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Life is Hard – Change is Harder

The last month has been a rough battle of internal turmoil and decision making. I haven’t written here for fear of the wrong person seeing the stuff I wanted to spill out before I was ready to talk about it.

Last night I shared with my significant other my plans for the future and how they didn’t involve him. After nearly three years together, I told him I would be going my own way next year so that I can start out on my journey to see the world. It was a hard declaration to make.

The feeling of fear I woke up with this morning at the realization that I’ve begun ripping my tidy, safe world apart just so I can start moving towards my dreams is indescribable. I feel guilty for wanting to do this and for telling him it was time for us to start down this path of seperation. I feel guilty that our lease is up January 1st and he has to find a place to live in two months that he can afford, while I’m taking the easy route and moving back in with my parents. I feel scared that I’m making the wrong decision. I’m afraid that I’ll regret this.

Have I gone insane? What reasonable person would give up an agreeable living arrangement with one of the few decent human beings on the planet to wander off into the big unknown alone? What is wrong with me that I can’t just be happy with a nice guy, a good job, a lovely apartment, and two sweet cats?

Breathe.

I’m very sure I need to do this. Even if I fail in the end, I need to at least try. Even though I feel supremely selfish in my decision to chase after my own happiness over keeping him happy, I know that this is the right decision and that if I don’t do it now I will never do it and I will resent everyone involved. I need to learn to put myself first. To quit playing mom to everyone who is hurting at the expense of my own happiness and well being. I have to stop trying to squish myself into the mold society has selected for me when I, very obviously, don’t fit in it.

All this being said, the plan is to leave for New Zealand in July/August of 2013. I will be getting a working holiday visa and plan to travel and work there for 6-12 months. I then hope to hop over to Thailand for a bit, and then maybe visit some friends in Europe. This is all dependent upon cost, of course, and one of the reason’s I’m moving back in with my parents is so I can put the maximum amount of my money into savings over the next several months.

I know a lot of people will think I’m crazy for doing this. So far the people I have chosen to tell what’s going on have been very supportive and think it’s great that I’m going (except my parents who are terrified for me!) so that’s been helpful. Now it’s just a matter of getting through the next couple of months with my significant other and tying up all the loose ends. It’s going to be an emotional time, but I hope we’ll both come out the other end only lightly scathed.

Hopefully now that I’ve started this phase of personal change I will be able to post a little more regularly again. I hope everyone is well and that everyone is in a less stressful place then I am at the moment!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Burn Out, Depression, Life, Stress, Travel

 

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Leaving the Past Behind

I had a breakthrough on Saturday afternoon. I was talking to a long time online friend and I got to talking about the past, and how I missed it. See, when I was 12 and first got on the internet I started collecting friends who were usually kids a couple of years younger than me. These friends usually had a lot of problems. Depression stemming for things like child abuse or neglect, suicidal thoughts, self harm, etc. My therapist and I had talked through all this and she had told me I basically became a mother to these friends, because I was the one there to listen, advise and comfort because they had no one else. As a child, I could never separate myself emotionally from their problems, so I would become depressed and terrified for their safety and it would add huge amounts of stress to my life. I still invest myself to emotionally in other people’s problems today, though I’m slowly getting better about it.

Well, this friend I was talking to is one of those friends I helped take care of then. I told her how hard it was lately, how I missed having her and the others to take care of. How I felt like I wasn’t a good friend anymore because everyone had grown up and didn’t need me like they used to. I felt guilty for feeling that way, because I am also so proud of all of them, because they went through so much and they are productive people today working on fixing their problems. I felt lost and broken without being able to be that person anymore. I, at some point, started to have a break down as I was telling her these things, which I really needed to do. I had been thinking about this stuff a lot over the last year, and every time I did I felt like crying but just couldn’t bring myself too. I didn’t really know why I wanted to cry until I started letting it out to her.

I sobbed, I hyperventalated, my head hurt by the time the tears stopped. But I feel better now. I feel like I can let it go and move on. It was something that weighed heavy on my heart and my self worth, and I don’t think I could have really gotten past it without being able to talk to one of the friends involved about it. I think I had to do that to really see that I was still seen as a good friend, even though I am no longer anyone’s emotional crutch.

Like the awesome friend she is, she talked me through stuff and comforted me. We talked about her struggles and how she is doing so much better now. She has worked through some of the same issues I’m currently working through and is healthier than I am today, which is quite the switch from 10+ years ago when we were kids.

