5 Miles Today; I’m Back!

I ran 5 miles today!  I can’t even remember the last time I hit that milestone; many, many months. For a long while, I haven’t had the motivation or energy to keep up with my usual running routine. A good week was a couple 3 mile runs and a bad week was absolutely no mileage.  As I describe in a previous article, the Quarter Life Crisis, I have been in a terrible slump, funk – whatever you want to call it.  I believe the main problem was my dissatisfaction with my job; I felt like my career was on a path of pure mediocrity. (For any SpongeBob fans – the thought of my career being comparable to Squidward’s clarinet playing was devastatingly unacceptable.)  To make matters worse, I was on medication for anxiety that I believe was increasing feelings of depression and I was feeling lonely living by myself and doing the same mundane routines every day.  I constantly felt angry and disgusted with myself that I was allowing myself to play a victim and feel sorry for myself all the time.  But, I felt even angrier that I had no idea how to fix it.  So, as the saying goes, drastic times call for drastic measures.  In a period of about 2 months, I had moved back home with my parents, rented my house to my brother and a friend, quit my job without any prospect of a future job and gradually weaned myself off of my anxiety prescription (with help of a doctor).

At each of these events, I wanted to instantly feel better.  When I moved back home I did feel good for the first few days, but I knew I was still not myself.  Although I was in the company of my parents and sometimes my nana, I still felt separated.  I worried I was  going to burden them with my lousy moods and negativity.  At the time, I was still working at the job that did not fulfill me in any way and I was still weaning myself off the anxiety medication.  It was not long after moving in with them that I decided to quit my job as well.  Because I was living with my parents and had a good amount of savings, I knew it was not totally irresponsible.  So, I gave my notice and felt instantly relieved. But, that didn’t last long.  I got cold feet and gave into the temptation of the possibility of a promotion.  I withdrew my resignation and stayed.  Within a few days, I deeply regretted it.  The feeling of a weight being lifted when I gave my notice disappeared and an even heavier weight fell upon me.  It was like I lifted Dorothy’s house off of me one day and the entire Emerald City fell on me the next.  This promotion would mean continuing to do the same work with the addition of managing other co-workers.  What was I thinking?  I felt extremely embarrassed to have to give my notice twice in just a matter of weeks, but I knew I had to.  Each day I stayed there, I felt more and more miserable.  I didn’t even have the strength to give a full two weeks’ notice this time.  I gave a little over a weeks’ notice and even that felt like an eternity, but I didn’t want to leave without cleaning up as much of my work as possible.  Even when my last day came, I felt like only a small amount of the weight, or a portion of the Emerald City, had been lifted from me.  I didn’t feel like a new person, I wasn’t a born-again optimist like I thought would magically happen the instant I walked out of my office for the last time.  I felt better, absolutely, but still not myself.

A couple weeks after my last day of work, I officially was off the anxiety medication and again wanted instant gratification.  To the contrary, I felt even worse, I even had a complete meltdown one night when I couldn’t find the olive oil I use to make homemade microwave popcorn.  (Again to all the SpongeBob fans – I felt like I was overreacting even more than Mr. Krabs when he lost his millionth dollar.)  I did some research and found that symptoms could be more pronounced for up to several weeks of going off the medication; lovely.  So, a few meltdowns later and I’m finally feeling more like myself than I have in a very long time.  That 5 miles I hit today wasn’t just a running milestone, it was a feeling of being back again.  I’m in control now.  I’m strong again and I’m going to use that strength to try to think more positively and not constantly put myself down.  I know I’m not magically going to be Miss Optimism, but with little steps in the right direction, I will definitely get rid of Wench Negativity!

back in saddle

 

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Ariel in the Real World

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Look at my job

Isn’t it neat?

Wouldn’t you think my career is complete?

Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl

The girl who has everything?

Look at my houses

Treasures untold

How many rent checks can one account hold?

Looking around here you’d think

Sure, she’s got everything

I’ve got IRAs and pensions a-plenty

I’ve got stress free commuting galore

You want sick days?

I’ve got twenty!

But who cares?

