Redefining yourself takes tenacity, dignity

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“There are moments in every life that define us anew. Find a way to make that moment happen for you.”

— Anonymous

Have you ever found yourself wishing to live a new life?

A friend of mine sent me a quote that reads, “What could you accomplish if you knew you could not fail?” What a wonderful question!

I might start my own company, write a great book, create a hybrid fruit that wins all sorts of awards. I might orchestrate a traveling farm petting zoo for city children who have never seen a wobbly-legged calf or an adorable day-old lamb or a litter of colorful newborn kittens.

New outlook

I am standing at a precipice in my life, and it is amazingly exhilarating. It might sound annoyingly simplistic, but I am no longer allowing others to define me or harass me. I have turned a wonderful corner and if you find yourself in a situation that needs to change, this column is to encourage you to do the same.

My turning point came on Friday when I quit a job I have held for many years.

Without meaning to toot my own horn, I can honestly say that I had been an exemplary employee — arriving early, staying late without complaint, doing all I could to improve the cash-flow within the office by being frugal with supplies in order to stretch things as far as humanly possible.

I was kind and sincerely caring toward clients, many of whom I had grown to know as friends. I had recently completed training at my own expense within the field in order to become a more valuable employee, though my additional licensing was not utilized or recognized.

Unbearable

What had long been an enjoyable place to work became unbearable. I had never in my life dealt with bigotry. When I did not voice supportive agreement with this behavior and extreme thinking, favoritism within the small staff became a blaring undertone.

I suddenly was no longer called by my lifelong nickname, a name I have carried since I was a newborn baby. I have been known by this nickname by everyone from family to community members to my boss.

Suddenly, I found myself cast in an entirely different light in every way by this boss, including the name which I was to be called. While I was not consulted about this, it was explained to others they were to no longer call me by my nickname.

Though as a part-time employee I had no benefits of any kind, I repeatedly stayed late when the schedule dictated it, yet there was no longer monetary compensation for extremely long days. I was, without question, being put in my place.

Upon returning from our beach vacation, I realized that I had been enlightened in every way while being away from this situation.

Because of this realization, I decided to try to discuss this with the man who I have considered not only my boss but a friend for many, many years.

It became very clear that things have shifted in some unexplained direction, without forethought, without reason.

I was no longer going to be treated with respect, or as a member of the team, but treated as a lowly worker whose feelings or opinions would not be listened to, but further than that, would not be tolerated. It was underscored by what name I was to be called.

Defining moment

It became very clear that I was living one of those defining moments.

When this man reprimanded me for having traded one day, with good reason, with another part-time employee, I said, “It will never happen again.”

And I walked out the door.

Returning to this farm that morning was as close as I will get to walking through the gates of heaven while on this planet. I felt my entire life opening up to me in new ways. I had reclaimed myself.

If life is not good, do what you can to make it so. We travel this journey for such a short time, and I strongly believe we each deserve to live our days with peacefulness and bliss.

Are you standing at a precipice in your life, wishing for something to change?

What could you accomplish if you knew you could not fail?

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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