Friday, March 15, 2013

Another Day, Another Dollar, Another Way

Despite being completely overwhelmed at work for nearly the entire two years I've been in my current job, and especially the last four months as I fill in for a departed colleague in addition to my normal duties, I can say honestly that I have never felt as busy as I felt this week. I came in early and worked late nearly every day this week and today, on Thank-goodness-it's-fucking-Friday FRIDAY for crying out loud, I actually thought to myself, "To get all this done, I might need to come in Sunday."


No. No. No. No. NO.

It's an awful feeling that I don't enjoy. I've never much appreciated workaholics. I scoff at people who are "so busy." (See: NYTimes Article The Busy Trap.) I've always thought the Work-Life balance is a necessity, not just a nice-to-have.

And I am a hypocrite. Ugh. In most of my "career" I've been that "so busy" person. I have struggled mightily to let go of my work when I am not at work. When I started to realize that people weren't reaching out to me as much to hang out because they thought I was "so busy," I tried to correct my behavior...I don't want to be someone whose community thinks she can only ever pencil them in.

I know this will be a life-long exploration and struggle, but today as I felt physically weighted down by all the work, truly understanding when people describe themselves as buried, I felt very far from knowing an immediate solution to my current situation. 

Couple that with spring being one of my most nostalgic seasons, it's been increasingly tempting to just hop in my car and drive until I find....something. Something is undefined but is definitely not me sitting at a desk, eyes sore due to so much time staring at a bright computer screen, body creaking and aching yet not from the good, hard work a past me enjoyed. 

I dream of the farm with increasing urgency. I remember the way my body felt when it was sore from intense labor rather than from inaction. I think of the peace, but don't romanticize it to the point of forgetting the isolation. I know the many reasons I rationalized not following that path, the many reasons I returned to the city and began to carve out the life I am now living, but I am wondering why such a large part of me still longs for it...

Then I see myself on the back beach at the Bay Area sanctuary I worked at when I was 18, and I crave equally to be and not be that girl again. The pains and awkwardness of being a young woman in the world = no thanks. The freedom and time to figure out who I was and what I loved doing, without judgment or a sense that I need to be there already = extremely attractive.

Life is good. Life is easy. I could possibly be looking for issues where there are none.*

Or I could be challenging my life and my work to be more than status quo. To be more meaningful, thoughtful, creative, inspired, and inspiring. Everything is fine. I just wish it was more than fine. I feel very content in many ways, but also very far from what lights a fire under me. I haven't taken a walk under a full moon on a country road in forever...nor have I had a heart-to-heart with a stranger who with every passing moment is becoming more known...I haven't sat in a cafe in a city I don't know and watched the city's inhabitants pass me by....I haven't looked from a remote trail at a brilliantly blue lake surrounded by fields of wildflowers ...I haven't poured myself into the unknown, the scary, the foreign... What I have been is very removed from the world beyond my slice of it. 

I guess I am realizing in the small and large moments of the life I have created for myself, that I haven't been in love with the big, beautiful, mysterious world the way I once way. It used to make me cry because it was as full of equal parts beauty and potential as it was sorrow and ugliness. It used to make me laugh because it was absurd, ridiculous, kind, hurtful, and complex in so many ways known and unknown. I used to let it surprise me more. I used to let it "get to me" more - no matter where that took me. 

Now I sit at a desk and feel angry and bored and uninspired. A negative feeling grows in me until it's at the point of breaking me, bursting forth. And when that happens, I take it out on my coworkers, my best friends, my frenemies, and myself. Which is no way to live. It's definitely not a happy existence, nor a healthy one. I aim to live a life of "do no harm," and there's no way I am achieving that currently. 

So clearly I need to reclaim some things: my sense of wonder, my sense of purpose, connection with people different than me, an adventurous spirit. But maybe, beyond that, I need to get out a gigantic piece of paper, and a handful of colored pencils, and go wild with drawing out the story of my life: what could it be - if I had no fear or no doubt? How big can I dream if I acknowledge that the only thing holding me back is me?

What do you do when you think you need to make a new path for yourself? How do you recreate your "plan," and does it ever include parts of a plan you thought you had put to bed for good?  Leave a ramble of your own below. 

*A reader of my blog told me it can get rather sad at times. Do not mistake this entry as a debbie downer manifesto. I write to share with myself what is just beneath the surface: I write to discover. Nine times out of ten my ramble is hopeful. If it seems dark or dreary that's a fault of my writing. I promise I'm on my way, and the path is not covered in thorns and spiderwebs. I see a wildflower just beyond the bend; do you?

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! It feels like a letter to a best friend and an invitation to peek around the bend to uncover a field of wildflowers ahead! I would love to share our giant sheets of a paper with each other over tea.