I was 18 when I found myself working as a PA in a very expensive law firm pushing paper around desks and drinking my weight in fancy hot chocolate. I’ve always found it easy enough to get jobs even without the proper experience, I’m a fast learner and I’m genuinely interested in other people and I was inexperienced so I was a cheap hire. But this was my first serious full time job. I had deferred from a BA in Social Work to do it, because Uni didn’t feel right either. I was moonlighting pulling beers at a local tavern at night and was determined to save some cash so I could have some freedom to choose what next. I’d been working there from eight until five every single day for probably about six weeks when I found myself striding across a fancy foyer in a pencil skirt and heels and I stopped dead in my tracks. Not this. I said to myself. Anything but this.
About an hour later I quit my job and within an hour after that I was on a bus heading out of the city.
I remember the moment I found out for sure my husband had been having a rather elaborate affair. Part of me had probably known for a long time, but knowing and truly knowing are two different things, are they not? I remember exactly how the conversation went and the visceral heat that coursed through my body tearing shreds from my sense of self. I remember after days of begging to understand and asking for answers and so many tears and falling at his feet that there was a moment that was as clear as day as if all of a sudden the fear lifted and I could finally see myself for exactly who I was in that moment and in that moment I said… Not fucking this. Not anymore. No way. Not this.
I’ve done this several times in my life. I’ve done it in jobs. I’ve done it in relationships. I’ve done it quite simply at parties or events. Just stood up and said, nope, not this… and left. It sounds arbitrary perhaps to some of you. How fickle one can be with things that perhaps my parents had wished I’d just stuck with a little longer. How fickle perhaps I was at times with other peoples hearts. How young I was. I was always a ‘not this’ kind of person, clear about what felt good even when it didn’t really go down well at home, I was like that with girl guides as a five year old, I was the same with synchronised swimming and guitar lessons and netball and ballet… there came a moment when I suddenly realised… Not this. And once I came to that realisation, I’m done.
I’m still that kind of person today. Once my walls come up. Once my heart isn’t in it anymore. It’s over. There is almost never any coming back around. I’m better at mitigating the risk associated with this element of my personality these days. Even when I know, Not this, about a job… I can hang around and get the job done for a little longer until I find the right thing to move onto. I’m flawed, I’ve known not this, about my last two serious relationships from pretty early days but my own insecurities stopped me from leaving. I’m better at this now, so much better at this.
I was reading a Facebook post by the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert the other day where she was exceptionally eloquently exploring the concept of ‘not this’ and the power our own intuition has in our lives (the post has be subsequently removed for unknown reasons) and it reminded me exactly why that ‘not this’ moment has become such an incredibly powerful one in my own life.
Because knowing ‘not this’ – and I know each and everyone of you have had it. Opens the door to the most spectacular feeling in the world. The ‘this!’ feeling.
There is no better feeling in the world than having an incredible revelation, or standing with someone you love, or the breath of a sleeping child against your cheek, or the grasp of a tiny hand when you reach the street corner, or standing on the edge of a rocky beach feeling the sea air filling your lungs and for that moment, in that exact moment you feel it. You feel it. THIS. THIS. THIS, THIS A THOUSAND TIMES THIS.
That feeling. That ‘THIS’ feeling. That’s where joy lives. That’s where the edges of your life fold inwards and meet each other in moments that you understand are so incredibly, exactly and completely where you are supposed to be.
I’ve been having a lot of those feelings lately. In my work. Im my relationships. In my home.
And fuck, they are good.
I hope you have at least one ‘THIS!’ moment today (and every day). Because this moment, right now, it’s all we’ve got.