Navigating Transition by Jocelin Thomas

It's a time for transition. The smells in the Northeast are changing from smoky bonfires and the scent of freshly cut grass, to pumpkin spice in every form and the crisp aroma of autumn. For many of the Micah (first year) fellows, the transition has been from college to work life. For a few, like me, the transition has been about career change. Before joining Life Together, I worked at the Boston branch of an international public accounting firm. Quite unhappy with my job and future prospects at the firm, I decided to seek a different path. Thankfully, this brought me to Life Together and my placement site, Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence.
This has been a transition in many ways for me: from a corporate firm to a nonprofit organization, from a large office to a small office, and from living in an expensive Brighton apartment to living in intentional community on church property. I've been questioned by family, friends, and prior coworkers - why give up your steady, salaried job for a “churchy” service program? Well, I fit the millennial stereotype of desiring meaning from my job, and needing to serve a larger purpose. Unsurprisingly, it turns out my Enneagram type (Type 1, The Reformer) tends to have a “‘sense of mission’ that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have” (The Enneagram Institute, 2017). I came to Life Together to pursue my sense of mission and discern how I can impact the world.
Changing the world can take its toll, however, which is why I was also attracted to Life Together’s focus on self-care. My restless mind almost never quiets, and so the ideas of centering and contemplative practice are extremely difficult for me. These past couple weeks I have enjoyed some newfound time for introspection and reflection where I have wondered if I really understand self-care and what it looks like for me. Could my lack of understanding of self-care have contributed to my unhappiness and lack of fulfillment in my previous job? Maybe it contributed to the strain I felt in my familial and interpersonal relationships, which I thought stemmed solely from my work life. These concepts are what I am grappling with and hope to continue teasing out over the coming months. My strong suspicion is that figuring out how to reconnect with my inner self is tightly tied to exploring my purpose in life. As we enter my favorite season, and the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down to reveal the warm shades of autumn, I too hope to break down my own barriers and find restorative connection from within.

“Type Descriptions.” The Enneagram Institute, Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.