The other day, I treated myself and soaked in the tub while rereading a favorite, The Happiness Project. The first time I read it was when I was teaching college kids in 2012. It was a very different life from the one I am living now and yet the inner resonance of my life remained the same: I wanted desperately to be happy. To wake up joyful and just at peace.
It was as if a million life times passed before I got to where I am today. Jobs passed, seasons turned, knowledge was learned, and major events occurred. In the deepest core of who I am, I believe I am still the girl I used to be but with the passing time and situations, some things shift and you see yourself changing and becoming a slightly different person than who you once wore.
Anyway, back to the book. Chapter three discussed the importance of finding work that you were passionate about — like you lived it, breathed it, and didn’t think of it as work. My shift from teaching to public relations once made me think that that I finally found the love that I was looking for. But as I continued to spend time in the world of Public Relations and everything attached to it, I found myself going back to the same question, what do I love to do?
This was a question I never dared to ask myself more than a few times a year, especially during high times of stress, late nights, and no weekends. My last job left me on an ever higher level of anxiety and here I am, a few months off of it and still experiencing anxiety attacks like no other. I am weaving my way through it and I should be fine but they still come in waves and threaten to consume.
On most days, I am more than ecstatic to have left a job that was so consuming that it burnt me out but on some days like last night, it left me feeling a little.. challenged.
I miss deadlines. I miss approving things. I miss thinking of solutions and I guess in a prideful way, I miss being important.
It led me back to the feeling of being “legitimate”, a term coined by Gretchen Rubin when she describe her short law career. She wanted to be a lawyer because she wanted to be legit but she found no joy in doing so and so she gave it up but with hesitation. It was her sister who brought her out of the funk of wanting to be important and actually being kind to one’s self.
Last night, it was my baby brother (who else). He reminded me of all the reasons I left, of all the things I’ve always dreamed of, and of resting from the chaos that was my life for a good four years. For the first time since graduating high school, I find myself without an end goal. For as long as I can remember, the goal was to be the best: in school, at work, at the gym, and everywhere else.
Living life constantly on the margin has left me with anxiety at 28 that I am trying to recover from. Being without deadlines for the first time in forever has left me with still feeling panicked every once in awhile but now I have all the time to pull back to my center and the core of who I am.
Learning to unlearn has been 2017’s greatest challenge and yet the ability to breathe and for once to not trying to keep nudging my way to the top has given me the opportunity to breathe and that, to be completely honest, feels so dang good.