Taking a (unintentional) gap year at 32!
Updated: Feb 25, 2020
With 2019 over and done, I started to think about the year I have had and what 2019 has taught me and to be honest, it wasn't what I planned but it was exactly what I needed.
Last year after 12 years in childcare I quit my job with nothing (or basically nothing) to fall back on to bring financial support to my family! For years I had been contemplating leaving my job as I knew it was no longer my passion.
I believe that the day you wake up and don’t want to go to work, is the day that you are done and I had been done for a long time.
The problem was that the business I worked for was family-owned, so it wasn’t a matter of just leaving a job with no connections or strings attached, it was a matter of leaving my family and potentially letting them down. I had voiced my desire before about wanting to leave and being ready for something else, but in those moments I could see the heartbreak on their faces and so I held on for longer than I probably should have. I kept pushing through even though I was becoming more and more unhappy and disconnected to the work.
After our last lot of (stress inducing) assessment and rating, a process that I’m so glad I don’t have to be a part of any more, I’d finally built up the courage and I guess the strength and commitment to myself to follow through with my urge to leave. I knew I had to do it and there was no better time than now.
A friend had taught me through many deep conversations, that if you wait for the timing to be right for everyone else, you will never rip the band-aid to find your own happiness. Thanks Candice!
October 2018 I handed in my resignation to the shock of many of my colleagues, and the families that attended the service. I knew I would be missed but I had to move on and do something more aligned to my soul.
Over 12 months have passed now and looking back on what 2019 bought me I can honestly say it wasn’t what I expected. This past year has been filled with many ups and downs, lots of tears and some incredible joy. It has been a flurry of emotions from excitement and confidence to shame and self doubt. It has been the best year and probably one of the worst years I have ever had.
When I left my job I had built a small business as part of an essential oil MLM and I felt that with some hard work I could bring that to a very profitable venture. Between that and my interest in natural therapies and the modalities I had already picked up, I felt my new path was mapped out. I would provide natural therapies and teach people about supporting their health with natural therapies and essential oils.
What I didn’t expect only months into my new life, was the turmoil that was to come to my MLM business and the brakes it bought to that venture. There was some toxicity that I needed to escape ...maybe one day I will go into detail with that but for now all I will say is that time of my life was stressful, heart breaking and filled with shame... yet it was the best thing that could ever happen!
Hindsight is a funny thing. We can say “if I only knew what I know now...” in some of the most awful of situations and think we may have handled it differently. But then we wouldn’t have got the lessons right?!
My sinking ship was hard to take but looking back, I know it was exactly what needed to happen to make space for bigger and better things to come. It took me almost 12 months to decide I was officially done with the MLM game (and believe me that’s exactly what it was to many people, a mere game), unfortunately myself and some others didn’t come out unscathed but those bruises and even scars have helped shaped a more authentic self. And as much as there is hurt and shame I can honestly say that the experience and growth of “doing MLM” in all its forms, (the messy middle and the walking away included) has made me a stronger version of me.
I will no longer put up with being walked over. I will no longer say yes to things I don’t 100% want to do. I will speak up when things are not kosher and I will create a life that brings joy to me and my family no matter the sacrifices.
So what was the point of this year?? Well, it has been the gap year of my dreams. I have attended excursions, assemblies and even watched my youngest receive an award at school. I have been on a holiday with my husband. Enjoyed being a stay at home mum. Taken lazy afternoon lunches with my mum, sister and friends, chatting away with no time constraints. I have unapologetically enjoyed my freedom to read books, learn new things and provide some beautiful sessions for a lovely variety of women.
We, my family and I, are by no means are rolling in cash but I could say that this gap year has brought more abundance to my family and I than any pay check could ever do. I have found myself again.
Leaving a job after 12 years of service can be hard as fuck! My life was turned upside down. It was difficult to get out of the routines and to not think about tasks that would normally be undertaken at certain situations or referring to the centre as “my work” I had to unlearn and it was a foreign feeling, and I'm still unlearning! The whole process of leaving a job after so long took some time for my system to re-calibrate. It was almost like grieving in a sense. Losing a person (yourself) that was once defined by her job and figuring out who the fuck she is now. I guess my gap year allowed me to do that.
After the upheaval I may still need some time to readjust. I recall my dad left a job after about 15 years and he too went through a period of doing nothing for many months. He just didn't have the energy, he was lost and it took sometime for him to find his feet. I think our energetic selves, the mental and emotional parts of us, need time to re-calibrate such changes and allow time to sort all the feelings, thoughts and insecurities of such a change.
With all the best intentions I wanted my essential oil business to be successful, but during the year I discovered so much about myself as a person and the true passions and knowledge I held, that I realised I am more than an essential oils sales woman and I have far more to give. I have truly become the person that I could only have dreamt of becoming. I have found my inner calling and my divine life purpose and even though I know that all the upheaval was part of my learning, I'm so glad to feel that I am on the right path once more.
I don't care if your 30, 40, 50 or even older... it's OK to not have your life figured out yet. It's OK to just go with the flow and see what life brings up for you, even if that means taking a gap year (intentionally or unintentionally). We all need to time to rediscover ourselves, over and over again throughout our lives and be proud of ourselves for the ability to let go of something when it wasn't feeling right.
What a journey I have mapped for myself! I'd love to know if you have ever experienced an unintentional gap year or experienced something similar after leaving a long term job. Did you find your feet? Do you think your situation worked out better than expected?
DISCLAIMER: I do not take responsibility for anyone that quits their jobs or takes long amounts of leave. Please talk with your partners and/or family and consider whether its financially, (or even emotionally) appropriate for your circumstances.