I had an epiphany today.
I have spent a good deal of my adult life being busy. And thats ok, because I am quite good at time management, and on my best day I can walk down the street and chew gum at the same time, no problem.I raised a child on my own and worked and studied, simultaneously.I have decent organizational skills and robust good health. I consider myself fortunate.
But about 6 years ago I had a job that just sucked me dry. Not only was I expected to work harder than any person should have to, but the harder I worked, the less support I was given. I was, however, given all the responsibility, no authority whatsoever, I was underpaid and , often, outright bullied. Physically it took its toll- I have foot and ankle issues that will be-devil me to my grave. What I didn't realize was the psychological toll it had taken.
I had been there about 18 months when my son became ill, and I had to quit work all together to care for him. It's only in the last year (some 4 years later) that I have started working again, just casually and in a completely different field. And its been fine, not too stressful, going along at my own pace, gradually learning new skills and finding my way in a new career. Until this last month.
In order to get a particular qualification I need I have to do a whole crapload of work placement hours. This is basically working for free, as a student. But it requires full time work. I started my work placement about 3 weeks ago, and I found it really, really really stressful.
Not because of the work, but because all of a sudden I was having flashbacks to the last time I worked full time. The exhaustion, the fear, the helplessness, the bitter, black hearted resentfulness of knowing I was being taken seriously advantage of and not being able to do anything about it.
And this is where the epiphany came into it. I used to have a friend who said 'If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got'. I believe its from a self help book of some sort, but I always thought of that saying as distinctly hers. The thing is, if I respond to full time work the same way as I did the last time (i.e. with fear and anxiety and frantic activity), then I shall end up as resentful and broken as I became all those years ago. But if I take it easy, and don't rush, and remember that this is a completely different job in a different area, with different expectations.....then I feel better.
If I need to take a day off to take The Kid to a medical appointment, the world will not fall apart.
If I do not have the dishes done, the beds made, and dinner ready to go in the oven when I get back at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. I can just wash the dishes I need and order pizza.
I dont have to be the best, the brightest, the funniest, the most charming. I can just do the best I can on any given day and go at my own pace.
So this is me, today, embracing my imperfections, doing what needs to be done, but doing it at my own pace. Not feeling panicky and resentful. Just going about my business.
And on another topic altogether, look at my pretty new shawl.
Details on my Rav page for anyone who is interested.