I go to work each day at a job that is “below” what I “should” be making….
About 8 years ago I worked for a bank that is actually right across the street from where I work now (three miles from my home, three miles from my daughter’s school). I was offered a promotion which took me to a 40 minute commute and longer hours. It was a lot more money. I thought I had made the right decision. Only after several years did I learn just how valuable my time and freedom really is. My family never realized any benefit from the additional income because of all the things I didn’t even know to factor in to my decision of where to work: I was spending tons of money ordering pizzas and paying someone to be at my home every afternoon for my kids. 12 hour days wore me down and it was around this time in life that I started picking up my drinking some (after all…I was working all the time and a single momma so I “deserved” it…LOL) . I was also working in an industry that welcomed lunchtime drinks and overindulgent after-work “wine-socials”….I missed flute recitals and soccer games….I missed dinners and homework hour…and it was soul-crushing for me…I fought with my kids…I missed parent teacher conferences…I grew frustrated, overworked and sullen.
So back to now…Over the past few weeks I have begun to lose sight of that story that I just told you. Why? Well, recently one friend got promoted to a position of high esteem…then another got appointed a professor position…and without me even realizing it the inner dialogue started: “What’s wrong with you? You are as smart as them…why are you working some middle management underpaid job? If only you hadn’t ______(fill in the blank with all the ways I found to berate myself)”.
So last week I listened to this berating voice (that has me convinced that I’m just losing the race with the Jones’ where my career is concerned) and I promptly submitted an application with my company for a job that pays a good deal more…but with a good deal more responsibility. On the other side of town. I am qualified for this job and will likely interview next week.
Then last night I was sitting on the couch with my daughter and she snuggled up to me and told me how wonderful she thinks our life is. As she was saying this, I had been looking around me at all the projects I had to do to “update” my house so I that when I get my new position I can be proud to entertain people in a house that would impress someone. In the moments before my daughter spoke I was thinking how shitty everything is: My house is ugly, my job is beneath me, I am still 15 or 20 lbs overweight, I am getting old and no one will ever want to marry me, my clothes are ugly,…ugh!
My daughter’s comment was powerful and it “snapped me out of it”. What the hell am I doing? Berating myself? Purposely applying for a job that won’t allow me to spend time with my family, go to school, or have breathing room? Oh my.
I decided to take some time this morning to be still and seek gratitude. All those years ago when I was in the high-paying position but miserable, I used to dream of having a job that would be “enough” but still allow me to do all the things I love to do…cook for my family, garden, take walks, further my education, volunteer…etc. And I have that now. I HAVE EXACTLY WHAT I ASKED FOR…And I’m not happy?
Wait a minute…I actually AM happy. BUT I was allowing a very shitty mind-set to propel me to start comparing myself to other people…to look around me with a magnifying glass at all of the things that are “wrong”.
I think I mentioned it before but this month, September of 2016…I can honestly say that all my bills are current and I’ve got my stuff together. I’m eating healthier and have lost some weight and I’m even finding peace with food in a very substantial and meaningful way. And I’m absolutely LOVING going to school…(I actually was offered a job in their tutoring center because of how much I help out other students). So many positives. Good health. Enough money. Opportunity. Living in a safe neighborhood and in a town where the economy is booming. An upcoming trip to see family for Thanksgiving.
This morning when my daughter woke up, she looked out the front door at some basil seeds we had planted (which we harvested from the mother plant last week)…and she said with absolute delight and light-heartedness “Come look mamma…the basil babies are here!). She is 16. She was smiling ear to ear and looking down at the tiny, tiny little sprouts with awe and delight. She was truly lost in the joy of the moment at the wonder that a plant could make seeds that make other new plants come to life. She did not care how much money we make, or if I had the latest granite counter-tops, or if my hair is grey…
After I took her to school…I broke down in tears of gratitude that I have my daughter to set me straight…Today I vow to practice acceptance, gratitude and self-care…and be mindfully present in my life.