This morning I sort of did the walk of shame. I trained on a drawbridge that I had worked on for years, but had left two years ago to completely change my life. After working on this beautiful little bridge since 2001, I realized that as much as I love the job, there was no future in it. Lousy pay, worse benefits, and absolutely no chance of advancement.
So I sold my house, quit my job, left a 16 year relationship, moved 3 ½ hours south and got a degree in Dental Laboratory Technology and Management. I graduated with honors and applied to 198 labs throughout the US and Canada, and had no luck at all. So now I’m back where I started, doing what I’ve always done, but now I’m paying twice as much rent as I paid in mortgage, and I’m teetering on the brink of homelessness.
Now, in the movies when people make such a radical change, their life changes, radically. And frankly, that’s what I was expecting. There’s no real life primer on what to do when you gamble and lose and are right back where you started from. It’s quite humbling. Actually, it’s a crushing blow.
On the way to work today, knowing I was going to be training with my same old coworker for my same old job, I was wondering how I’d feel. Would I be getting smug looks? Would I be depressed?
Actually, as I walked up the bridge, I was surprised to discover that I felt really good. It was like coming home. I really always did enjoy working there. And it was like I’d never left. But as the shift wore on, I realized that I hadn’t come full circle, after all. I had changed. The bridge had changed. It had been modernized. It was different.
This was the bridge operating console before I left.
This is the same room now.
So instead of coming full circle, I had come full spiral. A tight spiral, granted, but I wasn’t exactly where I used to be, emotionally or structurally. I’m older, I hope I’m wiser, and the things that used to upset or worry me seem trivial now.
I think maybe I did get something out of going to school besides a third worthless degree. I think I learned that I can roll with the punches, and that nothing in life is as permanent as I once thought, and that, oddly enough, is a good thing. Once you figure out that change is survivable, a lot of your anxieties disappear. It’s really quite liberating.
So here I am, yet again. The “here” is still here, but the “I” is someplace else entirely. It’s all good.