How a toe ring snapped in half and pushed me forward

I've had the exact same toe ring for 10 years. I'm dating myself I know, but back in the day all the cool kids had toe rings and anklets. I even chatted about it a month ago on Can I Tell You Something Funny. Long after they lost their cool, I kept one on. It fit great and I forgot it was there. That toe ring was a rebel in the corporate world, a world traveler, lost and found in the bottom of a pool in Antigua, pounded the pavement in two marathons, hiked countless mountains and shined on a surfboard. It never came off. It was comfortable, a metaphor for so much in life.

We have habits, routines, practices we do without even thinking. Sometimes they're benign, case in point my toe ring, but sometimes they are toxic to our mental, emotional or physical well being. After 10 years of seeing the same shiny silver ring on my foot, I thought it breaking would feel like I was missing something. Instead, it felt like it was long overdue.

I realized that much like that trusty toe ring, I have still been falling back into old habits, and comfortable patterns. I'm not the same person who put that toe ring on 10 years ago. I'm not even the same person I was 6 months ago. Changing our habits is hard, but letting go of comfort and our old version of ourselves is harder.

I've reinvented myself countless times and each time, that includes a new outside look to match the inside changes. An outside vibe to match the inside feels. A new haircut, a new exercise routine, a new wardrobe, a new tattoo. One thing that has never changed was that toe ring. That toe ring was my corporate identity, changing appearance, but never truly different.

Holding on to old parts of who we are feels comfortable, but growth happens when we get uncomfortable. Even after 18 months of leaving corporate behind, I still have the same clothes in my closet. I was still wearing that toe ring. Subconsciously I knew that if I gave away the clothes and changed my outside vibe it would truly close the door to going back. That felt like a door I needed to keep cracked until now. That broken toe ring was a true metaphor for my exit.

It snapped in half and pushed forward firmly shutting the door behind me.