Sometimes it’s very hard for me to separate my self-worth from what I do for other people. If I’m not helping or being useful to someone I don’t feel like I’m worth much. To be honest, it’s near impossible to feel like anything you are doing is worth much of anything when you have had periods in your life where you have actually kept people from killing themselves just because you are that person’s only friend.  An 8-5 job just seems like a waste of time when someone out there, in the same situation, doesn’t have a friend to talk to.

I am slowly realizing that I can’t save everyone. That I have to stop being so codependent. That I can’t be that person all the time because it makes me unhealthy and unhappy. I have to learn to not base my self worth on the happiness of other people, because I will always be unhappy if I do that. It’s a hard lesson for me to learn, but it’s starting to sink in. I deserve to be happy and to take care of myself before others. There is nothing selfish about that, there is nothing wrong with it.

This was kind of a rambling post, but I needed to get it out there. Thanks for sticking around through it if you did 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Depression, Mental Health

 

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What To Do – Travel, College, Career?

The problem with this quitting your job business is that you have to figure out what you want to do next.

It has become  very clear I can not stay at my current job. I told my therapist yesterday about all the reasons I wanted to quit. After listening to me she told me that it sounded like my company was taking advantage of me and my codependent nature (my newest label!) by paying me to little, not recognizing how important I am, and wanting me to take on managerial responsibilities without any of the perks. She has advised me to start searching for a new job or to make another plan for my future because it will be extremely difficult for me to continue to heal mentally if I stay in my current workplace.

This has made me feel a lot better about my feelings toward my job. I feel more justified in my frustrations and desire to quit. I feel less guilty about about giving up “such a good job” and moving on with my life.

I have come to the conclusion that I have three real options if I quit my current job:  Travel/Volunteer Bum, Nontraditional Student, or getting a New Job.

Travel/Volunteer Bum

My therapist seems to like my idea of going to volunteer in Thailand teaching computer skills to middle school students (through uvolunteer.org). I want to do this for at least two months so I can feel like I really had the experience of living there. This should also give me enough time to adapt and shake off a lot of my social anxiety about being in a strange place with new people and a completely different culture.

After that I would either move on to the Nontraditional Student path or see what opportunities I can find in the volunteer/travel field. If I could become a world travelling bum I’d very happy, I think. The thing is I’ve never traveled outside of North America so there is a chance I won’t like it. Plus, while I do have some money in the bank to support myself once I quit my job, travelling plus helping pay half the bills related to my significant other and I’s apartment would probably deplete them within a year easily. I would have to find away to make money while travelling, or find a job in the travel/volunteerism field back home.

Nontraditional Student

The last two years or so I’ve also been thinking about going back to school. Really, the only major that has really stuck out to me is one in Classics. For those of you that don’t know what that is, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or Classical Civilization) is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world (Bronze Age ca. BC 3000 – Late Antiquity ca. AD 300–600); especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity (ca. BC 600 – AD 600). Initially, the study of the Classics (the period’s literature) was the principal study in the humanities.

It just sounds like it covers so much, and I am interested in ancient history and think it would be fun to learn Latin. Not to mention it’s the type of degree that teaches you thinking  and communication skills, which I believe are really lacking in today’s society.

But university costs money.. lots of money. Plus, chances are I would have to relocate to attend a university that has this as a major. While I would love to travel around the world, for some reason moving somewhere else bothers me. I like the idea of being able to come home and be in my home town, even if I’m overseas for months at a time. Moving away for college to live doesn’t sit well though. It’s very weird.

A New Job

Of course, I could always look for another job in my current field. Right now I’m an IT person and will have 5 years of experience in June 2013. I could probably get another job somewhere else fixing computers or doing help desk work. Plus, if I don’t jump on to the next job then my current skill set will very quickly become out of date. IT people have to stay current or risk falling behind and becoming obsolete in their career track.

However, IT people are notoriously used, abused and under paid. We work nights and weekends along with our 40 hour a week day shifts.  We are expected to know everything there is to know about all things computer related, when really it takes a team of several people who specialize in specific parts of IT to run a department effectively. Plus, end users are usually horrible people who think they know more than you and know you could get things fixed quicker if you were really doing your job. Overall it’s a lot of stress, very little reward, and completely mind numbing, unimaginative work.

