2017 is a year of new beginnings for me in more ways that one.
Last week I wrapped things up at the organization where I’ve been working since last May. I was taking advantage of an opportunity to work somewhere else, take on different responsibilities and gain experience that I couldn’t get where I was. It was quite the ride and I’m very grateful for the challenges, the lessons, and the team that welcomed me (like really welcomed me). I worked hard, I laughed, I struggled, I grew…. and I felt very appreciated, professionally and personally, by those around me along the way. It wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely rewarding.
Tomorrow, I go back to my former agency. The place where I’ve worked since (and during) my undergraduate studies. I’ll be re-integrating into a team and organization that I know well… but I’ll be starting a new job, taking on a new role, with different responsibilities.
When I left last May, I was nervous, but that seemed normal. While I’d taken on development opportunities before and have consistently welcomed new challenges throughout my career, this was really the first time I was stepping outside the world that I knew. Outside my comfort zone. It was hard to leave.
And at the time, I shared this quote on Instagram:
You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place (. . .) like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.
-Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran.
As I head back, it’s kind of like going home. Yet, even though I’m excited, I’m a little nervous too. I can’t help but think about this quote again. It rings so true. Over the last 8 months (and probably over the last 5 years) I have grown significantly. I have changed. I’m not the same person. Maybe it’s my 30s, maybe it’s life experiences (it’s probably both), but I’ll never be that person again. And that’s okay. That’s good. That’s life.
Both my professional and personal experiences, particularly since last spring, have broken, tested and challenged me. They’ve also nourished, built and grown me. They’ve made me question who I am… who I really am. And I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I’m capable of, where my strengths lie… how to overcome some of my weaknesses… what serves me and what doesn’t. I think I’ve even finally embraced the fact that I am the only one who gets to decide “who” I am… and that while feedback is important, not all feedback is relevant, founded or valuable. I may still be learning to accept that not everyone is going to like me, but I am more comfortable with and confident in myself than I’ve ever been – strengths and weaknesses… qualities and flaws. This is who I am. And I love who I am.
So as I head back to familiar faces, surroundings and projects; as I begin the process of learning my new job and re-acquainting myself with a great team; I am mindful about not slipping back into “who I was”, but bringing the lessons that I’ve learned with me. I will remain open to learning, stretching and growing in this next chapter, but I’m stepping forward with a measure of gentleness and a desire to settle in, live in the moment and truly enjoy and appreciated how far I’ve come and all that has been built this past year these past years.
(And I’ll definitely make the most of the extra 45 minutes or so that I’ll be saving in transportation every day!)
I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m ready.