Hello, all! Its been a long time. Since we talked last, I've switched jobs, and that has changed my life in a million wonderful ways. My new environment is fun, interesting, and has about a 70% less stress than the last one. I meet standards easily and have been given many opportunities to give input and help make needed policy changes.
I'm calling this post "Un-regretting!" because for a long time there I suspected I had made some serious life mistakes. This was based on the evidence that I was, well, miserable for a large portion of every day and didn't even have a lot of money to show for it. I was desperately trying to figure out where I had gone wrong. When I didn't feel tired, I felt angry. When the anger ran out, I cried. After 7 years in school, this seemed unfair. Why had I worked so hard and so long just so I could be miserable? I worked late evenings, early mornings, and weekends, and still we struggled financially. And most of all, I struggled emotionally. I'm a dramatic person; I feel everything deeply, and I found that the coping mechanisms I had in place just weren't cutting it to handle the day to day stress under which I found myself. This was all very embarrassing, of course. I felt like a fraud, a failure. After all, it was just a job, just a career, nothing very important. My family was intact, my marriage was good, I was safe and could pay the bills, even if it was very close some months. So what did I have to complain about? But there it was, the burden, defying my rationalizations.
I even began praying that if this was going to be my lot in life that I could just disassociate- just stop having feelings, stop being affected, and wake up after retirement. I asked God to turn me into a working automaton. I knew even before I prayed it that He would never grant such a damaging request.
But I could write a long time on the sorts of thought processes I went through during that stage of my life. I analyzed it from every possible angle, and no matter what I did, I could never be really comfortable or satisfied with where I was- even on the best days, I was afraid, tired, stressed- and angry.
Fast forward. As I've written before, after returning from maternity leave I found I had learned better how to deal with many of the stressors that I experienced at work, and that I had a renewed passion for the work. I still felt poured out daily, but there were projects that I was excited about, and I was finding that my coworkers were listening to my ideas more often and coming to me for support.
Then I received the opportunity that put me into a different workplace back in February. I feel like a person carrying a giant burden who suddenly has that burden removed- I still find myself stooping to carry it, even though its not there- a sort of a phantom burden! But more and more I am standing up straight and looking around me and feeling like after half a decade my life is back.
Turns out, I didn't make any major life mistakes- it just took a longer time to see returns than I was expecting. This year, we finally paid off our credit card debt (Woo-hoo!), and we are even planning a little family vacation this fall. We own our own home, are in the process of paying off our vehicles, and this month I even had enough money to purchase some new shoes for work. For 30 years old, I think being this far along is pretty good! I now really enjoy my career and I'm excited about advancing in it. Our biggest hurdle left is student loan debt, which we've made small dent in, but its a small dent in a very large mountain.
The neatest thing about having some of these "big" things taken care of is that maybe I can begin taking care of some of the little things I've had to neglect over the years. I've recently renewed my interest in my garden- nothing fancy, just some lavender plants, a peach tree, some cacti, and a few bulb plants, all in pots because we still haven't gotten around to landscaping. I have to leave something to do in my 30's, right? I just purchased makeup again for the first time in several years and I'm actually trying to wear it; and through some miracle, my kitchen is finally clean more often than not and I'm cooking meals from home most nights. Now I'm hoping that I may be able to focus on physical health- like scheduling a dentist appointment (Blurgh!) and exercising consistently, giving blood, and spending time with friends.
So, I officially un-regret the work I had to do to get started. Its really starting to pay off, and I'm grateful to God for allowing me to succeed. Lots of people work hard without being successful; God has not only allowed me to plant my garden, but He's making it grow:).