No big deal

I want more

I wanna feel excited again

I wanna feel, wanna feel real happy

Walking around wearing that, what do you call it?

Oh, smile!

Sittin’ at a desk, you don’t get too far

Standing is required for jumping, dancing

Free from the feeling of, what’s that word again?

Exile!

Out where they walk, out where they run

Out where they stay all day in the sun

Wanderin’ free, wish I could be

Part of that world

What would I give if I could live out of job safety?

What would I pay to spend my days being active?

Bet’cha I’d feel, feel more at ease

Bet you I’d get so much more accomplished

Bright young woman, sick of dreamin’

Ready to stand

And ready to know what the country holds

Research my questions and get some answers

What are food sensitivies and how can I, what’s the word?

Learn!

When’s it my turn?

Wouldn’t I love, love to explore the passions I have?

Out from my desk

Wish I could be

Part of that world

 

 

Quarter Life Crisis

I am aware that I have not posted in quite some time, but the reason is simple.  I feel as though I have lost every last speck of self confidence I have.  I am angry, confused and sad all at once almost all of the time.  Why am I sharing this publicly?  Why not?  Honesty is the best policy, right?  Well, honesty has taught me that I am expendable at my job even though I thought I was bringing unique skills.  Because of that, I am angry that I allowed myself to stay in a position that did not allow me to grow my skillset, I am confused about what career path to take next and I am sad that no other employers seem to find my education and employment history desirable.  I feel as though I have no positive options.  Family and friends want me to stay put, stay in the safety zone.  Every day I think of ways out, paths to freedom, but every day I see a new path; there is no consistency.  Monday I may think about quitting without another job lined up and spending my free time taking online professional courses, joining a gym to see if I could make a career out of being a personal trainer and volunteering to help the elderly in some way.  Then Tuesday comes along and I think I should get a journalism certificate because I like writing and I like staying current on politics.  Wednesday rolls around and I want to be a paralegal, a position that is always busy and involved with important information.  Aah Thursday, the day I think it is best to stay put and wait for some supposed staff changes to occur.  Finally Friday and I want to get a finance or accounting job at a large Boston corporation.  Saturday and Sunday I beat myself up for being a walking question mark with a stormy cloud over its head.  Then the week starts again and I have new delusions of grandeur that will set me back even further.

For those close to me reading this, please know that I am not proud of these negative feelings.  I want to be positive again and stop feeling sorry for myself, but apparently I need more time.  I have tried to fight it with exercising daily, adjusting vitamins and clearing my mind by reading more, but those strategies have only served as a temporary bandage.  For now, all I have is hope that in time something will change to lift me out of this terrible rut.

The Daily Post: Aware

Depression, You’re Fired!

I realize that I have not posted to my blog in some time.  Although I do not like to make excuses, the reason for this lull in posts is due to the worsening of my feelings of sadness as mentioned in my post From Frivolous to Significant.  It has been getting to the point where more days than not I struggle to get myself out of bed in the morning, I cry to the point of hyperventilation over petty problems and I lack the energy and motivation to keep up with my usual exercise routines.  At this point, I knew it was more than just moderate sadness, it was depression.   I sought the help of a behavioral therapist, but the sessions did not seem to be helping.  If anything, I only felt worse after each session because I was afraid my therapist thought I was boring or thought I didn’t have a problem severe enough to be seeking her help.  But, I still had my determination, despite all of the negative feelings I was constantly having and I refused to just quit and let depression get the best of me.  I knew the source of my depression was my feeling of disappointment in my current job – not feeling challenged and thus not feeling like I can make a positive impact.  Up until now, I have been trying to fight the depression by choosing a new career path.  I seriously researched information on the steps needed to become a Registered Dietitian, a Journalist and an Electrician.  I also considered, albeit less earnestly, a career as a Forensic Accountant, a Landscape Designer, a Librarian and a Paralegal.  I thought that starting a completely new career would recharge me and give me the energy and motivation to start looking at life with more positivity.  However, I think these constant new career ideas just made the depression worse.  After spending many hours researching some of these careers and even reaching out to contacts with more information about the career, I would soon sink into a feeling of failure and hopelessness.  Whether I realized that the class times made it impossible for me to maintain a full-time paying job or that I could not overcome the fear of being unable to adapt to the extreme change in working environment, I would always decide that the new career just was not right for me.  It was like I was riding the amusement ride I despise most, the Superman Roller Coaster at Six Flags, over and over again – the anticipation of riding the coaster while waiting in line, the building excitement while chugging up the steep hill and then the terrible plunge that never ends and the impossibility of stopping it.  First, I would feel anticipation at starting to research information about this new career, then I would feel excitement as I pictured myself working in the field.  Finally, it was always followed by steep plunge into self-disgust as I realized that the career path was not realistic for me for various reasons including finances and work culture.

