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LIFE CHANGES AND CHALLENGES

I was chatting with a pal over tea this evening and he made a comment to me in a way that few have over the course of the past several weeks. He observed that it seemed to him that I had made my life so much more difficult by deciding to stay in San Francisco and starting over when I already had a “great” job, a home and a “life” in Boston.

I think this is something that has puzzled a number of friends, but no one has ever just come out and phrased it so directly.

I have to admit that it did give me pause for a few minutes, but it really wasn’t hard to articulate why I chose to take this path — which, indeed, is filled with stress and challenges that must be met. However, I do not think I had much choice.

When Karl and I formally ended our relationship, it was sort of like the floor falling out from beneath me. Like in one of those old amusement park rides. You know the little fall is about to come, but when it does you’re never quite ready for the feeling. Karl and I had really ended our relationship long before we “formally” ended it. Who knows why it all fell apart, but it did. And, then, not too far after — a doctor had put me on way too much medication that was having a dangerous and adverse impact which led me to being put on disability. My job was fairly crucial to the day-to-day operations of the office I managed. So, they had to replace my position. Granted, they didn’t wait very long. In fact it was once again a bit like having the floor drop beneath me. Normally, an employer will wait at least 90 days prior to replacing you. I had only been out for 3 weeks — however, the office was in a major state of change with new and daily challenges. It was a major impact to the daily business. And, it is a business. So, while my feelsing were hurt and I felt that I had been a bit short-changed — I had to take a professional view. I was assured, in a surprisingly distant way, that I would have a position of equal/same value upon my return.

Then the “Catch 22” came my way. My employer challenged my disability from the national level — the information my doctors were providing was not satisfying my firm’s insurance company’s view so to continue approval of my disabilty. So, I decided to go against the advice of my doctors and return to work. Then the legal folks at my employer informed me that I could not return to work until my doctors released me to return in written form. My doctors refused. When I went to find a new doctor who would clear me to return I had no luck because my benefits had been frozen until I returned or the doctors provided the documentation that would satisfy the disability insurance company. In short, I was stuck. And I needed an income. While it was quite frustrating to discover that my doctor’s word was good enough for me to return to work, but not good enough to keep me out — I began to take it all as a sign that it was time to move on. The doctors felt that the stress of the job was putting me at a long term health risk. And, to be quite honest, I had been somewhat uncomfortable with my former firm’s recent shift in policies/procedures. I had started to feel as if I had no way of being an effective advocate for my staff. I could never decide if this was due to too many challenges coming my way or perhaps I had been in the same position too long and had lost my creative outlook on resolving issues and making the system work for all of us. I decided it was time for a change.

And, there had been so much “bad luck” for me in Boston over the course of the past couple of years. I can think of no better way to phrase it. I felt as if I were stuck in a rut that I just didn’t no how to escape and I was finding it more and more challenging to come up with the drive I had always had toward my life — both professional and personal.

So, when I came out to San Francisco to hang with one of my two best friends — I came to the conclusion that I should stay here. True, the challenges were going to be great as I was not prepared financially to relocate properly and it is never easy to find a job when you don’t have one —- and I would need to branch out and make new friends. However all of these things are acting as the drivers I needed to get off my ass and get my life back on track! There is no rut for me in California — it is all new territory filled with hope — and great weather! So, while I am dealing thru some scary stuff — and, maybe it would be better to skip out on an adventure like this at 38 — I do not really think I had any other choice.

And, I have a sense that I am on my way to a level of happiness I’ve not known in years. Do I miss Boston? No. Do I miss my friends and co-workers? YES!!! But, with email and planes —- I will not lose contact with all of them! Or them with me.

Perhaps this is the more difficult road, but it is the right one for me at this point in my life. It was never my goal to make my life more difficult — it is my goal to make my life better. And damn the torpedos, I will!!!!!

I just need to keep the faith! …and believe in myself.

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May 18, 2005. Uncategorized.

8 Comments

  1. snarl71 replied:

    OH, Matt. I definitely (and strongly) believe a change was in order. Boston, for you, had run its course.

    Though, for selfish reasons, I do wish you were able to select a more geographically convenient location. But I disagree wholeheartedly with what your friend said over tea. Things in Boston were not going well for you…at all. It wasn’t the fault of the city, it was a combination of factors.

    So, starting over in a new place will pose new challenges, but they’ll hopefully make you get your creativity back and resolve those challenges more effectively.

    I’m only wishing for the best for you.

  2. g8s replied:

    The more you keep doing what you’re not supposed to be doing, the harder it gets to continue doing it. This is how you know if you’re headed in the right direction. Clearly, Boston was kicking you out. Maybe SF is right, maybe the jobs you’re seeking are right, maybe not. You’ll know. Even if you can’t articulate why, you’ll know.

  3. thomas replied:

    sometimes the only solution is to move forward no matter what the consequences. and, historically, things always look worse before they get better. i think you made the right decision. but you don’t have anyone to please but youself. ten years from now you’ll be thankful you had the balls to do it.

  4. adrock2xander replied:

    A change in locale always helps…you’ve got a strong resolve…and some supportive blogger friends:O You will be just fine Matty :O

  5. Jon replied:

    I agree with most of the other commentors. it’s too early to say that SF is not working out. You can always come back to Boston, or somewhere new, but things should work out in SF in the end. I’m sure your resume speaks for itself.

  6. matty replied:

    Hey Kids, No — I didn’t mean to imply that I was giving up or anything. I was just responding to a concern someone had raised to me that I seemed to be taking the hardest route possible to “reclaim” my life.

    I am fine and know that this will all work out!

    Like that plucky little Maria of The Sound of Music — I’ve got confidence!

    …I think.

  7. Underling replied:

    I know that you know you made the right decision.
    And I know that things will only continue to get better for you.

  8. Tim replied:

    Hey Matt, sorry I don’t check in too often these days, but I’m still thinking of you from across the sea! Good luck with the new start Mr. You’ll take to SF like a duck to water though I’m sure 😉

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