The past year has been a year of changes for my family.  Last June, Nathan & I moved out of the town that we had lived in for the previous four years.  The following month, my youngest sister made a big life change and moved to Minnesota.  September marked the beginning of my baby brother’s senior year of high school. (Gasp!  Can any of us believe we are seriously so old that he will be going to go college in a few short months?  I can’t.)  In December, Nathan & I got married.  In January, my oldest younger sister moved to NYC for work until she starts medical school in Rochester, NY later this summer.  In February, we lost my grandma unexpectedly.  And now March is bringing yet another big change.

I made it official this week that I will be leaving my job at JM.  I have been there for four years, ever since graduating college.  As many of you know, I have been commuting the whole time.  For the first three years, it was a long but manageable 40-45 minute commute.  I worked four tens, and that made it a little easier.  When we moved last spring, my commute increased to an hour each way – and that was on a good day (the commute on days with bad weather or traffic was significantly longer).  I kept up with the commute as best I could, but it really started to take its toll on me both physically and emotionally.  It has not been healthy for me (or my oil guzzling car, for that matter).  I have no time for myself on work nights, and I consider myself lucky if get 6 hours of sleep (more often I clock in between 4-5 hours).  My stress level has been high, my eating habits questionable, and my exercise and household cleaning have really taken a nosedive.  I have spent a lot of time wondering if my job/lifestyle would make me prematurely gray, and spent a lot more time examining my hair for these nonexistent grays.  After taking the majority of December off for the wedding & Christmas, it has been really hard to adjust back to the commute and long days.

I have accepted a new job at another nonprofit in the next town over, which I start on March 26th.  A 20 minute drive vs. an hour+, and a grand total of 28 miles a day vs. the whopping 114 miles a day that I am currently driving.  The job allows me to continue working in the nonprofit industry, which really fits my personality and values.  The agency has good core values and I think I will be a better person by working there.  The salary and benefits are better, and the job is a real step up for me.  It offers me experience in a new area, and gets me out of medical billing, which I have always disliked and never intended to make a career of.  It gives me more time at home – more time to sleep, take care of myself, and take care of the chores around here during the week so that I do not spend every Saturday swamped with a week’s worth of household cleaning and laundry.  And it gives me a change of scenery, which I honestly think is something I have needed for a while.

I am excited for this change, but also a little scared and sad.  I really value the friendships I have made at JM, and I love seeing my hard work translated into positive, concrete results that make a difference to the children and families they serve. 

It is scary to make a change, because I am stepping into the unknown.  What if I don’t know how to do something?  That’s scary.  Learning all the new names & faces, and making new friends?  That’s even scarier.  If you know me, you know that I am a genuinely kind person and a loyal friend (and according to my youngest sister, “surprisingly funny”), but I am shy and it takes me a long time to open up and feel comfortable around new people – because of this, it is hard for me to make new friends unless the other person is willing to be patient and put some time and effort into the friendship. 

But I had a long heart to heart with my mom, and came to this conclusion:  If you never take a risk, you will never get anywhere.  I do not want to be ‘stuck’ in life, and unfortunately, ‘stuck’ is what I have been lately.  I had spent the last year and a half focusing on the wedding and throwing myself into that, but after it was over I wasn’t really sure what came next.  I always want to be moving forward.  I want to focus on the positives in life. 

Of course I won’t know how to do everything – it is a new company and I will have to learn how to do things their way.  But I am a smart cookie, and I know that I can learn anything.  I have proven this to myself time and time again.  I am a perfectionist who wants to be good at everything I do, and I have successfully managed to do this in every job I have ever held. (Not counting that high school job at Figaro’s – clearly pizza making is just not in the cards for me.  Noted.  But seriously?  The lack of cheese you are supposed to put on the pizzas is criminal.)

So, here’s a shout out to changes and new adventures.  I don’t yet know what the rest of 2012 will bring (although let’s hope it brings a move to a house that does not share walls with any neighbors), but if the last year is any indication, I am sure there will be more changes to come.  I say?  Bring it on.

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