Today I sit alone in the peaceful quiet of the morning. A warm cup of coffee, the rich aroma of French Vanilla creamer, and the sweet soprano of a bird’s song sweep over my soul as a blessed trinity. This morning is a new day, and I am truly grateful for it.
My reality of two days ago was a different story.
Deadlines for school had come and gone. My husband was in the midst of training and orientation for his new job. The children are out of school, and the question of what to do with three active children when this was supposed to be a summer of “stay-cations” and relaxation had still yet to be answered. I worried about family members’ and my health (I’m a diabetic). Above all else, I had a (brief) job that I no longer enjoyed in an organization I no longer understood.
As an MBA student entranced by organizational studies, this would become the single most straw that broke this overreaching camel’s back (here is where I insert a business student analogy):
In order for an organization to function efficiently, systems must operate with clearly defined parameters.
Definition of roles, clarity of expectations, and realistic approaches to set goals is vital to survival. Whether your organization is a corporation, a community, a family, or an individual, you need to have a system. If the system is broken (or never existed in the first place), you will find yourself in the midst of chaos.
And this is where I was. Two days ago.
So I stopped.
Sometimes, the hardest thing for us to do is stop. Just pump (or slam on) the breaks and stop. Is it a woman thing? An American thing? A thirty something racing against a career/relationship/lifestyle milestone thing? For me, it was all the above. And I had to end some things, willingly and unwillingly.
Some choices were made for me: The job ended.
Some choices I made of my volition: I withdrew from my summer classes (with a month left in the semester).
Some choices hurt me to my core: I ended a few relationships, personally and professionally.
Some choices were long overdue: I stopped worrying about what I couldn’t control.
And some choices reminded me that life is meant to be enjoyed: I slept a little longer in the morning, cooked breakfast for my children, and took midafternoon swims. I snuggled down at night next to my husband instead of spending hours in front of the computer surrounded by school books and articles.
I shut down the system I had in place and began the process of writing a new one. The chaos that we call “a lot going on” is the perfect opportunity to be still and observe what life just might be trying to tell us. From chaos comes creation. From chaos comes endings, and at the same time, new beginnings.
And this is the pattern of life. We are not always up, nor are we always down. We experience episodes of great expansion and even greater contraction. It’s painful at times, and scary. Uncertainty always is. But like the birth of a child, with each expansion and contraction comes a great gift. The pain, ultimately, is worth it.
(Here is where I insert another business student analogy. I need to make these tuition dollars count!):
Organizations experience a life cycle, with a birth, an adolescence, maturity, and death. When management is able to make positive changes to the system, they are able to maximize outputs.
Failure to do so results in stillborn results.
(That last line? All me.)
At the end of the day, you always find yourself repositioned for a new beginning. Today, I choose to fully honor that truth.
The early bird’s morning song has ended, and the buzz of a city awake has begun. I could get dressed and rush out to face the day. Instead, I choose… to begin my second cup of coffee.