Fifteen months ago I wrote a blog about the resolution I made for 2016. Perhaps someone will benefit from this update to the outcome.
My resolution was to increase my mindfulness practice by trying to spend time weekly in my meditation practice. I downloaded some apps to assist me with this, one of which recorded my efforts. On that particular app, I logged 42.5 hours of meditation during 2016. There was more that was not logged there, but that is the bulk of it. Much of this was done in 6-10 minutes segments. It turns out that this resolution helped me withstand a quite difficult situation. For large periods of the year my meditation efforts were completed daily.
In 2016, I was encouraged to apply for a promotion at the company where I worked. I was generally content with what I was doing but was becoming a trifle bored which happens in about 5 year increments for me. I planned to work two and a half more years and retire. I had shared this with my supervisor. I talked myself into applying for the promotion and accepted it. I told myself I was already splitting time between the new position and my old one. I thought the pay bump would help me put more aside for retirement, and that I might as well be paid for the responsibility.
I worked both jobs for most of the year with increasing emphasis on the new job beginning in May. As I was given more responsibility for the new job, I found myself experiencing overwhelming critical oversight from multiple sources. I had many voices telling me I needed to do more and master all things immediately.
My reaction to the stress shocked me. In retrospect, I have diagnosed myself with emotional reactions relating to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from childhood experiences with a critical, unpredictable adult. I found myself reverting to behaviors which I thought had been extinguished. Under the pressure of constant critiquing I felt frozen (flight or fight). This paralysis caused me to be unable to fluently voice my opinions, to silence the micro managers or to keep those who answered to me in line. My irritability increased. None of this was in keeping with the professional persona I developed for myself during the last 50 years. I was working 7 days a week and not finding the time to do self-care. My five year old granddaughter asked why she no longer was invited to spend the night with me. I am a family oriented person. Hurting a family member with my work behavior was unacceptable to me.
In September, the voices of criticism increased in volume as did my flight or fight reactions. I was offered the options of being placed on a plan of correction in the new job or being replaced in the new job and returning full-time to my old one. I would have to return to my old salary when I returned full-time to the old position. I agreed to go back to the old position as I felt that the plans of correction I had seen never ended well. I was asked to continue in the new job while they looked for a replacement and to accept the demotion to my old job but could keep the current salary until they replaced me. They would cease looking for a replacement for that old position and keep it for me. I had been doing both jobs for six months at this point. I would have to continue to do both jobs "until a suitable replacement was found". They had been searching for a replacement for my old job for five months at that point.
I found myself forced to make a decision about my future. I did not like the choices I had, but it seemed inevitable that I had to do something distasteful and alien to me. With over fifty years as an employee, I have never even had a poor review much less been faced with a plan of correction or demotion. Fate intervened for me.
In October, a company wide early retirement package was offered for any who qualified and I applied. I was awarded the package and retired from the company in January at full pay for the promotion I was given in May. This meant I would not have to take a demotion or be placed on a plan of correction.
I am reinventing my life for the next era. I did not know how much of me I had misplaced until about a month into my retirement. As normalcy returns, I can sleep more than 4-5 hours. I can truly smell the flowers again. I am taking my meditation to the next level, re-developing a social life, and enjoying my family.
Without my daily meditation practice and listening to Audio Dharma on my commute to work each day during the second half of 2016, I surely would have run emotionally from the building and quit which would not have ultimately been in my best interests.
I had no idea how crucial to my future well-being my 2016 New Years Resolution would be. Remember this as you struggle with the resolutions you made for 2017. Namaste