Stories of Things

Stories of Things - The Lil' Clump of Medals

Do you ever look at evidence of your past and wonder what happened to that person? I used to look back and beat myself up about losing my past self. An artist. A runner. A metal sculptor. A yogi. A martial artist... And on and on. My little medal collection here isn’t a brag post. I have these hanging in an insignificant cluster on a hook behind a door in a room I barely go into. For a while, these things just taunted me. I let them mock me. I used them as a bar of impossible measure that in my mind, I could never achieve again. I’ll explain...

In 2009, I had my second child in February, closed a company I loved in March, began the divorce process in April, started a new job at Zappos in May (which included 4 weeks of legendary Zappos training in June.) My now-former husband moved out of the house in September, my also-going-through-a-divorce sister and her two boys moved into my house with me and my two girls in October, and in November my dad had an episode that put him back, temporarily, under mental-ward care at the Veteran’s Hospital. A pretty busy year.

I ended up cutting “active lifestyle” completely out of my life during all that in order to figure out independent motherhood, commute nearly two hours per day, and find some semblance of a stabilized life in 2010. By the time March of 2011 came around it was clear that I wasn’t designed for full-time corporate employment, even at a place as relatively liberal as Zappos, I was mostly miserable and felt extraordinarily misunderstood. I left that job in June and sought independence again. Almost as quickly as I left, I was offered a remote Director of UX position for a leading mobile app dev firm. The offer was too good to refuse and most importantly, it let me maintain the most important aspects of my life I was seeking at the time - owning my time and being a more present mom. Less than a year later I lost my dad (April 2012) and over the course of the 10 months that followed, I spiraled seemingly irretrievably, into the darkest space of depression-fueled burnout I’d ever known. A lot of wonderful things happened in these years, too but I’ve kind of thought of 2009-2013 as a bit of a dark patch.  (sidenote: there’s a 30-minute video about my burnout/recovery here: https://vimeo.com/124384525 )

I left that remote position in April of 2013 and have spent every waking minute of my life since redesigning my life bit by bit. I’ve crafted it with a thoughtful heart and explorative intention. Each year is building upon the last and becomes stronger and clearer. Each month I eliminate excuses that during my dark patch I allowed to stop me from following the path of my heart. Each month surfaces a bit more confidence in who I am and more bravery in declaring what exactly I want. 

So, the medals - the little symbols of accomplishments from a younger Jaimee that once mocked present Jaimee. Where am I with those lil guys now? 2015 has been about letting go of what was in order to embrace what is, and make room for what’s important. 2015 has been about taking what life presents and allowing it all to make me stronger and more focused. 

I can smile now at my little trinkets of past accomplishments. They represent some great memories, but I think I’ve learned to not let them torture me anymore. I’m very grateful for the life I have, the lessons life has served and the love that surrounds me. I kinda like who I am and I like the idea of letting go in order to allow space for improvement, new adventures, and new accomplishments.