Sometimes a Step Back is Good

I haven’t written a post in awhile, mostly because I find my time suddenly taken up by a huge pressure at work that seems to press down on my all hours of the night and day.  I know I mentioned early that I love my job, and that is most definitely still true.  But something changed recently, and I find myself wondering at my chosen path.

The first thing that happened was I had a wonderful walk and then cheesecake at a cafe with my best friend.  She and I talk, gossiped and laughed our way through the afternoon.  Then she mentioned a new job that she’s applying for, and how much it would pay.

Now I have to say that I love my her with all my heart, and I want nothing but success for her.  We’ve been friends for ten years.  When we met, we were both still in school.  She dropped out to work full time, and I continued on, struggled, and almost killed myself trying to do full time university with a full time job while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.  I struggled and fought, and came out the other end with my Degree.  She worked full time, steadily got promoted, and lived at home where she doesn’t pay rent.  To her credit, she did take over a few of the bills to help her family out, and she has some student loan debt from her brief year in college.

And now, ten years later, she’s making waaaay more money than I am.

I know this sounds bitter, and I hate that I feel this way sometimes.  But I’m jealous.  Everything I struggled for seems, at this point in time, like it wasn’t worth it.  I keep telling myself that the difference will be in the future.  In five years we’ll be singing a much different story.  And I have to say again how much I want success for her.  I do not wish her badly in any way.  I don’t want her to make less so I feel better about myself, I want to re-evaluate my life and see where I went wrong.

Now here’s the second thing that happened recently to make me question my current position.  There was this project that we did.  It took a week where I pulled several almost all night-ers, barely slept, was too stressed too eat, and finally we got it done.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve done in years.  And it feels like it broke me.

Shouldn’t I feel some sort of accomplishment?  Shouldn’t I feel strong and powerful that I pulled off the impossible?  The whole thing went over really well, the project was a success, and I showed just how hard I’m willing to work to get things done.  But I don’t.  I feel… tired.  My self doubt has surged forward from where I’d beaten it down months ago.  Since my breakup, I’ve slowly been feeling better and better about myself.  I’ve come so far.  And with a big crash, I slammed right back down.  My goal was to never feel this way again.  I didn’t want to let myself get this low.  And I don’t feel like I didn’t anything deserving it.  My recent success should leave me elated, not broken.

So what went wrong?

The truth is, I don’t know.  But I’ve started to look at my life outside of work a little more.  The one thing I didn’t have during that stressful week, was free time.  I went from working some major hours, to a week preparing for a big event in which I had to stand up in front of hundreds of people and give a lecture, and now I’ve spent the last few weeks working way to much with no weekend days off and zero free time.  Is that what I need to work on?  Is free time what makes us happy?  I haven’t done anything for me in weeks.

This past Sunday I did have a single day off.  I woke up early, went for a super long bike ride, had a coffee by the beach while reading a paper, and then wandered around taking pictures of my neighborhood.  It was nice.  But I was still stressed about Monday.  I seemed to be stressed every day going to work.  My mornings had become calm and sort of easy, and now I can’t sit still to sip my tea.  I just have to go and get to work early, in case something comes up.

This blog is sort of a musing.  I don’t know the answers to any of this.  For six months I’ve been focused on recovering from a seven year relationship that left me uncertain and riddled with self doubt.  I’ve been so focused on seeing past that, that I have no idea what actually happens in real life anymore.

But I’m determined to try.  From this moment on, my free time needs to be spent doing the things I love.  The trouble is, I have no idea what I love.  So it’s going to be a continuous adventure to try new things and figure out what I love again.

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