April 19, 2013

Raising The Old Anchor.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. 
Steve Jobs

These days my mind keeps retuning to a time in my past, more than two decades ago. I was working at a university laboratory, fresh out of school, on the second year of my employment. Only twenty two years old, I enjoyed my life and the infinite, undefined future that laid ahead.

The laboratory had many members, anything from students and senior researchers to professors. Two of these were senior lab analysts, my colleagues - jovial, kind women, to whom I turned with questions and problems, when I was still very insecure in my profession and held very little experience in the science field. At that time, they have been employed there, at the same place, for over twenty years. I recall my infinite incomprehension of this fact. To me that time span accounted for a whole life time and the idea of being at the same location for such an eternity felt absolutely unimaginable. Indeed, about three years later, I left for the US, to work with my current employer.

Thus today, however outrageous that idea once seemed, I am exactly in their shoes, having worked for the same laboratory for twenty one years. There has been one relocation, the one that took me to Denmark, when my employer decided to go back home - but overall, I have been educated, trained and directed by the same man almost my whole professional life.

He brought out the hidden talents in me, gave me the opportunities to use my imagination and my skills and established an environment for me where I could thrive and flourish, excelling in the field of science with an incredible speed and endless success. He turned my work into my life and together with his wife, the couple became my best friends, a substitute family to a young girl far away from home. They became people I could - and still can today - count on one hundred percent to be there for me, should I ever need it.

Today I am one of the senior analysts in the lab.
I know where everything is, how everything works, as I am partly responsible for the overall running of the place. It is to me the young students turn with their troubles and problems. I am free to do whatever I like, I take days off at my fancy and decide my working hours. My work has always been the only constant in my life, something safe and secure. No matter how much my personal life changed, my professional life never did.

And yet, we all know that nothing ever stays the same, no matter how much we want - or expect it to. Along the way in life we make decisions that take us on novel paths, setting us on journeys that defy our world.
Thus all the choices I made in recent years in my private life slowly caused changes in my line of work as well, without me even noticing. At the onset, they were only ripples on the surface, but in time it became painfully apparent to me that the place of my employment, the one that has been my secure shelter and a solid anchor my whole adult life, has sadly played out its role...

In two weeks I will start a new job, for the first time in two decades. The emotion that encompass my being when I think about that fact is a wild mix of joy and fear.
There are days when I feel excited and happy about the prospect of a new start. I will still work in the research field, but my long commute will be cut by two hours every day, giving my personal life more freedom. However, the new position comes with responsibilities and a firm promise of hard work. I can not even recall any longer how it feels to work for someone else than my friend and my mentor and I wonder all the time whether I will be able to take direct orders from someone new - and whether he will find me competent in my skills.

Thus there are days when I wake up with a knot in my stomach, riddled with profound fear and anxiety, absolutely terrified and full of regrets. It feels as if I am to leave home again, for the first time since I was twenty, leaving my family for good, knowing I will miss them terribly.
I have made many outrageous changes in my life, but never before have I been so apprehensive about altering anything as I am today.

Somewhere deep within though, in the core of my very being, I know that I need to take this step, however scary it might seem. I need to say my thanks and my farewells and set out sailing anew.
I expect nothing and am prepared for everything, knowing hardship is linked to every change and things might get a lot worse before they get better. Yet hardship is what makes us grow and flourish, experiences have taught me that.
I believe that worst life is life lived with fear and I refuse to let fear of the unknown prevent me from embracing the very beauty of it. I try very hard to remember my own personal belief stating that change is what fuels our reality - I hope I will never get too scared to realize that.

Thus I have decided to raise my old anchor, the one that is rusty and buried in the depth of the sea, not having been moved for a very long time - a life time it seems. Yet the ship is still sail worthy and the ocean is open wide, thus lets sail into the unknown one more time.
I am confident that great adventures await.

Images: Photobucket


Rowan said...

This is a big step to take - I wish you well on your new adventure. I'm sure that the extra hours gained from a shorter journey to work will be welcome giving you more time and freedom in your life at home. Good luck.

Ines said...

Darling Zuzana,

I just read the book "You can create an exceptional life" by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson. You will love it and it will take all your fears. I swear to positive affirmations. They help me to take all negative thoughts out of my brain.
A good time to say your affirmations is while running.

Maybe ist will help you to breath out all fears and having good feelings.

I think of you and I pray that you will have a good and positive change!

Love, Ines

Elizabeth said...

What a perfect post Sweety, so eloquent and to the point. Just remember your new boss is the lucky one, he gets a chance to work with you!

Have a marvellous weekend with your handsome husband.

Catherine said...

