybe the overwhelming tired and giant to do list before Christmas is the only reason I’m questioning it. Maybe this post made zero sense and you’re all wondering when I’m going to get to the point. …

Well I’m not sure I have a point. Goodbyes happen. I’ve always seen them as very fluid. We will meet again if we are destined to. To worry otherwise is wasted energy and counter-productive. 

So I’ll just carry on with my list of endings to check off this month and see how each one sits with me…