There comes a point in everyone’s life when one takes a step back, takes a good hard look around themselves – and finally gathers up the nerve to jump into the void of ‘change’. There’s a certain amount of miserable comfort in the sameness of things, the ‘job’, the stress, the workload at home, the routine of everyday life. Then there are the ‘expectations ‘ others have of you – and as an adult, you determine you need to fulfill those expectations – you feel a need to prove you are responsible, reliable, steady. Responsibilities. Ah yes – pay the bills, stay late at work or come in early, pick up the slack when others are shirking their responsibilities.

Odd how so many of us don’t put ourselves first – or second or even third.

Those of you who follow my blog, know I lost my mom last year. In the eight months following, I threw myself into overdrive and set about managing to take another persons entire life and find a way to merge some of it with my own, part with what I couldn’t accommodate, and divvie out what I thought others could; all the while remaining responsible, reliable, steady and meeting expectations.

That’s the simple version. When I finally came up for air, when I finally had a minute to think – I knew it was time for change.

I left my job. Gave the boss a months notice, and with little care about whether or not he would find a replacement, with a definite ‘it’s my turn’ attitude, set about winding down thirteen years of standing in the same place doing the same thing every single day. Winding down twenty five years of effort and commitment to the same industry – an industry that’s taxed me physically and mentally, and returned to me nothing more than a steady and decent paycheck – mostly due to the fact that I’ve stuck with it for so long.

My toolbox is now home.

I. Don’t. Miss. It. One. Bit.

Automotive is a thankless industry. Nobody pulls up to the garage with their truck needing a five thousand dollar repair, and walks in with a smile on their face – so in reality, you’re never seeing anybody at their best – and you need a thick skin because you know that although you didn’t build their truck, or break it – you are in the line of fire anyway.

Don’t miss that one bit either.

Thinking way back – I have been in the workforce since I was thirteen – so forty two years. Long enough I think. Am I ‘retired’? I actually don’t know……I’m not averse to going back to work….but I have decided to play it by ear, and I have decided it has to be something not in automotive. Something where I am creating, not resurrecting – there is a difference. I have been asked – “what do you want to do?” Honestly, I haven’t the faintest. I – like many people, have always done whatever I’ve had to do. Initially, the very idea of not going to work had me in a near anxiety – it’s taking some getting used to. I’ve been home almost a month now – oddly it seems longer, but I still find myself trying to cram chores in at the end of the day simply because I’m not used to having ‘tomorrow’ to do them.

I’m a list maker – I’m known to make lists of lists – always feeling more organized and accomplished as I’m checking things off. Things that surprise me now that I’m home? The lists are getting longer rather than shorter. When I have a few moments to sit and think, it occurs to me that I now have time to expand the garden. I have time to stay on top of the weeding – as opposed to scheduling a day to weed. The lists are markedly different – split firewood’ makes the list again – it’s not all on Bruce because I have time to split wood. The lists are now leaning in a different direction – I’ve decided to keep bees – something I’ve considered many times but not acted on for lack of time. There’s a lot of planning and prep to get ready for when the bees arrive. I’m looking forward to the challenge – and now recall that I’ve always done better in my life when I have a challenge in front of me – something new to learn. Challenge has been sorely lacking in my life for a lot of years.

My health is improving – that grinding mental fatigue and physical exhaustion is slowly fading. No more standing under banks of flickering fluorescents for hours on end, inhaling buckets of exhaust fumes for lack of ventilation, soaking up all manner of petroleum product that when I dump out a transmission has been chemically changed into god knows what. No more having to know all of the things – my job, the service writers job, the bookkeepers job.

No more rage. Rage when my only hard fought for heater that keeps my hands from cramping up in the winter because I have no heat in the back where I work – gets snatched up and taken to the office because despite the office having heat – the service writer is complaining her feet are cold. Rage when the boss decided that because he can’t actually lay eyes on me every second of the day, decides to have me fill out lengthy ‘reports’ on every single transmission I build and make the many treks to the time clock each day to punch on and off that particular job. Reports that got stuffed into a filing cabinet, that were never read, that I snatched up and brought home with me when I quit. So many rages. Gone. Goodbye to micromanagement. No more having to decide which battles to pick – we all know the squeaky wheel gets the grease -but in my industry it’s smart to understand that at some point, that wheel simply gets swapped out for one that does not squeak. Don’t. Miss. That. Either.

I’m not a spur of the moment kind of person – rather I tend to overthink things, which does not lend itself to much spontaneity. Paralysis by analysis is sometimes the norm in my personal life. I did not leap into the void of change lightly. I crunched numbers. I made sure I had the support of Bruce who is now by default the main breadwinner. I had to decide if I could live with lack of change around the farm – there is still so much to do, things to repair, house projects – and now, little spare cash flow to do them with.

At this moment – I feel I made the right decision. Each time I catch myself wondering if I should reconsider that decision, I remind myself; I do not owe anybody their living. I do not need to provemyself or my worth to anybody. Bought and paid for that t-shirt a long long time ago.

