Scary Things and Other Reasons For Living

In September 2007 I did one of the most frightening things I had yet done in my life. I quit my job.

Sure, I’ve quit jobs before, but this particular job was as tough to leave as a troubled marriage.  I worked as a 911 operator along with a small yet fierce crew of people who were hard enough to hear the county’s most ungodly stories and still soft enough to care. The hours could be horrific and sleep was for the weak. The ghost crew that runs the 911 system (probably everywhere) is little understood and almost never thought about, except of course when you need to dial 911, at which point you’re hardly considering the person answering the phone. Suffice it to say that 911 operators are tough but not brittle, kind but not kum-bay-yah, intelligent, and fueled by dark humor. A worthy crew.

On top of that, the benefits were incredible: health, dental and vision for my entire family; overtime pay; a pension plan. Job security. Cool jackets with our logo emblazoned on the breast.

Unfortunately, it turns out that I need sleep regularly, have a heart as soft as butter, and am hopelessly kum-bay-yah. Somewhere along the line I started to get the idea that maybe I was in the wrong line of work. This may have been when I started having dizzy spells when I pulled into the parking lot. Or maybe it was the migraines. More likely, it was the anxiety that began as a low hum a few years into the job, only to gradually increase to a shriek so loud I could hardly hear over it.

In any case, I eventually knew I had to quit.

And do what, exactly? Well, it turned out that when I finally got the nerve to put the headset down for good, it was to go into a thrilling career as a janitor. I kid, a little. Really, I decided to build up the tiny cleaning business my husband had been running for a few years. It was a huge relief to go from talking hyperventilating soon-to-be widows through CPR, to just pushing a vacuum cleaner. No one dies from a vacuum cleaner.

But that wasn’t the end of the scariness. Oh, no. All that vacuuming gave me time to listen more deeply to my heart. I finally recognized that I wanted more than to just be a nice person; I actually wanted to lay healing hands on people. Talk about kum-bay-yah. No wonder the cops were suspicious of me.

So I decided to study BodyTalk, got certified and started building a practice. To date I’ve done several hundred sessions and witnessed probably fifty out-and-out miracles.

But my pushy little inner angel still isn’t done with me. Now she’s got me going to massage school, building a collection of fiber art pieces for a show at Alley Cats in March, rebuilding my blog habit and taking on some big challenges for 2011 (more on that next time). Will she ever be done with me?

God, I hope not. Because doing scary things is what makes life fun, vital, vigorous. It gets the adrenals going and flushes all those sedentary toxins. I thrive on doing things that are risky–things that expose me, at the very least, to head-wagging and I-told-you-so’s (got a lot of those after leaving the dispatching job, let me tell you).

Security is important. I love the Everett Bogues of the world, traipsing about with their laptops and backpacks, but I have a family, life insurance and a car. I’m all about paying the bills and keeping my Netflix subscription (streaming Netflix. Crack.)

But without the scary side, security rapidly becomes suffocation. Every now and then you just gotta open the windows and throw everything out on the lawn. Get bold. Do what your heart insists upon. Give up the big bucks for the vacuum cleaner…or whatever other unlikely next step is staring you in the eye.

You probably have a pushy angel too. Don’t make her work too hard. She might overcompensate and make you go sky diving.

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~ by robinomayberry on December 27, 2010.

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