Saturday, April 28, 2007

Looking for the bearings

This is the kind of day that epitomizes Spring. I ought to be outside enjoying it, trimming back the azaleas for next year and continuing to declutter the almost ex-husband's junk from carport. Instead, I'm inside, putting off a freelance business writing job that's due this afternoon, yep, this afternoon. It just needs the final touch ups, but I just can't stand looking at it now. I don't want to get out of the rhythm of writing though, so I blog.

It's a lot more satisfying than work is now, and that doesn't matter if it's my full time, very business, dress, hose and heels job, my freelance gigs or housework. I used to really enjoy work, and I don't anymore. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. It contributed to my sense of identity, at times too much. I've been guilty of defining myself and my value by how my job was going.

Part of me still actually likes work, the process and the rhythm of it. I'd much rather be busy than idle. I spend far too much time in my head, and there are times I think I just ought to get any job that's physically demanding enough for me to mentally enter some zen space, but not more than this old, self-abused body can handle. I remember too well barely being able to move after unloading an eighteen wheeler full of books and stocking a 36,000 square foot bookstore. I'm wincing now at what that would feel like after the car wreck back injury and the knee injuries, even though I'm thinner now than I was when I was doing that.

I think why I'm so unsettled is that I've always believed that one's job should be more than just a means to support oneself. We spend more time working than we do anything else. Shouldn't it mean something? Shouldn't it be something that we reasonably enjoy? I've never felt like I've been in the right career, and that really bothers me. Part of me can't help but feel like I've wasted huge chunks of my life trying to be something that I'm not, something that other people have wanted me to be.

I know that it's only the lucky few who are in a job that they truly love, and that no job is without its hassles, times of frustration and headaches. Nothing worthwhile after all is really easy. I know that many people make major career changes in midlife. Heck, as a recruiter I spent years helping people do that. I know it's possible, and I know how hard it is. What I don't know is if I can continue on either way.

If I don't make a big change, I'm going to wake up every morning dreading my work day. I'll like people less every day. Any enjoyment I do find in my job will incrementally diminish. I used to dance around my office after closing a deal. Yesterday, when I finished my largest project of the year so far, I just slumped as I put away the paperwork, exhaled and was glad it was over.

If I do make a big change, what the heck will I do? Go back to school? Oh, I'd love to, but how? I'm looking at college tuition for my daughter in a couple of years and wondering how to get her the education she deserves. Move? I don't have much a life here, but it is one I know, and I've got to consider the effect on the womanchild. She has a love/hate relationship with this area. I don't know if I know how to live anywhere but a small town anymore.

Maybe I should just forget having a career in the first place and take any job where I can just get through the day without grinding too much enamel off my teeth and pray for an early demise so I won't have to worry about retirement. That, I know, is the voice of my worst self, and I don't believe the words even as I write them.

My life became unsettled when I became a caregiver and then upset itself again when that role ended. It's been years since I've felt like I was on the right path, and I have more questions about what I should be doing than I can put into words. I'm so inspired by Lisa who had the guts and the courage to make the big change and take the big risk and open her own restaurant. This was about more than her career though. It was about her life. She did something, and I'm tremendously proud of her.

I want to be that proud of myself. I'm used to letting other people down. My life has been structured so that never being good enough for the significant people was the norm. It's only been the last few years though that I've really let myself down. I can do better. I know I can. My weight loss success has been one indicator of what I can do. I just have to figure out how.

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4 Comments:

Blogger more cows than people said...

i'm sending you love and hopefully strength for the difficult work of discernment in which you find yourself. may you find meaningful ways to spend your time, meaningful opportunities in which to invest your energy.

April 28, 2007 1:20 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

For me, my enjoyment of work has been a love/hate relationship. I have loved working in my two careers of safety and developmental disability. I got to help people and got paid for it, how great is that? But at the same time the immense responsibility was sometimes overwhleming. For example, as Safety Manager, I was responsible for the safety of just over 14,000 people. I was responsible for them going home whole and complete each day. Now I have just under 800 people with developmental disabilities, for whom my agency is responsible. That is scary too.

I hope you feel better about work soon:)


Chris
My Blog

April 28, 2007 3:16 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Good lord, Cyn, I could have written this entire post myself, verbatim, less than a year ago. Even the part about being a caregiver and then losing that identity. I was lost for MANY years after that. Hard to believe so much time went by that I was just...lost.

But my opportunity came, and I truly believe, so will yours. You are in the middle of so many major life changes right now...try to give yourself a break. It would be way hard to change everything at once.

April 28, 2007 5:25 PM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

I think Lisa is The Person to listen to these days.

April 29, 2007 7:18 AM  

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