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  • Writer's pictureJackie Habib

Learning when to walk away

Last night, I slept almost eight hours without waking up during the night. I am one of those people who needs a solid eight hours every night in order to function. For the past month, I have been struggling with insomnia. Going to bed then lying awake for hours at a time, going to sleep only to be woken up an hour later, waking up earlier than my alarm even though I've had practically no sleep. I tried meditation, melatonin, magnesium, not eating sweets past 6 p.m., but nothing worked.

What changed last night? I received a second job offer on Friday and decided I would give my notice first thing Monday morning. After almost exactly one year since I started what I thought was my dream job, I made a decision to leave it. It ended up being nothing like I thought or expected.

On Friday, I gave myself a snow day and decided not to work (which in the consulting world means my paycheck is docked for a day). I steam cleaned the bathroom and kitchen floors, then cleaned the bathroom, and the fridge. I then cleared snow from the deck, stairs, and my car. I had more energy than I've had in weeks. I showered, baked brownies, made dinner, and went to bed feeling productive.

Saturday and Sunday were the same; I realized this energy and joy are coming from the fact that I know my time at this job is limited. In nine hours, they will have my resignation and I will only have to stress about things for two more weeks. It's amazing how much of our energy and happiness are stifled by bad work situations. Knowing all of this energy was in me but being burned away at work made me realize just how bad things had gotten lately.


I went to pick up something at Target today. I couldn't find it and managed to walk out of the store without buying anything (when does that ever happen?). On the way home, I passed Maple Farm Foods in Hadley and decided to stop by. I was only going to grab some labne and Afghan bread but decided to shop around since they have recently updated the store.

I looked through the grains and dried beans, the assorted cookies, their Asian section for all the good vinegar, chili paste, and noodles. I grabbed some things and headed for the register. As I was driving home, I had an epiphany.

I have always wanted to write a cookbook. Friends have encouraged me and I even took a class with Julia Turshen this summer on "How to Make a Cookbook." The only problem was, I never had an exact idea of what it would be about. On my drive home today, I came up with an idea.

I can't even begin to describe how it feels to finally have an idea; one that I love and feel needs to be out in the world; something original that hasn't been done yet. I was so excited, I messaged a friend to see if she was free to FaceTime when I got home. Why? Because it's important for me to share my goals and ideas with others. It makes them feel real and makes me accountable for them. Writing them down is also important.

So what's next? I am going to give my notice first thing tomorrow morning. I then have interviews with one last company. I am taking two weeks off between jobs so I can rest, relax, and recharge. Lastly, I am going to focus on this cookbook idea. The class I took taught me the basics of writing a cookbook proposal, and now that I have an idea, I can begin to work on it.


Sometimes you're doing really well, then, after three or four years, everything inexplicably crashes like a house of cards and you have to rebuild it. It's not like you get to a point where you're all right for the rest of your life. - Patti Smith


Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

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