I glanced over at the clock by my side to see that it was almost 4 pm. It was a Wednesday afternoon, which meant that it was almost time for me to participate in one of those hour-long project conference calls that constituted my normal workday. Sixty minutes of talk-talk-talk, interspersed with an occasionally uncomfortable silence, random background noise (airport announcements, barking dogs, children screaming, baristas calling out coffee orders) or people inadvertently talking over each other in the rush to fill the gaps.
Increasingly, a large part of a typical workday looked like this, but that particular Wednesday wasn’t a typical day. Instead of sitting in my office preparing for the call, I found myself at home, propped up in bed, with my legs tucked under the comforter and my head resting against the headboard. I felt my heart pounding and I forced myself to breathe deeply in an attempt to calm down.
That day, I’d left work earlier than I’d originally planned to. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to be anywhere else in particular. It was more that I was desperate to be anywhere but there. The day had seemed to drag on forever, as so many days had recently. During the previous few months, I ‘d felt myself becoming increasingly unhappy, impatient and restless at work.
That Wednesday was different. It was as if I’d passed the point of no return and something had to give or to change. I was anxious and felt the need to physically escape my workplace. I wanted to be able to breathe again. I glanced at the clock again and saw that it was now 4:12. I still had time to call in and make my excuses. I leaned back into my pillow and pulled the comforter up around my shoulders. I felt myself getting lighter and my breathing starting to relax. I fell asleep.
Something had changed. I had changed. It was time for me to work out what that was, and just what I was going to do about it.