Recently, I reached out to a former boss about his ideas on yet another idea I cooked up, pursuing another master’s degree in Economics.  His response struck me as harsh at first, but it was advice that I desperately needed to hear from someone who was not family.  He basically told me to stop with all these new ideas.  To further support his advice, he told me that in his experience, he does better when he makes a solid plan for the near future and sticks to it.  Although the final result does not always end as he intended, it creates a goal, it creates stability and purpose.  I haven’t yet decided on what that plan will be, but I am certain that I will stop the endless cycles of starting a new career and a new life because it obviously is not doing me any good.  Since this conversation with my former boss, I have still had some sad days.  These days may never stop completely, but if I don’t put in any effort, it is certain they will never stop.  At the very least, I can fight to reduce them.  I need to focus on my strengths and do what makes me happy than constantly waste my time and energy feeling sorry for myself.  There are plenty of things I can do that make me happy, like exercising, trying new recipes and reading.  Like my former boss said, if I take some time to relax and stop worrying about every fine detail of my career, the next chapter of my life may come naturally.

From Frivolous to Significant

For the past few weeks, I have been feeling embarrassingly glum.  I felt unmotivated, unimportant, and unenthusiastic.  I lost interest in things that typically make my happy, like baking, renovating my house and spending time with family.  After thinking about what could be causing this drastic change in attitude, I realized it was the fact that I had nothing in the immediate future to look forward to.  I thought that writing would help me better organize and articulate my feelings, which it did at first, but then it brought thoughts of rejection and insignificance.  I explored my contacts and even reached out to a magazine editor, but none of my ideas were panning out.  (I understand I just started becoming serious about several weeks ago, but as a person with little, if any, patience, lack of progress is devastating.)  The negative thoughts just kept coming and then I would feel worse about myself for not accomplishing anything because of my lack of energy; normally an active person, an over-achiever at times.

Luckily, thanks to my father, I now have something to look forward to in the near future.  He knew I was struggling to find my career path and that I was unhappy and recommended that I get my real estate license.  It was like he was Geppetto and I was his broken clock.  Although I knew what was wrong with me, I was unable to fix myself; I needed guidance, someone who knew my cogs and dials.  Like my father, I have a great interest in real estate.  He definitely has the edge on me as far as construction and renovations, but I understand the financial aspects of real estate and have work experience to show for it.  With this unique knowledge and the boost of confidence I received from his recommendation, I am ready to pursue a new career path and have a clear understanding of the steps needed to do so.  The morning after his suggestion, I contacted the real estate agent that my parents and I used for the purchase of four different properties in the last few years and asked her for advice.  As if everything was meant to be, she seemed as excited as I was that I was pursuing a career in real estate.  She recommended a realty school to me and even offered to continue assisting me as a new real estate agent.  I can think of no better expression than to say “it turned my frown upside down.”

