Shifting Gears At 48 Makes Me Ache From Head To Foot

Just for the record, I didn’t just get up one morning and decide to quit my job. I did wake up one morning in a state of anguish at the thought of returning to that place. And, yes, I walked out the door, got on a bus, and walked into HR and told them in person I QUIT. Why? Because that was the right thing to do.

Thing is, I had got to the point where I actually even felt sorry for the HR reps. When I say working in a call centre was hell, I mean the job, not the people. But, quite frankly, I’ve been in cancer wards that were happier places.

Plus, I wanted out so bad that facing them head-on was the last, and final, test. If I could sit in that chair and stick to my guns, than it was time.

Afterwards, this sense of strength washed over me. In this heightened state, I could not just get back on a bus with a bunch of strangers, I needed to be alone. So I just started walking towards home.

I walked down Oxford, and through the Oxbury Mall parking lot. I turned onto Mornington, and past that old apartment of roger.the.dodger. That’s where we lived when I first agreed to move in with him.

Kept walking, and realized this had become a pilgrimage. I continued on, over Quebec, and down the sidewalk, turning on to Queen’s Ave. Walked past the next apartment we shared, and on past the old Central Library, zigzagging through the downtown core. Making my way down Ridout, and past the next stop on this journey.

Through all that though Mom, nada. No sense of longing, no tears, no fear or loathing. No anguish at things lost. No, just memories are what I recall, as I made my way home to my Village, and my little rented garden.


I had alot of time to think this summer, lounging in the shade underneath that old Black Walnut tree, something shifted inside. Like a lens, back and forth my mind went, bringing everything into focus.

I had kept up my savings, and it now stood at the mark I had pre-determined would be needful, or enough. I had enhanced and polished the old CV, updated my LinkedIn profile, and made sure all my Facebook posts were both a good reflection of me, as well as devoid of anything compromising to any outside set of eyes. I left nothing to chance, I wanted more, and I wanted my presence to reflect the things I offered.

Then I grit my teeth and held on. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Just a bit longer” whispered my subconscious self. “Bit longer“, “nope, not yet. Soon“.

When I woke up that morning and knew it was time to return to work, I heard, now or never. Than I snapped. Reverberating off the walls that had confined me, I broke out, and it all came tumbling down.


Sitting in that chair in front of the HR rep, I heard inside that gentle voice, you can do this, go with your gut. Don’t worry, it will be fine“.

A week later I almost went into full meltdown mode, as realization of what I had done sunk in. “What the F#ck!” Lex said, and of course Dad’s incredulous tone. I have no idea really what he thought.

Yet, still that voice kept saying “no, don’t worry, this is the right thing. Just wait and see“.

Here I am now, just shy of half a century, and I’m doing something that I wouldn’t, couldn’t, have dreamed of not that long ago. I fantasized occasionally, but I had no idea how, what, where.

I thought I’d like to work at being a gardener, or construction labourer, or groundskeeper at a Golf Course. Something physical. But how would I do that? What company would hire me, with no experience, and no drivers license? Uphill battle that.

Why for some reason I felt obliged to get paid to sit in some desk for more than 20 years and chatter away to strangers, I do NOT know. Serving them, pandering to their anger at the audacity of a large corporation to want to make money off them. The nerve of them, and then I would discover gentler ways of saying “uh, duh!”.

I’d changed jobs, changed focus, but always my occupations had a sedentary nature.

This morning as I’m writing this, my feet hurt, my legs ache, the one side of my face is swelled from a sinus infection, and I probably won’t have two days off together again for atleast another month. Couple times a week, I wake before the crack of dawn, go to work, and go at’er full-out.

Up ladders, walking to and fro across the hard concrete floors. Reaching up, hauling heavy boxes down from high racking. Smiling, laughing, asking questions, and just going with the flow.

At the end of the day, I sit on the bench in the womans change room, and sigh as I reach down to undo the laces on my safety shoes. Haul on my coat, and trudge the 500 or so feet to the bus stop, and wait in the cold, biting wind for its arrival, turning on my data and scrolling through facebook, to see what was “going on”.

Switching gears at this age you know, well its tough. My body aches in places it hasn’t ached since the cottage, when my hauling and climbing was done in honour of that pretty little lakeside garden Tim’s Mom and Dad had created. When walking was for pleasure, and all the work was done in memory of a Mom Tim missed very, very much.

It was the physicality of that work I missed though.

And now, as I sit here writing this, hours from now I will lace up those safety shoes again. Eventually these aches and such will dissipate as my old 48-year-old body adjusts; well, atleast I hope it does. My sinus infection will heal. I’ll maybe stop into Marks and buy some insoles, to soften the pounding of my feet.

What I’ve learned through all this, is I need to stretch before work.

IMG_6207I’ve learned I do have limits, but they are just not where I thought they were.

And, I’ve learned to appreciate that Irish is a very understanding dog, and thank god for that as she hasn’t had near as many walks as she needs, or deserves.

I’ve learned as well that going with the flow is not about giving up. Rather, it is a natural process, and a way of being. Putting yourself in the place you want to be, and than just letting it happen; rolling with punches, respecting your own boundaries, and being honest.

Yesterday, after a 8 1/2 hour shift, after heaving, hauling, walking, organizing orders, learning new things, and up half the night before with a headache from this damn sinus infection, they asked me to stay alittle later. I said no.

The team lead of my department smiled when I said that. I offered no explanation. Just no. They would survive without me.

Why? Boundaries. I will give 200%, but not when I have a sinus infection – than your only getting 100%. I look like a blawdy Chipmunk you know Mom on the right side of my face. Little worrying.

Yes, I will take care of myself. I will. I can almost hear your voice, you know. I did the steam thingy with Eucalyptus Oil last night. Once the village wakes up, I’m heading out to find some remedies, don’t worry.


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