Done and doner…

I gave notice. I am finished.

I am done and doner than done. (And probably dumb and dumber for not declaring myself done years ago.)

When I told my colleague, she celebrated.

“Congratulations! Good for you!”

We had gone for a brisk morning walk to save ourselves from sitting disease. My decision was on my mind, and I began discussing my struggle with the “I should…” part of deciding. She declared:

“Don’t should on yourself.”

My mind did a double-take. This colleague isn’t opposed to using profanity, after all. But she wasn’t cussing. She used the word “should.”

She explained her meaning by giving an example from her own life, a time when she had acted on what she wanted  or was able to do rather than what she typically thought she should do. Like me, she had been physically unable to do the “should” at the time and had reluctantly done what she felt able to do.

“And the world didn’t end,” my friend said. “I found I was thinking myself a bit more important to other people’s happiness than I really was. It was OK.

“Stop doing things only because that’s what you think you should do.”

Of course, I never would have suggested that I did only because I thought I should. At one point, actually most points, I’d enjoyed doing. But I’d already made my decision to quit the night before and felt this sense of hopefulness and freedom. And I appreciated my friend’s confirmation. This decision came in the wake of my answer to the question posed in my last published post.

When are you doing your Christmas baking?

The answer was last weekend.

I started about 5 a.m. Saturday, worked for about 12 hours, then began again at 4 a.m. Sunday to be done in time for my company’s Christmas party late that afternoon.

But by the time my baking was done, my body was done too. I had voiced my “I am never doing this again” sentiment to my husband, and I was surprised to hear him say, “You say that every year.”

Did I?

I thought I loved baking. But even the “fun” part — doing those final touches such as adding ribbon and checking off names as I addressed each box — was drudgery. (Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy baking, I enjoy packaging the goodies, I enjoy blessing people with them. But the large-scale version it had become was simply too, too much.) Despite four ibuprofen and a half a muscle relaxant, my back was crying, “Stop!”

And now I am going to listen.

The week before, I’d told this colleague all about my annual Christmas baking routine — the purchasing of supplies, the menu of what I would make, the number of people I’d gifted through the years, the ways they’d responded.

“You sound like Monica in that Friends episode when she is the candy lady,” she’d said, and then she gave me a brief rundown of the episode (highlights in the YouTube video below).

She was so right. Spoiler alert: Monica quit too.


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