November 29, 2005
I've got the seven-year itch. No, not with my marriage. We're still five years out from that one.
I'm talking about my work. "Well," you ask, "Aren't you leaving in January?" My last day is less than two months away. How bad could it be?
The Sky is Falling
Pretty bad. This fall, I've faced crises that I never knew could come with the job. Normally simple tasks have taken complicated turns. Every day brings new drama. I'm not just being hormonal here. Some really crazy things have happened.
Still, the hormones don't help. I put on my game face to forge through the day, only to weep behind my computer screen. I come home and cry some more.
"I can't do it," I wail to Thomas. "Not another day."
"Quit," he says. "You can always quit earlier than we planned."
"No, no I can't," I say. "We need the money, and I'm not going to make my replacement start early. And I can't leave my job with so many knots untied."
It's hit me that this period of my career is akin to the transitional stage of labor. Dilating those last couple of centimeters, from 8 to 10, is usually the most excruciating part. The contractions come so quickly, with so little rest in between, many women begin to think they can't finish the job.
This is when some women who want a med-free childbirth will hear strange things coming out of their mouth, like "epidural." A good partner will remind them that this is the shortest stage of labor and that the discomfort means the reward is closer than ever.
And so, as I have (literally) labored over these seven years, I now find myself in the transitional stage. The stressors hit harder than ever, with little rest in between. I feel that I can't go on.
Can I ride these waves with perseverance, even find a joy in them, like a woman well-prepared for labor? Can I keep perspective, that this is the shortest stage?
Right now, I'm not. Picture a hysterically screaming woman, and that's me.