The Hypocrite’s Guide to Life

There’s a risk in writing and sharing your thoughts publically on a blog – you have a record of everything you’ve said. And if you are like me, and do everything you said you would never do, then you have a breadcrumb trail of espoused certainties leading right to your hypocritical doorstep.

Over the past three months, I embarked on a laundry list of things that I said I would never do:

I would never leave my job now, I love it!

I resigned and accepted a new job.

 I can’t see myself working at The Cleveland Orchestra.

 Said new job is at The Cleveland Orchestra.

 I would never live anywhere else but this neighborhood. I don’t want to ever sell my house again.

 We sold our house in 5 days.

 People who live in Shaker Heights, Ohio are crazy to pay all those high taxes!

 We bought a house in Shaker Heights.

 I would never pull my kids out of school and make them change districts mid-year.

We moved in December and had the kids start their new school a week before winter break.

I’m at risk of having to eat nearly every word I’ve typed.

In the midst of my upheaval, a friend made a comment that gave me some serious pause.  “So I guess everything you wrote about having enough is not true anymore” she remarked.  I hadn’t thought about that post in a while, but there it was in front of me.  I had dropped the mic some time ago with a deep post about enough being the new abundance. You are welcome to read it here. At that time, I had quieted my tendency to compare myself to others by focusing on having and being enough rather than needing more or less. It was quite freeing.

I stand by that post. In fact, it was the concept of enough that led me to make all of these really big decisions in such a short amount of time.  I saw it coming…I just didn’t know that it would all happen at once.  I no longer had enough.

Enough time with my kids.  

I didn’t have it.  I love my career, I love my family and I was determined to do both.  What was standing in my way of more time was my commute. From door to door, I was booking nearly an hour each way and as the kids became more active, my husband started to shoulder more and more of the childcare burden.  I couldn’t pick them up when they were sick – too far. I couldn’t pop into school to volunteer without taking a half day of PTO.  If an activity started before 6:30pm, I was sliding in at the last minute, still in heels trying to act as if I had been there all along.  I wasn’t giving them enough of me.  And I didn’t have enough of them.

Enough diversity in my career. 

After nearly five years of major gift fundraising at a large hospital system, I began to realize that I was timing out. It wasn’t for the lack of interesting work – there was plenty.  It was more that the type of work was very focused and I began to crave more texture in my day-to-day. I also took a hard look at my resume and realized that the content was exclusively healthcare. I wasn’t quite 40, so it was difficult to predict what experience and skills I may need in the future.  There was a lot of career ahead of me and as I was soul searching, I decided that my next move should add some diversity to my resume. An opportunity to take a position within the arts was just the chance I was looking for.  The job itself was a larger role, multi-faceted with leadership responsibilities, and was the perfect marriage of all of my experiences. More importantly, the opportunity was at The Cleveland Orchestra and it unleashed a part of me I had suppressed for some time – the creative, music-loving me that was collecting dust along with my piano at home. I felt a renewed energy creeping back as I interviewed for the job.

And then everything I said I would never do happened within 24 hours…

I have this skill of positioning my life like chess pieces so that one move initiates a string of others.  I can feel it when the universe starts to bubble with impending change and I become consumed with listening and looking for what move I should make. How did I know it was time?  The cat died.

Not kidding – that’s what put everything in motion.  The universe does not hand us obvious clues…they are subtle.  And when our cat died without notice, I felt like a world of possibility was in front of me.  I could not have told you in August what that meant, but as we were mourning our cat I couldn’t ignore this sense of freedom I was feeling.  One less thing in my life to be responsible for left room to fill it up with something new.

Still not realizing what was ahead of us, my husband and I started to take more of an interest in our house.  I slowly suggested we make small improvements throughout the month of September because something deep down was telling me it was time.   I knew we were heading down the path when we replaced the kitchen faucet.  Just like the cat, it was the next chess piece that was setting up my chain of change.

I place the blame for what happened next squarely on my husband.  He shops the Sunday real estate listings “just for fun”. You would think after being married to me for 14 years that he would understand the risk in this. One morning in late September, he showed me a house that had just come on the market in Shaker Heights. It was brick.  It was center hall colonial.  It was in our price range. It was close to work.  IT WAS MY DREAM HOUSE.  Fast forward two weeks and our house was on the market. Good thing we replaced the faucet and did some other improvements so that we could leap at a chance to have this house. And good thing the cat was dead because he would not have transitioned to a new house well (long story about the relationship between the cat and the dog).

All the moving parts came together in the same 24 hours in early October.

  • I was offered the position at The Cleveland Orchestra
  • I accepted and resigned from my position
  • We accepted an offer on our house
  • Our offer was accepted on the new house

And just like that, everything I said I would never do was exactly what I needed to do.

I’m writing this from our new house, certain that this was the right choice not just for me but for our family.  Despite much of the initiation of this change coming from me, the decisions were made with input from my husband and from our boys. They were made swiftly but with care – that’s pretty much how we make decisions.  Rather than let these ideas languish and remain “what ifs”, we explore them deeply but quickly, commit and move on.

I am a serial hypocrite.  Readers beware.  I encourage everyone to think about all the things you tell yourself you will never do.  It’s possible that some of those are things that you very well should do.  What is it that’s holding you back? Maybe it’s timing.  Maybe you need to wait until your cat dies.  Maybe you just need to listen a little more closely to yourself and take the next opportunity that comes your way. Nothing is off the chain of possibility if you ask me.

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