Jump or Be Pushed
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree and Rising.
In another of my own personal version of â€œGroundhog Day: The Movie,â€ I woke yet again to Hinderâ€™s â€œLips of an Angel.â€ Different time, different station, same song…every day this week, including weekends.
I hated the song the first zillion times I heard it, but since itâ€™s been stalking me this past week, I actually googled the lyrics and realized that they werenâ€™t quite what I thought they were. If youâ€™re not familiar with the song, itâ€™s about two people currently in bad relationships but their feelings are still with each other and they are lending emotional support in secret. Neither one seems to be going anywhere at the moment, though, which is the way things often are, no matter how bad they get.
Ten years ago, I had a saying, and Iâ€™m not sure how I came up with it or why. I think it had something to do with my back injury from that time period and the way it forced me to get off the fast-track and notice there was something to life other than a career. It went like this:
â€œJump or be pushed,â€ the Universe said. â€œItâ€™s your choice.â€
The quote is still playing out on screensavers in offices I worked in years ago. It still fits most things in my life, too.
It seems that whenever I end up in a place I shouldnâ€™t be, I have a choice to make: stay or go. If I stay because itâ€™s easier or I donâ€™t have the courage to jump or I donâ€™t want to hurt anyoneâ€™s feelings or itâ€™s better financially, then things just get harder and harder and harder until Iâ€™m finally pushed into making the decision Iâ€™ve put off.
Itâ€™s been that way with jobs Iâ€™ve had. The question that would form for me was, â€œHow bad does it have to be before you jump?â€ If I could realize quickly enough that it wouldnâ€™t get any better and that, whether I wanted to or not, I needed to jump and just took that leap of faith, then life was much easier. If I didnâ€™t jump, Iâ€™d end up feeling I was pushed to the edge of the cliff and had no choice because the new boss would be a tyrant, funding would get cut and we couldnâ€™t fill vacancies, the workload would double, we couldnâ€™t get computer upgrades, etc. The working conditions would become unbearable until I finally had to leave for greener pastures.
My marriage ended that way, too, with things not being good for a long, long time and just getting harder all the time until I either had to get out or die.
The thing about jumping is that itâ€™s so hard to do, and yet afterward, you wonder why it took so long. I think for me, I donâ€™t give up easily and Iâ€™ve always had to know that Iâ€™ve exhausted every possibility of making things work. But now, as soon as I knowâ€”and I know a lot sooner now because I trust my intuition more than ever beforeâ€”then I can jump.