Home > Learning, Parenting, Work > Life beyond the leash

Life beyond the leash

I started a new job two months ago.

I will leave it next Friday.

This is not typical for me.


From a February 2014 post. Yes, really.

I cherish stability, a fact I recognized long before I learned my DiSC personality type is C for “conscientious.” (Is anyone here surprised, looking at the description? No? Right, then.)

But there can be a dark side to stability. Sometimes it means staying with someone who hurts you because the pain you know can seem better than even the possibility of worse pain somewhere else. It can mean sticking with something that limits you while keeping you comfortably, predictably “safe.” It can mean living with your wings wrapped tightly around you because you know you’re less likely to fall if you don’t even try testing your wings.

Of course, avoiding falling means you also never learn to fly.

I only saw this a few months ago.

I used a different analogy then, though.

Growing up in poverty, never certain whether there’d be food on the table or a roof over my head, I’ve tried making choices that virtually assured me and my family food and shelter.

But then, then I saw that I was living on a leash. The lawn around me was mostly soft and pretty, but I was on a leash all the same. And I couldn’t help but wondering if I wanted to stay on the leash … or discover what might happen if I slipped free and ventured into the world beyond that leash. Was it a little scary? Yep. Was it more than a little exciting? Heck, yeah.


See, e.g., Miyajima

There is so much world out there beyond the leash.

Astonishingly much, really.

I tested the waters. I found a job working with airplanes. Airplanes! Things that take us up into the sky, where we can look down on the earth as we enter the clouds! Like, whoa. 

I dug the manager. I dug the team. I dug–hard–the fact I was working with airplanes.

The commute was long, but that wasn’t such a big deal compared to all the pros. Until, that is, my sons’ school closed its baby room, setting in motion ripples of change that turned my 180-minute daily commute into a 210-minute one.

lj being carried

More of this, not less

I was miserable by the end of the first week. Those thirty extra minutes driving meant more time sitting still on freeways that looked like parking lots. Less time moving limbs that yearn for motion. Less time holding my little boys and savoring their already too-rare proximity to me.

I knew I couldn’t keep up that infernal drive for long. But my resume! What would that short stint tell my future employers about me?

I’m pretty good at predicting outcomes. I love making decisions with reasonably certain to certain outcomes. But those wishy-washy ones with dozens of potential outcomes, each equally likely? Those suck.

What to do, what to do?

I went against my nature, deciding to choose not from fear but love.

I fear not having food on my table. I fear not having a roof over my sons’ heads. I fear living not my mom’s love but her poverty.

On the other hand, I have a pretty good track record for getting myself out of bad situations and putting myself in better ones. I’ve learned to turn faltering steps into triumphant ones.

A week from now, I’ll walk away from something pretty great. But I’ll do so with a spring in my step, knowing that I am not only walking away, but toward.

I am walking toward a future off my leash. A future with wings further unfurled.

Will I fall? Pretty darn sure I will. But will I soar?

I’ll never know if I never try. But I think …

… no, I know

my wings will get stronger the more I use them.


  1. Jen
    March 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    One of the strongest women I know 😇👊

  2. March 13, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    As someone who tethers her wings tightly, I LOVE hearing this. Soar. Soar for you, for your family, and as a beacon for those of us on the ground.

    • March 13, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      I am sending you so, so much love right now, with a smattering of pixie dust. I hope there’s flight ahead. ♥

  3. March 13, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    I have been worried about your commute. Brave thing, this! Something better awaits. 🙂

    • March 13, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      When I added those extra minutes, I thought, “No big! I’m already doing so many! What’s another 30 or so?” Turns out there’s only so much reasoning can override when the body’s saying NONONONONOOHHECKNO. 🙂

      I am so excited for what’s ahead. So very excited, and so glad I decided to slip away from that certainty of always being just comfortable enough.

      Sending love & happy weekend wishes! ♥

      • March 13, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        I had a 150 minute round trip commute for two years. Killed me. Looking back on it, it was not worth the stress on my kids and me.

  4. March 13, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Very well done, also for your kids. Good luck on your journey 😀

  5. March 13, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    So exciting, Deborah! So … now you’re going to write – correct? Something magical … RIGHT????

    I don’t even know if that’s your dream. But if it is – or something equally scary – go make some magic, girl!

    • March 14, 2015 at 4:45 am

      I’m still not totally sure what my dream is, but I’m trying to listen more closely to feelings that suggest I’m on the right track. I’ve considered social work or therapy, and more recently grief counseling or hospice work. (Shocker, right? “Let me tell you all about my thoughts on grief, blogosphere!”) I’ll probably start volunteering in these arenas to get a better sense.

      Always, always there will be some form of writing. I’d like to get back to one particular piece I abandonedset aside a couple years back …

      It feels grand to look at everything through a lens of possibility instead of worry. ♥

      • March 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        Actually walking through a terminal illness with a close friend gave me a whole different perspective on the process. I don’t quite have it in me to volunteer for hospice, but I now know enough to admire AND envy those who do.

  6. NotAPunkRocker
    March 14, 2015 at 12:05 am

    I am sorry it didn’t work out ultimately, but good for you for doing something about it for yourself and your family before it gets more overwhelming. ((hugs)) You’ve got this…whatever the next “this” may be 🙂

    • March 14, 2015 at 4:53 am

      Thank you! “before it gets more overwhelming”–yes! This! I didn’t find words for it before, but this sentiment was the one that inspired me to make the change sooner than later. Trying to make changes from a place of distress/duress sucks, personally and for the little ones depending on me. Probably (*cough*) most especially for Anthony, since I divert whatever energy I have left over into kids and keeping myself going, leaving hardly anything left for him. It feels so good to be stepping forward from a hopeful place instead of a drained one.