I try not to look back – after all I’m not going that way. I am now looking forward, focusing on what’s to come, what I can accomplish. Our farm year is still scheduled as usual, only now I’m adding to that schedule in a productive fashion. Bruce has noticed a change – he says I am less bitter, less hard, smile more often. He might be right…..the difference I notice? I finally feel like I can breathe.

Stay tuned….😊<



About valbjerke

Farmer, Transmission Rebuilder, Self Sufficiency Nut. Like the old school way of doing things. "Fast is fine - accuracy is final" (quote by some way back famous gun-slinger - likely just before he got shot dead)
This entry was posted in Rants, Raves and Ramblings, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Change……

  1. mountaingmom says:

    Wonderful! So glad that you are taking care of yourself. Continue to heal. Continue to look forward.

  2. DM says:

    Lots of good stuff in this one! Those observations Bruce made…they are huge. I definitely would have felt the rage on everyone of those things you mentioned. I have a low tolerance for micromanaging control freaks..especially the ones who steal my heater for a wheel squeaker. Appreciate the update! DM

  3. themomfred says:

    I am in awe of your courage. You go girl!
    And on a selfish note, I am glad to see you back online now that you have the time 😁

  4. avwalters says:

    I couldn’t be happier for you. I’ve long thought, from my spot here, anonymous and hundreds of miles away, that that job was sucking you dry. Unless it feeds your soul, it’s not enough to just be good at something–especially when you’re not fully appreciated for what you do. Put it in your “win” file. Transmissions–you mastered them. Time to let them go.
    If you think about it, there are a lot of things that you are very good at. They scream from the pages of your blog, crying for your time, your recognition. What a wonder that you’ll be able to give your time to those things–the ones in your own life–that matter to your quality of life and of those you love. Surrender to the good of this–the room in your life for humor, sharing, and freedom from rage.
    If you need to find money in the mix, you’ll find something that speaks to you. You can give that the time it needs, and it will come.
    And welcome to the world of bees. Bees are the opposite of rage. Treated gently, they are gentle and precise, orderly and mysterious. Though the basics come quick, the mysteries of bees continue to reveal themselves for years. You cannot rush bees. You cannot squeeze them into available time. You have to work with them, on their schedule, working with season and nature. Not a bad gig, if you ask me. Sure beats transmissions.
    It’s too bad that we have to wait for a crisis–the death of a loved one, or the traumatic end of a marriage–to make the care and feeding of the self a higher priority. But there you have it. It’s never too late to put the drudgery aside, breathe deep and take the next step for what matters. Congratulations. I’ll love reading your blog to here how it all shakes out.

    • valbjerke says:

      Thank you so much! You’re right – the job was sucking the life out of me – it didn’t help that I’m possessed of an overdeveloped sense of loyalty to the cause.
      I’m very excited to be getting bees, my daughter has pointed out that this will be good for me because I will finally learn to be ‘zen’. I find them fascinating – in particular how so many thousands of something functions as one organism. We’re so very far north it will be a challenge in the winter – but we’ll see come next spring how I did. I’m hoping for enough time to keep my blog family updated 😊

  5. freethnkr1965 says:

    I’m so happy for you!

  6. barnraised says:

    How exciting! Enjoy the breathing room and can’t wait to hear what’s to come. It’s going to be good!

  7. pgraysurvival says:

    Downshifting. Did that what seemed eons ago.
    Best thing I ever did.
    Congratulations my friend
    Things will only get better!

  8. Carrie says:

    Excellent move and not before time by the sound of things.
    Take it slowly, recover, put yourself first for a while. Enjoy that moment… and the bees.

  9. About time…like AV Walters I have thought for a long time that you were unhappy there – stuck, even. Not anymore. And breathing is a good thing. Looking forward to hearing what happens next.

    • valbjerke says:

      Stuck. Yes – and loyal to a fault. Mostly, like many people, ‘you do what you gotta do until you can do something else’…… or until you wake up one day and realize at the rate you’re going you’re not going to make retirement age. It’s odd – I always tried to leave most of the reality of my job out of my blog – seems people were picking up on it anyway 😊

  10. Pat says:

    Oh my friend, how courageous you are. I know how you must have fought the inner demon and allowed the real you, the one I know and care about, to resurface after being hidden and suppressed for so very long. She has risen again and like the butterfly who has awakened after being in stasis, she will spread her wings and be free. Finally. Reconnect with your soul, Val. I am so very happy and proud of you. 🙂

  11. Sherry says:

    I ended a 28 yr job 5 months ago, I do miss my friends but not the job. It is hard to get in the mindset that you can finish tomorrow, instead of your next day off. Enjoy

  12. congrats on doing what you needed to do for you. its a brave and hard thing to make that choice, and I smiled at your lists, I am such a list girl myself and yes, I swear they will just get longer 🙂

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