Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A year of great loss....and greater gains!

This last year has been a year of great loss for me.

First, I quit my job. It wasn't just another job. I had invested my blood and sweat in it for 10 years, going through some very hard times, but also doing some of the best work of my life. I was very proud of the company and my contribution to it, and unknowingly made it part of my identity. It was not just about the work, which I enjoyed immensely. I cared for many people who worked with me and leaving the job meant leaving those people, and in less than reliable hands. No wonder that leaving this job was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I lost a part of my identity as a result.

Around the same time I quit my job, I became aware of another loss. Some people I used to trust and believe in implicitly turned out to be...well....not worthy of it. Just using these words sounds vindictive but I had/have no anger against them. Initially I was shocked and very hurt. Later, I was able to look inwards and realized that my failure to see the truth was not a result of just their deception, but of my foolishness too. In a way, I was as manipulative as them. They didn't want to show and I didn't want to see. As a result of this episode, I don't think I will ever be able to trust anyone completely, including my own gut feel about people. I lost my innocence in a way.

The third loss was of a very good friend of many years. She and I were almost like family, meeting often and spending a lot of time together. I could count on her to make my weekends special. We saw many movies together and discovered and sampled many new eateries. My kids were very fond of her too. Sometime last year, I sensed her withdrawing from me, until one day I realized that she wasn't a part of my life anymore. I tried to reach out to her, but then decided to give her the space she needed and let her be. I haven't figured out this one, but it is a big loss of companionship.

But it has not been all bad. There have been some extraordinary gains too!

I rediscovered a long lost friend from my IIT days. I met her last year after 17 years and it was as if we had never parted. The truth is that both of us have changed a lot since our younger days and perhaps this was the best time to meet because we changed in similar ways. She and I speak on phone often, and it is like talking to a soul sister. We "get" each other- each other's pain, loneliness, courage and the quest for happiness. Friendships take years to nurture and grow, and here I am, given a gift of a great friend without doing anything for it!

I also rediscovered another friend, someone I had known for many years, but then not really. Suddenly she is a big part of my life and my day is not complete until I chat with her on IM or FB. I realize that she and I are very different, like chalk and cheese- she is as practical as I am dreamy and as WYSIWYG as I am convoluted.  But we are good for each other. Having her on the other side of the computer is like having a solid wall supporting me all the time- I feel safe and loved. I, in turn, have great affection and respect for her. Our newly found friendship has given me lots of reasons to laugh, travel and have a great time together. How lucky am I!

Last but not the least, this year I discovered my voice. After years of wanting to write, but not ever being sure about what, I suddenly have a voice that knows what to say. This voice is not compartmentalized. It has many dimensions. It can talk about many things, from Instructional Design to motherhood to Buddhism, and in any tone, from honest from the heart one, to self deprecatingly and casual. I have always known that a good voice is a combination of good thoughts and good expression. One without the other is incomplete. I am not sure what others think but to me, at this stage in my life, my voice feels complete and boy does it want to talk! I love writing like nothing else and cherish this gift every minute.

If I had to lose all that to gain all this, it was well worth it! 

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