  7. March 14, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Things will work out. When one door closes another opens.

    • March 14, 2015 at 4:57 am

      In this case, one door opened pretty darn close to the new daycare. (Oh, sweet fortuity!) The drive is still long, but not 210 minutes long, and the place nigh ideal for the somewhat hippie-hearted. 😉

  8. March 14, 2015 at 4:11 am

    You are so brave. You will be in my thoughts that you will find a better way for you and family.

    • March 14, 2015 at 4:58 am

      Thanks, Georgette. ♥ I feel well on my way to finding it, appreciating it as a way (versus a destination). Happy Saturday!

  9. March 14, 2015 at 5:25 am

    My friend, you will soar. I have something in my head and heart that tells me you will be victorious and this is something, this slipping of the leash that is essential for you and your family. Sometimes there are those choices we make that don’t make sense on a pragmatic level but turn out to be the absolute best ones of all for us personally. I think this might be one, maybe it is the kicking in of the door you have been seeing out of the side of your eye but couldn’t quite reach.

    I love you ❤

    • March 19, 2015 at 2:23 am

      I turned it over and over again: How can I walk away from this for 30 minutes? That’s nothing! Regardless of how little it seems to my practical self, it’s a huge something to my less practical side. Being able to accept that and, doing so, choose the less certain route and see it as a win (at least for now!) really does feel like a win. ♥

  10. Deb
    March 14, 2015 at 5:49 am

    There is little to say that hasn’t already been said. I congratulate you for following your heart and choosing to soar 🙂

  11. cardamone5
    March 14, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Congrats, and best of luck. You are so brave for choosing family above safe employment. You’ll be fine though.

    • March 19, 2015 at 2:25 am

      Thank you! I will be moving to a new (contract) position, so it’s not as tenuous as it could be … but certainly a step away from the stability of the still current place!

  12. March 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

    that is so cute
    i am going to like it

  13. March 14, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I wish I was as brave as you. 🙂

  14. March 14, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Wow, good for you! I am so in awe of your strength and brevity and excited for what the future holds in store (in addition to more cuddles with your loves of course!)

    • March 19, 2015 at 2:26 am

      Thank you! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for that little bit of extra time! Today I had to pick up my boys 30 minutes early, and those 30 minutes … oh, they felt like the sweetest, snuggliest gift!

  15. March 14, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Walk, fly, soar!

  16. March 14, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Good for you for putting your family first right now. You are going to find something just as wonderful but closer to home.

    • March 19, 2015 at 2:28 am

      I’m starting a contract position 15-20 minutes closer to home. It won’t shave a huge amount of time off my drive, but it’ll get me back where I was before the baby room closed. It’s enough. (And, oh! I’ll be so close to my baby!)

  17. March 15, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Never be afraid to spread your wings and fly.

    • March 19, 2015 at 2:28 am

      I suspect fear will pop up here and there, and I’m OK with that … just as long as it’s not a key factor in my life decisions!

  18. March 15, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I’m applauding your decision, and your bravery in making it. You’ll do great.

    Commuting sucks your soul out the window. A short drive can give you time to organize your thoughts and prepare for the day or leave it behind on the other end. A long one only feels longer day by day.

    • March 19, 2015 at 2:31 am

      It really does suck your soul! I’m OK with up to three hours daily (provided there’s a middle stopping point to move around, which there is), so I was astonished how powerfully the additional minutes impacted me physically and emotionally.

      Just another couple of days with the long commute. I’ll be sad to leave the job and the people, but MAN! I will not be saddened by the abbreviated drive.

      Thank you. ♥

  19. March 15, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    What an inspiring post! Sending you support as you jump into the unknown—and into something better.

  20. March 16, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Life is too short for a lousy job. I’m not one of those people who believe you have to be in love with your work, but it shouldn’t be something you hate.

    • March 19, 2015 at 3:24 am

      The job isn’t lousy, though; it’s the commute that’s the problem, ergo the sadness at walking away … or, rather, driving away slower than I could walk.

  21. March 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    That’s a tough call, but you are so wise to choose less wear and tear on you , more time with your kids. You’ll be great at the next challenge!

    • March 19, 2015 at 3:26 am

      Thank you for the kind words! I was optimistic when I posted this late last week, and am even feeling it even stronger now. I had to visit the new job briefly on Tuesday and, oh! I am ready!

  22. March 17, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I love the line about wings wrapped tightly about ourselves. That’s such an apt description for life. We long to be free and yet long for safety. Its a constant struggle but I hope someday (at least for a while) the wings win.

    • March 19, 2015 at 3:27 am

      I was trying to think of how it really feels–beyond being on a leash–when I make safe choices for the safety, versus from a more comprehensive set of factors. It really does feel like I have wings, but that I fear their tearing (or my falling) if I try to use them. But how sad is that, to keep them wrapped so close they’re never seen or strengthened?!

      Rooting for you and your wings from here. ♥

  23. March 17, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Our children come first. Period. And, with that in mind, as well as who you are as a person, a mother, a wife, you will find the right fit. And, when you do, it will be right in EVERY way, not just one or two…and luckily, I don’t speak this only from being your long-time blogging buddy friend, but I also speak it from experience. What I have learned from 8 years of single parenting is that we are only limited by the confines of our own negative thoughts. Take the fear and negativity away, and amazing things happen. So, have faith, take flight and enjoy the sights! XOXO-Kasey

  24. March 17, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    You go girl! Sounds like you have the spirit, the desire. The determination, and the self awareness to kick the butt of this set back. Hooray! 🙂

  25. March 20, 2015 at 2:19 am

    The fear of the unknown is quite common and is human. Taking risk and making change is fear. But once we take that jump and get settle in we laugh and see the risk was worth it. Wishing you the best Deborah!

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