Not This

I sat at my cold glass dining table under the glaring white lights, long into the cold of the night, writing a list of pros and cons with trembling hands. Earlier in the evening I had spent time debating with myself, praying to (more like screaming at) God, speaking with my roommate and crying endlessly. 


I was torn to pieces. 


I had thought - only a year and a half earlier - that I had found the perfect job.


Boy was I wrong.


As Elizabeth Gilbert says,

"Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly...which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place."


How many of us have ended up in this "bad place"? Face down. Exhausted. At the bottom. Feeling like you just HAVE to make a change. There is no more waiting.


Well I certainly did in 2014.


Not only did my situation end up less than ideal, it had turned toxic. 


It frankly wasn’t good for me: emotionally, physically (stress) or spiritually. 


Did I have any idea what I was going to do next? 




Did I have a Plan B? 




Did I have any idea how this decision would alter the future?




But did I know I had to leave?




It was a deep, gut wrenching sense of 




My heart, mind, body, soul - every part of me was screaming 




I had to get out. 


So I did.


By the end of that evening - before I even went to bed - I had a resignation letter drafted and ready to go for the morning. 


And I felt peace.


Yes I was terrified. I had no idea what I was going to do. And I absolutely did not want to leave my home - Cape Town, South Africa prematurely.


I was risking my entire life. The life I had spent so much time, heart and soul building. This decision could destroy it all in a moment.


Regardless of that, I knew the decision had to be made.


I had already waited too long. I had had that unmistakable sinking feeling after only a few months and had decided to hang on even as everything started slipping out of control.


I knew that even with the terrifying prospect of not knowing what was next, or how this decision would change things - that staying in my home would become increasingly difficult without a miracle - I absolutely had to listen to that gut feeling screaming, NOT THIS - because anything was better than where I found myself.


So when the moment came, I handed over my resignation letter without regret.


I knew I had done the right thing. And only relief swept over me as I walked away that day. 


Since I was at the bottom, I also knew, I could only improve.


Recently, my good friend, fellow blogger and awesome podcaster, Bryan Teare, creator of the Quarter Life Comeback, reminded me of a challenging post written by the wonderful Elizabeth Gilbert titled, Not This .


It struck a chord the first time I read it. And once again it is having the same effect all over again.


In the post she writes about the terrifying moments in life when you realize - NOT THIS.


When you find yourself on the floor emotionally or physically with the realization that something has to change. Must change. 


That you have to leave the job, end the toxic relationship, admit yourself into rehab, leave a community that is slowly poisoning you or walk away from a belief that once defined you but no longer does anymore.


That no matter what you do next, it’s NOT THIS.


In Elizabeths own words,

"If you keep ignoring the voices within you that say NOT THIS, just because you don't know what to do, may end up stuck in NOT THIS forever.
You don't need to know where you are going to admit that where you are standing right now is wrong.
The bravest thing to say can be these two words.
What comes next?
I don't know. You don't know. Nobody knows. It might be worse. It might be better. But whatever it is...? It's NOT THIS."


So are you getting the feeling that something needs to change? Are you in the middle of your personal NOT THIS moment right now? Have you ever experienced this in the past? If so, please tell me your stories if you feel comfortable below - I would love to hear about how you got to this point and made the change to get out.