Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Final Hour

I was going to write a light and fluffy post about 'The Final Hour' this morning ... the hour before my alarm clock went off today (I refused to turn on the TV and I thought sleep was going to elude me ... until I woke up from a dream/nightmare about working at yet another new job) ...

Then I realized what day this is. I have been watching several 9-11 documentaries and they are a grim reminder of how precious that final hour can be.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and we spoke of the illnesses that have consumed and taken the lives of too many of the people that we know through our (prior) workplace.

I talked to another friend who is currently battling cancer and various other physical ailments. When I asked the question "What is the common denominator?", my friend answered before I finished asking the question, "Stress ..."

It seems that you don't have to look far these days to hear of people unhappy with their job. Stress levels are reaching new proportions. Chronic stress. Stress that faces people every single work day and permeates into their time off.

I often ask these people what they feel their options are. They are stuck. Stuck in a job that pays the bills. Stuck because they rely on the benefits. Stuck just 'one more year' (or whatever time period is necessary) to get full pension or benefits or save a little more. I would also imagine that there is a certain amount of fear that paralyzes a lot of people into staying where they are at. Full-time work, job security and stability are a frail thing these days. Everyone has a reason for staying where they are. And they are very good reasons ...

But the stress of staying in a situation that is eroding your mental and physical health? Is there a dollar value that can be placed on that?

It has happened far too often, that people have stuck it out too long. By the time they walk away from the stressors of their life, the damage has already been done. They finally retire ... and then disease consumes them and steals the time they have left.

If they had known, they could have walked away a year sooner and enjoyed that final year that they 'gave' to a situation that was killing them slowly. Even if their time here on earth was predestined ... wouldn't they have chosen to spend that final year of good health doing things that they loved to do and spending time with people who lift them up?

I always thought that I sounded a little melodramatic when I said (when I left my husband for the third and final time), that I knew I would die an early death if I stayed. I never said or meant to imply that it would be anything but a stress-related demise ... but it could have gone any way at that point.

Since that time, I have learned to listen to the wise inner voice inside that knows when it is 'time to walk away' from a situation that is killing me softly.

I have 'quit' many things in my life. Each ending brings about a new beginning. As long as one keeps looking to the horizon and never stops starting over, you aren't really 'quitting'. You are just moving on.

When I look back on my life, I want to know that I spent that final year ... or that final hour wisely. A life with no (or few) regrets. I don't want to waste that 'final hour'. Nor do I want to give it to a situation that is pulling me down.

So I have restarted. Again. As I look back on last year ... even if it was my 'final year', I can find the blessings mixed in amongst the chaos of my mind. It is my goal to make this year better.

One can't live their life looking in a rear view mirror. You can only make the best of the hours, days and years at your disposal. Spend them wisely.

Eleven years ago, who innocently walked into their workplace and thought they could be facing their final hour?

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