Life sets us a challenge

I stood in the doorway, surveying the mess: about to sort and pack years of records in 24 hours.  My first reaction was shock.  Overwhelmed at the task before me, the next reaction was anger.   And finally, standing at the crux of the chaos, I felt sadness for what could have been.

Backstory:  an employee left so it was my job to sort through the ashes.  Literally.  Through the piles. The stacks. The dust. The dead flies and the mouse droppings. ** Cough Cough **.   Out-dated phone books, notes, scraps of paper, stacks in corners, corners unseen.  ** Cough Cough ** A rhythm developed ~ assemble box & lid, open drawer,  breathe, lean in and go.   ** Cough Cough ** The back of my hair, damp with sweat, black dress slacks brown with dust and debris.  Shaking my head at the “no jeans” policy ~ laughing because this was Hazmat worthy.

Sorting, stacking, cleaning, organizing:  Nearly 40 boxes to be shred, garbage cans overflowing and 7 – count ’em 7 – boxes to be moved /re-filed.   A sore back and stiff neck that linger still.

Asked how this could be done so rapidly my answer: “determination fueled by disbelief.”

I’ve recently made some self- care choices that, on the surface, appear inconsequential: I got a personal cell phone.   Next I exported all (18 -ha!) personal contacts from the work phone and moved them to mine.  Then I  deleted those same numbers and any personal apps, too.   Why?  This week reinforced something sobering ~ we are all replaceable.

It’s an adjustment to turn off the work phone Friday evening and not look at it again until Monday. I’m working through it.  Now, it’s the personal phone that accompanies me to the grocery store or out on a date night with hubbs.  And I like that, when checked, there are 2 messages instead of 60. The breathless 60 can wait.

Yes, it’s a small step that’s netting me peace of mind and the separation/boundaries I’ve been craving.

Life does not look back.  Life looks ahead ~ and leaps.


“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”  Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym


What self-care steps have you taken lately?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Forgiveness, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Thoughts, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Life sets us a challenge

  1. After selling my business in 2011, I was retained for a five-year consulting term to help with the transition and to assist those that would likely stay after I left. Unfortunately, my new “supervisor” never got around to selecting a person or two that needed to spend some time tapped into my brain. I repeatedly reminded him that I was in my mid-fifties and should I “wake up dead” tomorrow, there still was no one who knew enough to take over. I was then advised that if that happened, or if I left, they could replace me within a week, for a lot less money and barely miss a beat.

    So noted.

    That’s when I bought my own cell phone and also did some strategic copying of files to CMA. Well, he was surprised when I didn’t ask to renew my contract and that I was leaving. My EA required 90 days notice and even then, they did nothing to facilitate the transition.

    The day I left, (with my personal cell phone info intact) no one had been selected to run what was the only growing segment in this nationwide company. They then had to hire two people and go through a few more before finding “a keeper”

    The company suffered for a while and my supervisor ended up being separated from the company only a few months after I left. It’s funny how sometimes they guy that gets all the credit is the one that knows the least. Eventually, that catches up with you.

    Two years later, the segment has been re-invented and they are finally getting it profitable. Good or bad, I didn’t leave much paper aside from what was really needed and no one had to clear out my desk.

    I don’t know about his, however.

    • Yep. This ^^. it is funny how sometimes the guy who got all the credit is the one best at taking it ~ I’ve lived through that boss, too.
      I’m feeling so much less burdened. Now for a nap 🙂


  2. My ex was a workaholic and that went a long way to destroy the relationship. I often reminded him that it’s a job. Within a year after our split, he left the company. I think it was wanted on both sides. He got another higher level position. That company was bought and he was on the street within a year. At the end of the day, it’s a business. You can put your heart in it but if it’s in the best interest of the company you may find yourself on the street. Good for you!

    • Indeed. I work hard but I’m working hard now at working smarter … it doesn’t need to be all-encompassing unless you let it.
      And the ones always emailing me on Saturdays & Sundays (and weeknights at 10pm + are executives).
      I’m not and don’t want to be. Carving out my own measure of sanity one step at a time.
      thanks Kate!


  3. I feel your pain. Yesterday I was culling my own single file drawer and was exhausted trying to replace myself.😄

    • amen Sister! 🙂 sometimes the home piles can be equally daunting ~ I’ve started culling on a weekly basis and signed up for paperless billing where possible – yaz!!

  4. This one took me back to when I left working for my dad’s construction company many moons ago..I was the foreman on the concrete crew. (felt pretty special and irreplaceable @ the time ) 😉 Took them a couple of days to readjust but not nearly as long as I anticipated. It is like the wake in the water from a boat…it quickly subsides and life goes on. I am glad you are making those persona/ vs business choices….doesn’t seem like small stuff to me. Good stuff. DM

    • Thank you; agree, it is good to see the lesson in the activity and feel the pinch where it really resonates, right?

      thank you for your comments, always appreciated DM!


  5. Sounds like that was quite a JOB. But that quote is so true: no matter how much we give of our self to a job, we could quickly be replaced.
    Good for you on the cell phone reorganization!

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