Today, a post on Facebook led me down the rabbit hole and I discovered this post from No Sidebar. I nearly cried at my desk as I read it on my lunch break because it hit home so very much.
Maybe that’s why it’s hard to let go of past identities and the stuff that goes along with it. We spend years, even decades, carefully cultivating exterior facades to shape how we perceive ourselves and how we want others to perceive us.
So, when we no longer have that same facade we’ve spent so long developing (because of a career change, family shift etc), it can be incredibly painful. In these instances, we are literally losing a piece of ourselves. And that’s going to hurt.
Last week, I put my 2 weeks notice in at a job I’ve been miserable in for months. A job that I worked so very hard to get, and then worked even harder to do. A job that became so all-consuming and draining of my mental health to the point where anxiety kept me awake at night worrying about tasks I forgot because I was busy dealing with something else, worrying about spending happening without my knowledge and whether there was money in the budget to cover it, and spending the entirety of my days putting out fires and never feeling like I was getting ahead on the tasks I envisioned myself doing to improve everything overall.
The new job I’m taking is a step down, both in responsibilities and pay. It’s something I actively chose to do, because at this season of my life I felt as though the only option I have to maintain my sanity was to step back. And, ever since, my inner 16 year old has been berating me. That strong willed, determined girl who was so sure that she’d tackle anything handed to her and would refuse to give up is guilt tripping me for letting it get to me. That 16 year old would hate me for admitting that I need time for myself and my family (especially when, at 16, I would have flipped if you told me at 33 I’d be a mom as I was firmly in Camp Child-free for so long), when all she did was work and then come home and work on her freelance client work at home. I feel like I’ve already let her down by having to step away from my web design business projects because having a child has turned out to be far more consuming than I imagined, and now this.
But when life is no longer working for you… when you start feeling like you’re sacrificing your own well-being for a paycheck? It’s time to go a different direction, and this is probably the one time in my life that I actually happily embrace change (or, at least, I will once I get through sorting out all of these stupid feelings.)