There's a little doll hanging over my desk in the office... a small red and white figure of knitted wool. It's probably no more than a few grammes in weight, but it's loaded with meaning...
Having quit her job, "CD", my friend and ex-colleague, gave it to me just before she walked out of our office for the last time, last Friday. There's one like it on the desks of all her other team members. When she gave it to me, she just said "Remember me..."
One does not easily forget a colleague like CD; attentive, analytical, efficient, team-oriented and caring. I have chosen to look at her parting gift, not as a reminder of her, but of a principle she exemplified... that of following your heart's calling... following your dream.
CD's decision to leave her job came as a surprise to me, especially because she had just been acknowledged as an outstanding performer and been given a suitable raise. I wondered why she would quit at such a point... it seemed inconceivable that one would leave just when a tangible improvement occurred in the current situation. The answer was even more surprising; she was not moving on to another job in another company, but instead taking a break from work, in order to study further. She is already a top-notch psychologist, in terms of her awareness and command over the subject; she has now decided to pursue her passion for languages and complete advanced courses in German. What I find most commendable in this is the difficult choice she had to make, i.e. leaving her relative security and stability of her job, to return to life as a student for some time.
I must admit, I was all admiration for her decision. It takes great courage to forsake the familiar and embark on a different journey, even if it is one that will take you closer to your dreams. I thought of CD and noticed the quiet determination with which she had been pursuing her dream all along, even as she balanced work and family life alongside. Even while working, she had completed a course in the difficult language of Sanskrit, preparing hard for her oral and written examinations. She followed this path, even when work through uncommon hurdles in her way, persevering in places where I know many others would have grown weary and given up.
Her decision to pursue German at this point in her life is a bright example of the importance we should give to the dreams that put a smile on our faces, as we think of what it would be like to realise them. It's important to never lose track of them, even while we might be treading on a different path for external reasons. There is always a choice and there are always options... we have to try and be open to them... and sometimes take a little risk as well.
Our team's parting gift to CD was a picture of her realising a long cherished dream in London. It was a picture of her in Lord's, the stadium she had always wanted to visit, being an ardent fan of cricket. She went to London on a project, and took the first chance she got to visit the "hallowed grounds". In that moment she achieved something rare... a moment where her current path coincided with a long held aspiration. It's just wonderful when that happens...
We gave her a picture of herself in Lords as she came up some steps into the galleries, contentment written large all over her face. That's the expression I wish we will all have, sooner than later, if we don't have it already.