Finding My Liberty

Liberty will always be on my mind, even when she's in my rear-view mirror.

Last week was one for the record books. After months of seemingly stagnant nowhereness, I suddenly felt motion in several directions at once. Of course, not all in the same direction. That would be too easy, and that’s not how life changes. Not at all. I was so lost in the sudden onrush of it all, I couldn’t write here, though I kept opening up my computer, full of intent.

My son.
My career.
My location.
My boyfriend.
My future.
My me, my self, my being.

There were big shifts in all of the above. My son got into a private school that knows how to handle his ADHD. I should have felt relieved and certain. Instead, I felt a further heaviness land in my chest, ambiguous and unclear. I had lunch with a friend to talk about my plans for making career transition; she shed serious doubt on my plans to be embraced by a new industry (the one she’s worked in for decades), reminding me that the field is flooded with talent because so many people are out of work. I received a bank statement, that showed me that my money is running out (more than) a bit faster than I thought. And then, a huge hideous, horrible event (that I feel terrible even placing in a list such as this, because I don’t want to diminish it): my boyfriend was held up, at gunpoint, right outside our home, in our safe, fancy, “best in New York City” neighborhood. Devastating. Unsettling. As in, moving me from feeling settled… Unseating me. Uprooting me. Reminding me that where I feel secure I am not necessarily secure.

Pause.

Okay, universe. I’m listening.

It’s time to go.

New York City, I’ve loved you so. It’s been a fantastically rewarding, thrilling 21 years. But I’m done with you, and you, it seems are done with me.

And I’m ready. I’m terrified. Absolutely terrified. But I feel a calm, quiet certain in my middle, that tells me I’m heading toward the next me I’m supposed to be.

In my months of confusion about what I should do next (“do” meaning how I should earn a living), I wrote myself a mission statement to try to clarify for myself what mattered most to me. Instead of coming up with a job description, I found something bigger:

I want to take all my life and professional experiences, and use them to help other people manage life’s disappointments and heartbreak and turn them into wisdom.

And as I size up leaving New York City, leaving the corporate professional realm, leaving a city filled with insistent demands and clanging happenstance (which I loved for so long), leaving the land of eternal possibility, I see this: by narrowing my options and my choices, I will be able to focus on my mission. I will lead myself to a place in my heart where I accept that this is worthy work, and that it is what I was meant to do (which I’ve believed for many years, but have only uttered aloud to my dearest friends). It all seemed too pompous and overreaching to dare to say out loud. But I will say it aloud. I will trust my heart and my gut and my instincts. I will finally give over toward living life by my principles instead of my goals. I will walk ever more closer to the person I want to be. I will dare the naysayers. I will find my place. I will believe.

I felt instantly lighter, as if I’d been set free. But the truth is, I was always free. (We all are always that free.) I just wasn’t yet ready to step out of the cage of security I’d built so carefully with my own bare hands, even so long after the security I thought I’d created had stopped carrying me.

That security lasted its own due time, my certainty came to me in its own due time. The knowledge of the world unfolds in its own due time. We humans are the ones who look at the clocks and the calendars and wonder when the wisdom will come in, but lucky for us, the universe is eternally patient, living its seasons and waiting for us to open our eyes and see.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, former magazine editor (last at Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. I'm still searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after a series of very jarring losses: a divorce and house disaster that led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece); a week after the book came out, my parents suddenly fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and, apparently, my career), my son went into crisis, my parents then rapidly died four weeks apart, and my boyfriend (who had moved in with me and my son just weeks before the book came out) began the painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolded on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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12 Responses to Finding My Liberty

  1. Al Bacon says:

    Good for you, Stacy. It occurs to me that perhaps you should read – or reread – about Plato’s cave since I thought about that while reading this. It seemed to fit you here.

  2. Lesley Quitmeier Palmer says:

    Stacy, enjoy life outside of New York. I certainly have—although it was a struggle to make the decision between love and career. Mentally, physically, and spiritually, I couldn’t have made a wiser choice. Hope it brings you as much calm as it has me.

  3. Lindsey says:

    Wow … bravo. I think it’s both incredibly important and deeply difficult to be open to the universe’s messages, and it sounds as though you are here … can’t wait to see what’s next for you all. xox

  4. The “cage of security” built with your own bare hands. Ah yes.

    Freedom is thrilling and terrifying. But it sounds like you’re ready to soar.

  5. Jenny Douglas says:

    Here’s the whispered message that came to me while reading your heartfelt words above, Stacy:

    The universe is works its way though you. Let it take the time it takes.

    Even though you’re being brought to your knees–indeed, because you’re being brought to your knees–you’re in a position of receptivity like never before. Be very still and very, very patient, have great trust, and listen….

    Follow, follow. I’m excited for you.

    Much love,
    me

  6. Shaiza says:

    Good luck and I will miss you! I found your book three weeks after moving to NYC and it helped me immeasurably. Thank you for being you, and please please please keep sharing.

  7. Libby says:

    Once again, beautifully constructed thoughts.

  8. Melissa Cox says:

    Congratulations! I’m just reading a book by Nancy Johnston called Disentangle; when you’ve lost Your Self in Someone Else. That could also apply to anything that holds you. Reading your posting reminded me that finding and holding on to
    your self is the core of being disentangled. Bravos to you!

  9. George B says:

    Stacy – we have not met, so I can’t say I know you. Thanks to your willingness and ability to share the details of your life in your book and your blogs, however, I can truthfully say that I know a great deal about you. Never stop believing that there is a reason and a purpose for everything you have been through, and for this crossroads where you find yourself now. When it becomes impossible to see this, just keep reminding yourself that your story is not completely written just yet. I look forward to reading the next chapter.

    For what it’s worth, I believe in you, as I’m sure most (if not all) of your readers do also. Your strength and fearless introspection continues to inspire…

    – G

    PS – you have my deepest condolences and sympathies for the anniversaries you have remembered these past weeks. The grieving process does not simply pass with time – it takes seasons.

  10. team gloria says:

    dearest S

    We had a sudden vision of us all converging for a blissful summer sojourn in some far off glorious farmhouse with tons of rooms and white linens blowing gently at the french windows overlooking lavender fields with sage and rosemary growing in pots at the kitchen door – so many gorgeous souls from all over the world – most of us had endured the sniper fire of midtown manhattan but emerged stronger (and certainly enjoying our careers as they unfolded with that kind of a credential and credibility behind us but not the daily grind of high heels, high drama and long hours of frustration)

    And we raise a glass of elderflower crushed into pellegrino and – just for a second – smile at the memory of NYC before gazing back at the view over Provence

  11. Pingback: Checking off the boxes | Filling In The Blanks

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