Elia and I met my former coworkers for lunch today at a little place across the street from the office. It was wonderful seeing everyone and catching up, but as usual, lunch went way too quickly as people had to dine and dash off to meetings, conference calls and nap times.
But while there, something strange happened that I couldn’t ignore any more. Since I resigned, I’ve returned to the office or gone to lunch near the office 3 times. And every time I kind of freak out. My heart starts racing, I sweat, I feel light-headed, and my whole body starts shaking. Today, the first bite of my salad ended up on my lap from the shaking. At first, I thought that it was because I was anxious about Elia “behaving” in front of my coworkers. But as soon as I really thought about it, I realized that didn’t hold water. We are out and about all. the. time. Sometimes she’s happy and giggly. Sometimes she sleeps through the whole thing. And sometimes she’s fussy. And it doesn’t really phase me, because she is a baby and that’s what babies do. So I finally realized that wasn’t the cause of my freak outs. As I was thinking about this, I passed the garage where I used to park. And as I drove past the turn-in, my stomach dropped. And it hit me. I get anxious just being in the area.
There were 1,000 perks to my previous job. But there was also walking on egg shells, personal attacks, demoralizing behavior…all of the “tearing down” with none of the “building up.” The source of all of that is actually gone now, yet the gut reaction to the physical space remains. Amazing. Ironically, realizing this has actually allowed me to reflect on the many great aspects of the past 5 years. Here’s to healing.