After deciding to focus on real estate, I was unsure if I should continue pursuing my passion for writing as well.  Since I wasn’t getting anywhere as a professional writer, I initially thought I should just give it up and quit wasting my time.  However, a few days after this, I received an Easter present from my aunt that made me wonder if I should change my opinion on writing.  Her Easter gift to me was a weekend away to New Hampshire for a change of scenery to improve my writing.  For someone who does not typically write to research ways to improve writing skill was incredible to me.  It’s always a good feeling to know that others care about your interests, but to go to that length is truly amazing.  Although I was deeply touched by my aunt’s gesture, I still was not 100% convinced that I should still continue writing.  But once again, Dad comes to the rescue.  He probably had no idea how meaning full his one sentence text message would be to me, but it is the final push I needed to feel motivated to write about my thoughts again.  His text was a recommendation of a website that he saw that had tips on writing a book.  Although it was a simple text, knowing that he is encouraging me to continue writing is better than hearing back from any magazine or newspaper editor.  It reminded me that having the support of family is more important than having professional accolades.

Needless to say, these recent events have definitely pulled me out of my funk.  Though it is difficult to imagine positivity when feeling so gloomy, I hope that I remember to look back on this post if I ever find myself in such a gloomy state again.

Daily Post: Frivolous

The Window and the Mind

The window was opened to breathe the fresh air.

The mind was opened to inspire the new idea.

The scent of mowed lawns and chirping birds flowed through the window.

The plans and thoughts and visions and dreams flowed through the mind.

The hours passed and a storm blew in, causing the closing of the window.

The hours passed and reality hit, causing the wavering of the mind.

The window was strong and held up to the rain.

The mind was strong and held up to the pain.

The window will survive the storm and be opened tomorrow.

The mind will overcome the doubt and defeat the sorrow.

 

Daily Prompt – Window

The Daily Fight

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Everyday feels like a fight to put out the growing embers of self-doubt, negativity and confusion. My career and lifestyle did not turn out the way I had imagined.  Looking back on old high school essays, my aspirations at the age of 18 entailed a marriage, children and ownership of a small bakery business.  None of those dreams have turned into a reality ten years later.  Although, I still hope to start a family at some point in my life, I am proud of my accomplishments and independence as a single home-owner.  However, the fact that I have not successfully achieved independence in my career as a small business owner gnaws at me constantly like hunger pains that cannot be satisfied.

Choosing to purchase a home now seems like both a blessing and a curse. I adore my house and all the comforts that come along with it, such as privacy, quiet time and freedom to invite company.  Yet, homeownership also means a dreaded monthly mortgage payment and unexpected home repairs (furnace death, roof ailments and electrical disorders to name a few).  With such a demanding financial burden, it is quite frankly terrifying to consider taking the plunge into entrepreneurship.  If I lost my house, it would feel as though I had lost a piece of my identity.  My house represents independence, ambition and determination.  Nevertheless, the strong feelings I have toward my house do not compensate for the ache I have for career independence.

I have considered many options including an at-home bakery, an Excel spreadsheet maintenance and creation business and now a freelance writing career. The former two plans always seem to spark and then fizzle out over time.  The bakery would involve adherence to strict health regulations that I have difficulty interpreting while the Excel business was ruled out rather quickly because I want to break away from my current career in finance and accounting.  This field has yet to bring me a sense of fulfillment.  Although I may have a talent for numbers, formulas and financial principles, it does not translate into enthusiasm, excitement or eagerness.  The last and most recent option, freelance writing, has brought back a sense of pleasure that I have not experienced in many years.  I am diving into it head first.  So far, I queried a home improvement magazine pitching a few articles on some of the DIY projects I completed on my home, I applied to an interesting freelance posting involving article writing for local small businesses and their start-up stories and I created this WordPress blog.

The writing world is still very new to me, but I refuse to let that become an excuse to let the writing spark fizzle. I have spent many hours researching the industry, bookmarking helpful sites and reading stories about those who were once in my position.  Nevertheless, I still struggle to overcome a lingering feeling of uncertainty as though I know my destination, but I lack the map to get there.  As a person who prepares lunch for the next work day, lays out exercise clothes for the next morning and writes lists of to-dos for the week, this uncertainty is unnerving to say the least.  I need to constantly remind myself that positive outcomes are possible even without the aid of a specific plan or outline.  Completing this prompt today has served as that daily reminder and now I can see smoking ashes where the embers of flame once were only moments ago.thYD3RNLVTDaily Prompt: Fight