I remember having an interaction with one of the surgeons about 2 weeks from my last full-time day at my former hospital. He caught me in the hallway while scrubbing for surgery and started to ask me a variety of questions. This surgeon would speak to me, but my interactions with the surgeons were pretty much on an “I need” basis. When I would hear from them it was because they needed something improved or fixed within the OR. There was really no general interest in how I was doing, at least from my perspective. He said, “So I heard you are leaving. Are you divorced?” I said, “Uh, no not divorced. What does that have to with me leaving?” He said, “Well, I thought you might be collecting alimony.” Me: “No.” Dr.: “Do you have a trust fund?” Me: “Again, no. Where are you going with this?” I was getting irritated obviously and fearful of the conversation landmines here. Dr: “Well you do understand the financial cliff you are jumping off of right? I just figured you had quite a nest egg to be making this decision. Either way, you’re our hero. Good luck to you.” I smiled, said thank you and walked away. I didn’t know whether to be insulted or complimented by the conversation, but as he was a surgeon, I took it for what it was worth. A huge compliment.
I did know that I was jumping off of a huge financial cliff. I did the math, it didn’t add up, especially in Santa Barbara, but I had to take the leap and trust the net would be there. I decided to cash out my retirement, get rid of my mini Cooper and buy a used (complete with backdoor dent) 4 Runner in cash. I bought a bike. I sold a lot of my designer clothing and simplified as much as possible to bring my expenses to nearly nothing. I put my student loan on hold. I started getting my haircut at Supercuts and coloring my own hair. But the habit of not being on a budget did not happen overnight and it is something that I still am working on. Hence, I am still in this free fall off of said financial cliff.
I would say that I haven’t had solid footing, stability, since the day of my high school graduation, the day when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. Stability is a very important thing in life. Housed in the root chakra, it is everything that supplies our basic needs. Food, shelter, security, etc. As the years have gone by, I have tried to manipulate and find security in all sorts of places….jobs, men, different cities, homes, addictions. But, I never really tried to find this within myself. Until my yoga practice, it didn’t occur to me that becoming my own rock, my own root, grounded in my sense of self, that this was something I could rely on and that all the other things around me (family, friends, jobs) would allow for growth and support of my internal structure. When you are grounded, rooted within yourself, you trust the universe. Energy flows, ideas come and intuition leads. No matter the cliff you are jumping off there is a knowledge that it will all be just fine. You can handle the fall and weather the storm.
The good news is, I have received all sorts of help, financially and otherwise in the last year and 3 months. I am so grateful for my Mom. She continues to support me in so many ways I cannot even begin to give her adequate credit. When I am asked about my transition, there is a smile and a thank you, but know, if you are thinking about a transition like this for yourself, have a plan. Have savings, simplify your expenses, create a solid budget and plan. Seek financial guidance if necessary and try to think about 3-5 years down the road. Prepare for unexpected medical expenses and always have a little extra cash to buy something nice for yourself or an emergency. Your transition will level out and you will be able to afford your dream and not at the expense of your sanity.
Jump off the cliff….the net will be there waiting.