There were several reasons actually. It started with a TV writing course I took in mid-October. I felt so inspired and enthusiastic just sitting in that classroom talking about all things TV with the instructor that I started actively thinking about ways I could get away from my "day job." Then Hurricane Sandy happened, and it was horribly mismanaged by my bosses, which I was tangibly able to compare to the superior tactics of the cooking store managers. And then the hospital visit happened.
In the hospital, my roommate was a feisty, elderly woman who had stage four cancer. She'd lived in New York her whole life and was a maven in the fashion industry back in the '80s. She had been a model, and then she managed to shift into the business side when her looks "faded." She was still a beautiful woman, who was clearly in a lot of chronic pain when I met her. In between complaining about the nurses, she would throw me a morsel of serious wisdom every couple of hours. One of those nuggets was to make sure I didn't throw away my 30s chasing my career. *gulp* How did she know?!
Basically my takeaway from that experience was that I really wasn't doing anything to build up my own life at that moment. I was slaving away at a job that I absolutely loathed. And I'd been doing that for four years fooling myself into believing it would get better if I worked harder. Truth is, it never did. It just kept getting worse. I'd tried to like it for four long years, and while I liked living in New York City, it wasn't enough to spend most of my time at a job that literally made me dread going to bed at night b/c waking up meant I had to go to work. At some point, a person has to call the game and move on. And the universe was clearly sending me some strong signals to get out fast.
So I set a deadline. I was going to resign on Dec. 3 no matter what. I wanted to have the holidays to relax a bit and then start 2013 fresh. I had been interviewing for other jobs off and on over the past couple of years, but things never seemed to work out quite right. At the advice of a career counselor, I started asking around about freelance projects, and the Tuesday before my deadline, two projects landed in my lap. I felt freedom was near, and I suddenly had the confidence to hand in my resignation on my scheduled date!
Things never work out exactly as planned, and my bosses convinced me to stay on through the holidays (which resulted in one freelance gig completely disappearing, much to my horror.) But working the holidays at my old gig is usually low-key and not entirely unpleasant, so I stuck it out till the end of 2012. As one freelance gig disappeared, another one materialized just before Christmas (let's call it a Saturnalia miracle!), and I am happy to say that I start training over there on Monday.
Unfortunately, I didn't have very many days off to relax as this week was full of running to different offices all over Manhattan to fill out paperwork, etc, but I did manage to do a lot of organizing. I bought and sold some furniture, I cleaned out my closets and drawers, and I gave a crap ton of stuff away to Goodwill. I even spent some quality time with my mother who's been visiting for the holidays. I celebrated both the start of 2013 and leaving my job with some close friends from grad school. I spend New Years Day night at a Joseph Arthur concert without the worry that I would have to wake up the next morning at 4am to go to work!
As 2013 begins, I feel hopeful and happy for the first time in many years. I am training at a new place this week, and then I head off on a seven-day cruise to Tortola, Antigua, and San Juan with two of my favorite girlfriends. I come back to NYC for a few days, and then I am heading out to Park City, Utah for Sundance (and I am also doing some consulting work while I am out there.) So it's going to be a busy month, and I pray that some work for Feb lines up while all this is going on. I can't imagine it won't. I've not felt this secure in a very long time. Wish me luck guys! And may 2013 be amazing for all of us!