That is a brave decision Zuzana and I wish you all the very best in your new job. It is always difficult to leave the old and familiar, but as you say, doing so is the way to grow and change. The extra time for your personal life will be much appreciated too. Good luck x

Anonymous said...

Oh, I understand how you feel. Must be very scary and yet exciting. And just think how wonderful it will be not to have to commute so far. Your mentor will always be there for you as your friend.

A Lady's Life said...

Nothing to be afraid about sweetie.
Just go on in and be yourself.
Always see it in terms of moving forward, learning new things,meeting new people and remember they hired you because they liked what they saw.
If they thought you didn't fit in, they wouldn't consider it. There are sooo many people looking for jobs today.
So don't feel insecure. You are good and everything will be fine. :)

Kath said...

Nothing is an important as your happiness with your darling husband and your new family and this change can only be for the good. Be brave, you can do it xx

Unknown said...

another great adventure. change is hard but then it becomes the norm. piece of cake for you! good luck in your new job.

Julie Hibbard said...

Eight years ago I did the same thing...and I am SO very happy that I made the change! I learned things that I never knew existed!! I found out how smart I was! How flexible I AM! How much I LOVE learning!
Good Luck Sweet Friend!!
I am proud of you!!

Hilary said...

You'll do great, Z. You have a knack of landing on your feet no matter the challenge. Best of luck!

Linda said...

What a brave move. I have confidence you will excel!

Unknown said...

Zuzana: I agree with Hilary's statement! This will work out well! xoxoxo! :D)

swenglishexpat said...

Anchor awaaaayyyy!! Just go for it, new wind in your sails, look to the horizon! It sounds very exciting. Good luck, and at the end of the next twenty-year period you will be my age! Lol :-)

Anonymous said...

Zuzana: thank you for this extremely inspirational post!

I too must lift my anchor and also
realize that a certain chapter of a career is over and move on embracing the gifts I have.

Thank You!!!

Anonymous said...

I am excited for you in taking on a new adventure. Just think of the new friends that you will make, that you wouldn't be meeting if you didn't make the change. And think of all the things you can do with the extra 2 hours a day. It will be nice to have more time to spend with your family and in your new home.
This reminds me of these lyrics from a beautiful song 'Bluebird" by Sara Bareilles
"This pair of wings worn and rusted,
From too many years by my side.
They can carry me, swear to be,
Sturdy and strong but see,
Turning them on still means goodbye".
And remember, my friend, that with every goodbye comes a new hello : )

Rahul Bhatia said...

Wishing you the very best in new endeavor!

Marie Kléber said...

My dear Zuzana, I can only imagine how scary this new adventure is for you, but you are right don't let the fear takes hold of your life. You will manage well and it's true for everything "after hardship there is ease".
I wish you all the best on this new journey and may you soon find peace in your job.
Take care - sweet thoughts.

Amanda Summer said...

Wow. This is a huge step in life, Zuzana. Many blessings to you as you move into a new phase - I salute your courage to change your life completely and try something new. We Cancerians are so rooted that it is very difficult for us to change, so I empathize with your feelings, but I also resonate with your decision to move past fear and not let it stop you from embracing the new. For it is in doing that we find the true measure of ourselves and the happiness and satisfaction of exploring our own creative drive. I believe that when we take 1 step towards the Universe, it takes 2 towards us.

Strength, courage and love,



bright star said...

Wow Zuzana what a big change! I am sure you will be great in your new job. That travelling must have been a strain and you now have a family to spend time with. lots of love Angela x

Betsy Brock said...

Well, that is all very exciting! I can appreciate your apprehension but you know deep down that is will be a good move...shorter commute, new people, ..and Zuz..they will LOVE you! You will bring wisdom and expertise and your lovliness to their workplace. How wonderful for them and you! :)

And on another note..you know I like to make jewelry. I just this week bought some tiny bottles and compasses to make some necklaces. I thought of ships in a bottle, but a little message like in your photo would be lovely! So, thank you for the idea! :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Anchors away-- Happy sailing my friend.
Change is scary but I'm sure you will soar at your new position and they will welcome you with open arms. And an extra 2 hours in your day-- Fabulous. That is a nice bonus.
xo jj

Rajesh said...

Wish you great success in new job. The first job change is always difficult. I changed my first job after 12 years..

SandyCarlson said...

I hope your new job is a dream for you. Good for you for stepping up and out! That is great. You are an inspiration.

Zuzana said...

Dear friends, thank you all so very much for your very kind and encouraging words, I found solace in all your substantial and poignant comments and your well wishes and thoughts are very much appreciated.:)
xoxo <3

adrielleroyale said...

Oh how wonderful!! I have been wanting to do the same for quite some time though I have only been with my company for 7years! But that is a whole other story... I hope you love it at the new job and that you have a fantastic boss who will treat you well :)