All these moments of our lives
Of the flickering of an endless sea
~~ Duran Duran, “Salt in the Rainbow”
Sometimes at night, before I go to bed, I write a few things in this little journal I have, one that has various prompts and questions. It’s obviously designed for teenage girls (“What is the best thing your crush ever said to you?” Seriously?), but there are still some interesting questions in there, ones that make me think. One that I answered tonight was something about if you could change a year of your life, what year would it be, and why?
Oddly enough, I was just thinking about that exact thing earlier in the day. For some reason, a previous job popped into my head and I was transported back to that time and reminded all over again of what a crummy experience it was. It wasn’t just one year, either...it was a good couple of years.
I was in my late thirties and had left Indianapolis and my Microbiology job there to move back home (for a reason I’ll mention in a moment). I was around my family again, and that was a good thing. However, I quickly found out that beyond the significant pay cut I took in my new job, it was tedious and utterly boring laboratory work, completely unrewarding, and my boss was, to use the words of the used car customer in “Fargo,” a fucking liar. It was a miserable experience, and when the jerk finally fired me, it was a relief.
After the initial shock wore off, I felt liberated. I had already applied to what would be my final job, got an interview, got an offer, and started work there three weeks later. I try not to regret too many things in my life and try to chalk it up to experience gained, but man, what a mistake to get into something that wasn’t Microbiology or wasn’t even clinical laboratory work. Manufacturing lab work was just not a good fit for me. I missed the patient connection and I missed the interaction with doctors trying to figure out what was going on with their patients. I missed being a part of that and I missed feeling like I was making a difference for patients.
To add to my misery of that time, the reason I’d moved back here was a relationship. I won’t say a lot about that here, other than that on top of the job from hell, I was in the relationship from hell. It truly was a miserable couple of years for me and I was happy to break away from all of that and find my Happy Place™. Since I wasn’t in a genuine relationship for a while after being the dumpee (the job) and the dumper (the relationship), it was something that I found on my own, and that’s the best way to find it.
So would I change those years if I could? Yeah, probably...but you always have to be careful when fucking with the space-time continuum. I’m not happy with my decisions at the time, but if I hadn’t made them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have met Ken, and I wouldn’t be enjoying life in my town, near my family, and at Nutwood Junction. I think it’s very easy to say that you regret something but it’s a little harder to say, “Okay, that sucked, but I own my decision. In the end, everything worked out okay,” and to really mean it. I’m happy that it worked out okay for me.
If I stop to think about the lessons learned, it would probably be 1) don’t make rash decisions and do give things time to work themselves out. If I had waited a little longer on the relationship thing before moving up here, I would have realized that I was swimming into dangerous waters. I’m talking sharks and riptide levels. Man O’ War and Vibrio vulnificus levels. And 2) if something doesn’t feel right, whether in your personal or professional life, start examining it and questioning WHY. It’s okay to take some time to try to figure it out, but don’t dally too long. I was already looking for another job when I got fired from that one, and I was already starting to realize that my personal situation was unhealthy on many levels by the time I said, “Enough.”
But if you asked me if I wish I could have those couple of years back? I’d be lying if I said no.