Breaking Away

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

34 years of existence and the sheer exhaustion of carrying out the responsibilities that were entrusted to me even before adulthood, finally made me say, "Enough is enough! I deserve a break from everything!" There were days when I could feel the whole weight of the responsibilities on my shoulder and it started manifesting as physical pain. I didn't realize how tightly wound up I was until then.

When the pandemic started and the expenses almost shrank to the bare minimum, everything seems to be going fine. Even though I am grossly underpaid, I was making enough money to support myself and my family. It was enough to make me content. Then the performance appraisal came and I was thinking I was doing alright till then. But of course, they had to give a promotion to a man and I can be the scapegoat. It is the normal procedure in the corporate world. Other than using women leaders in Diversity & Inclusion ads, there is not much use in promoting women in the workplace! Subtle sexism began to kill me slowly and within a few months, I reached my breakdown point.

Work was becoming more and more meaningless and turning up for it seemed to be a chore in those months. Sunday nights were spent thinking about what all things could go wrong in the coming work week and that inevitably resulted in losing sleep. I turned up for work on Monday already exhausted. I believe that showed up in my work too. I would have survived if it was just workload. But it was getting difficult in navigating through the workplace politics and deep down I have always known that I don't have the social skills for making corporate life easy. It was a recipe for disaster.

As someone, who is the only earning member in the family, it was a difficult decision to quit the job without any solid plans. There were job offers with good money. But nothing made me excited. Money cannot be the only factor. The corporate stories will keep on repeating even if I change the organization. There is no respite from that.

The only thing that made my heart sing was the aspect of travel if I can allow myself a break. I mulled over this for countless nights and as I neared the last working day I gained clarity that jumping into another job is going to be a suicide. I didn't want to do that. As I stepped into 2022, I deactivated my job searching profiles and communicated the same to my future prospective employers. Like all the major decisions I took so far in my life, this time also I had the conviction that I am doing it right and I am ready to suffer in the process. That was a huge weight off my chest.

My timing is not perfect. The third wave is looming around in India and my travel plans went for a toss. Nevertheless, I am not disheartened. I knew that I will always find my way through the darkness. A one month stay in a hilly village, not far from my hometown, without any hustle-bustle, is my sort of ideal vacation. I am planning to see sunrise daily, to wander, to pay attention to every bit of beauty that nature has to offer and not to worry about what lies ahead.

"Sometimes the desire to be lost again, as long ago, comes over me like a vapor. With growth into adulthood, responsibilities claimed me, so many heavy coats. I didn't choose them, I don't fault them, but it took time to reject them." - Mary Oliver

And it took me a long time to reject them. I am glad that I am doing this.

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