Decisions

I know, at the very least, I will most likely take two months to go to Thailand to volunteer as a teacher. My therapist is very on board with this and it sounds like an amazing thing to me, if a little to much like a dream that can’t possibly happen (even though it easily could). Since I was a kid and started making friends with people from different countries on the internet my goal has always been to travel the world, so this seems like a logical step to take. I’m not sure what I will do after that, it probably just depends on how things go there and if any opportunities make themselves known in the months before, during, and after it. But it is a first step, which I’ve always heard is the hardest part of change.

What are your plans for the future?

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Life, Mental Health, Travel, Work

 

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Being Me – The Pixie Cut!

Thursday night I did something that was entirely for me. Not the day to day me that I have become over the years.  No, this was the me I started to grow into as I left high school only to get through college and force it back down into the depths of my soul. I took a risk and did something I always wanted to do, that a lot of people thought I was crazy for. Something that would draw attention to me and make me self conscious. Something that others might judge and maybe even hate me for.

I got a pixie cut :]

Before: Long blonde hair.
After: Short copper hair!

My parents hate it, my coworkers have mixed reviews, my sister loves it, and my boyfriend thinks it’s cute 🙂

But none of them matter! I love it and I am having so much fun with it! It’s been styled four different ways in the last two days, something I could have never done with my longer hair! My inner child has always been a tomboy so what better way to express that then with a sexy, short cut?

So, yes, this was my big change! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and never had the guts to do. It was all my decision, no social/peer/cultural pressure to do it. I am dealing with the fact that a lot of people think it looks terrible and the cultural bias that women should have longer hair. All the negativity doesn’t bother me, and neither does all the attention, because I am very happy I did it. My only regret is that I did not do it sooner! I mean, less than 2 minutes to wash and condition your hair? Come on ladies, you can’t beat that!! ^_^

So, let me hear your opinions on pixie cuts! The good, the bad, and the biased 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Creativity, Mental Health, Therapy

 

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Never A Right Time For Change

I am going to do something crazy (for me) tomorrow that I’m hoping will be another step toward my independence from my social anxiety. I’m hoping I don’t chicken out, but I’m definitely freaking out a little bit! It’s not something so drastic as quitting my job, but it’s a major step in expressing my real self and bringing me out of hiding. If I go through with it, you will find out what it was in a post on Friday. If I don’t, the post on Friday will be something lame and you should all tell me what a chicken I am!! 🙂

Hope everyone is having a good week! Don’t forget to breathe deep!

 

 

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Don’t Settle

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Creativity, Mental Health, Therapy, Work

 

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Profit vs Progress – A Personal Struggle

The path to progress and profit

Image taken from an article on Good.Is titled Progress vs Profit

I am at a cross roads in my life. My current job pays the bills with extra to stash away in the bank, it has good benefits, and I am basically completely independent and can prioritize my day in any way as long as it benefits the company and stuff gets done.

However, my job does not make me happy. I do not feel like I am accomplishing anything, that I am giving back in any way, or that I am being challenged at all. There is no growth here, those above me on the food chain I often think are idiots or spineless, and a lot of my comments or suggestions fall on deaf ears. I take attitude from my users, tell my boss, and am told to “bite the bullet”. I ask for a reasonable raise, and I’m told that my boss has consulted the vendors that work for me and that they say that doesn’t seem reasonable. I do not hate my coworkers, but I enjoy the company of very few and have even fewer that I have a anything in common with. There is no creativity here. There is no self expression. It is a dull and lifeless place full of squabbling hens and cocky roosters.

I have decided I want nothing more to do with this “easy” life path to Profit, I want a fulfilling one that challenges me. I still want to Profit so I can pay my bills and feel financially secure, but I also want to feel like I’m on the path to Progress and doing something with myself and the world around me.  Not only does the squiggly line look like the harder path but it looks like there are way more chances for adventure on it. And my life, thus far, has been seriously lacking in any real adventures.

Growing up I always thought that money = freedom and debt = prison. I needed a lot of money to live a fulfilling life and to have a real sense of self-worth. I believed that up until I started writing this entry.  Money is a prison for me. The more I make, the more I need, and the less secure I feel. I keep saying that once I am making a certain amount of money a year, or have a certian amount in the bank, I will feel less stressed and more secure, but the closer I get to that goal the more anxiety I feel. The more money I have in the bank the worse I feel about buying anything at all. The bigger my financial cushion the more terrified I become of falling, failing, and losing it.

I feel better being able to mull over this internally and look forward to hearing Amy’s (and anyone else’s) thoughts on it. I don’t really know how I am going to get over my unhealthy relationship with money, but I’m ready for something to derail me from the Profit Path and get me started down the line with a little more Progress in it.

 

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