Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Start of Something New



"And you know it's time to trust the magic of new beginnings".  I greeted the new year with this mantra. Not quite sure if I really believed in it then, but it was more of a pep talk for myself - to keep what little hope I got left in my almost empty cup.  It was more of a wishful thinking for me to never stop dreaming and never stop believing for my miracle.

The past couple of years have been tumultuous  for me.  I felt going on a downward spiral ever since the breakup with MunchK.  I somehow felt that life has never treated me good after that.  I moved from Adelaide to Melbourne seeking for that silver lining.  However, it felt more like an endless tunnel instead. 

That tunnel led me to a workplace circus that really did drain the life out of me.  So hard to work for a company that does not align with my values and business leadership principles. I tried to work it out, thinking I could make a positive influence and change the system.  However, it was me who was slowly being changed.  I was becoming a person that I was not.  Family and friends around me all have said the same thing.  But then I do not need them to tell me.  Because deep in my heart I felt it too.  I was becoming a negative person. A drain.  A pessimist.  A loser. Bruised. Battered. Defeated.  Although I try, or at least pretend, to be joyful and positive - deep in the heart of my hearts, I was dying.  I was like a zombie walking aimlessly waiting for the final end.

This had to stop.

I did not quit my job because how can I manage to pay my bills?   I already felt comfortable in my own living arrangement.  I stayed in a cozy two bedroom apartment on my own, living in a  blue-chip suburb with posh neighborhood, close to the city.  I felt like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City (minus the sex part though). However I also felt like having a some sort of a Devil Wears Prada kind of boss... But then it can't be that bad. I am living and enjoying the lifestyle.  I live in one of the prime suburbs in the world's most livable city.  This is the life! I am living the life.

Am I really? When I go home to my cozy apartment, I cry to myself in frustration.  My lifestyle is very expensive indeed. It is costing me my sanity and my chance of finding happiness.  I was so unhappy that  would be prefer to be in my own company than with friends because I did not want to wear them down.  I shunned meeting new people, potential men, in particular because I felt I was not ready to mingle.  Too much negativity only makes me give off a bad impression. 

When I met the Woodpecker, I was not ready for a relationship.  He was the only guy who persisted in pursuing me.  But that was all he was after.  After the chase ended, he disappeared.  I did manage to put myself back together again.  I have learned to move on and dust him off my life.  But I wanted more than being whole, I wanted to be at peace.

And so for my sanity's sake and my over-all well-being, I decided to let go.  I gave up my lovely apartment of which I lovingly treated as my own.  I sold all that I had for even less than half of the price I bought them for.  It was not an easy decision to make but I made it.  I had to choose between my lifestyle and myself.   Money can be a powerful and brutal master.  I refuse to be enslaved and manipulated by it.  The more I tried to cling on to my expensive lifestyle, the more I pushed myself let go.  It was a dare that I challenged myself upon.  Despite my adverse hesitation to let go, what gives me comfort is that still small voice inside me that tells me that what I am about to lose is nothing compared to what I will gain in the future. Because I know that my life, my sanity, my peace - they are far more worth than the familiar comfortable lifestyle that I have.  

I let go without a concrete battleplan. It was indeed a blind leap of faith.  When I took the plunge, I did not know where it will take me or how deep that jump will be.  I just did.  Because surely nothing can go far more worse than the circus of a workplace that I have employed myself with.  

Our new family business provided me with a good escape route to break away from the circus ring.  So I went home to my hometown and like a dutiful daughter I established the business processes and standards.   I was slowly enjoying and getting used to the life back home.  I was a princess - having everything at my disposal, whilst surrounded by my loving family and friends.... However, something still feels missing.  I am still seeking a bigger adventure.  What could it be?

Then  when someone asked me "what would you do if you knew that you would not fail?"   And the first thing that entered my mind is to go back to Australia.  I feel like I have an unfinished business there.  Going home was like a defeat.  I want to go back and prove to myself that I can conquer Australia.  I am not a loser nor a quitter.  Besides, if it won't work, I always have the family business to fall back on.

