In this past year I have transitioned from working full time for a large Southern California corporation to working at home as a wrier. When I returned to my job as a proposal manager in the aerospace business after my son's suicide in 1999 I knew I had made exactly the right decision. The job left me no time to wallow in my grief. From the minute I was on board I was consumed with the business of working on teams to produce documents that had to be delivered on time every time. And, putting myself into that pressure cooker was the best thing I could have done to enable me to withstand the sadness in my life.
Plus I had to get up everyday with a purpose. I woke, I went to the gym, and I then got ready for work, looking like a true professional. And, I recovered slowly but surely during this time. Not only did I need to be technically astute in my job I had to manage and work with lots of people, and this socialization was a major factor in helping me get through my grief.
When I finally decided in April 2010 that enough is enough, I still felt that leaving my job could be very risky. If I let myself I could easily go back to the wallowing. Even so, I decided I had to do it. I wanted some time for myself and with my husband. I wanted time to travel while we're still mobile, And, I wanted time to write books and poems. An almost 24/7 job just doesn't support that. Plus, how many years could I continue at that pace at my age? I'm still willing to go back as a contractor but not on a full time basis. After almost 11 years since my boy's death, I decided I was strong enough to get along without the full-time job crutch - that's what I always called it - a crutch. I felt I knew how to defend against falling back into the wallowing.
And, I've done very well.
Almost as soon as I retired my writing life started booming. I got a publishing contract for the memoir I had been trying to sell for over two years, a book of photography that I had written the poems for has started getting attention, and a poetry anthology that I co-edited has just come out. Plus a lot of my poems got published. I introduce myself as a writer, and I've finally begun to believe that I am. It's as though taking that transition step has opened up a lot of writing opportunity doors for me. I'm doing perfectly fine without my crutch of a full-time job away from home. I'm not wallowing anymore. The timing was perfect for my transition. I couldn't be happier.
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...