I packed my bags and took another one-way ticket back to Australia.  This time, based on past experience, I kept my expectations and most of all my humility low. I never wanted to live with any of my relatives in Australia because of my pride. I wanted to be independent and self sufficient.  But now, I have humbled myself and made myself open to the blessings of others.  I prepared myself for long and winding job hunt.  I was making myself ready to wait on tables, flip burgers even clean toilets - if push comes down to the shove.  I made myself completely, wholeheartedly open to anything that comes along my way.  I prepped myself to embrace the season that I am in - as if I have chosen it for myself, as if I am meant to be there.

This is the job hunting season for me.  Embrace the hunting process.  I rolled up my sleeves and prepared my hands to get dirty, bruised and calloused. 

Just few days after I arrived in Melbourne, a job agent called in for an interview.  Then another couple of days after I was called in for their client  interview. I attended the interview, prepared but at the same time crutched with my past job-hunting baggages, with the mindset to treat this as a practice interview for the long series of job interviews I had to face in the future.  I was used to acing the interviews, feeling like a champion, optimistic that the job is mine for the taking. But only to find out in the end that I was just their second best.  I dod not want to disappoint myself.  I hoped for the best but still prepared for the worst. 

Four hours after the client interview, the job agent rang me.  I knew the standard opening line.  They would start of telling me of how the clients find me - they like and they find me amiable, passionate, smart, etc ... Then the earth-shattering "...but" bomb comes.  I was waiting for that bomb to drop.  However, it never came.  I waited and waited as the agent talked on. Do I now have a hearing problem? Am I now being selectively deaf - as a way of my coping mechanism?    

Then there was a long pause on the phone.  The agent stopped talking.  She was waiting for my response.  I was still waiting for the "...but" bomb.

"They like you.", the agent repeated. "They want you to start in two days time.... Are you still there?", she asked.

I could not believe my ears!  Am I dreaming?  Because if it is, I don't want to wake up!  So before the dream ends I replied, "Yes, of course I will take it and I am ready to report for work in two days time."

When I got home I received my letter of offer and contract from my new employer.

How fast was that? It went so fast, I had to pause to digest everything that happened.  This was the ONLY application I made since I came back.  This was the only interview I attended.  What a difference from before.  It took me months, several applications and tons of rejections before I landed a job.  But now, this?  It feels like it was meant to be. My heart is filled with amazement and gratitude.  Surely, God is at work behind all these.  

Then, suddenly the miracle of new beginnings began to work its magic. 

I am happy now working for a great big company.  It is one of Australia's leading - if not the largest, legal firm in the country.  I see more alignment of my values and business management principles with this company.  I like and I hold high respect for the boss that I am working for.  And he respects me too.  I feel valued and heard.  My opinion matters and they are open to my improvement suggestions.

I am really glad that I took the risk. Looking back now, I cannot believe how I managed to survive working for that circus for almost two years. Whew!  I was walking on eggshells all the time. By letting go of the things that no longer serve my higher purpose, I am being rewarded with the rightful things destined for me.  Had I stayed where I was, I would still be soaking in my miseries, running around in circles in that circus, like a dog chasing after its own tail. At that time when I took the risk of letting go, I had to face some degree of pain. But what kept me going is the knowledge that it would be more painful to live a rotting semi-nonexistent life.

Now, I am much happier and yes I feel alive!  

I harbor no bitterness of my past.  I needed the lessons anyway.  It humbled me.  It taught me to hold a more realistic view in life.  And makes me now appreciate more what I have in life - even the simplest of things.  The timing of events of my life was just enough - not a minute earlier, not a minute too late. Had I stayed longer, it would have been more difficult for me to leave, as things could get more comfortable.  I could grow accustomed to the discomfort.  That could have been my familiar comfort zone - ironically speaking.  Had I left earlier, I would have not been ready and prepared for this new beginning.   

This is the season of new beginnings for me.  Right here, right now. I feel the start of something new for me. This is the start of something beautiful, something amazing. I shall keep my eyes wide open to marvel more of its magic, as it gradually unfolds itself...