Only now, 74 days after the fact, am I really slowing. Summer has shifted in. The course I teach is coming to a close (before another one starts), and I should, perhaps, be at my most relaxed.
Afraid not. I've felt darkness and self-doubt creeping in and successfully ignored it, but today I felt the full force of it. I had to sit down and spill to my husband.
I knew these feelings would come, and now I have to face them down. I've been listening to the Running on Om podcast for a while now, and it speaks to me in a variety of ways. It prompts me to reflect deeply. Today, though, I slipped on the slope of comparison, and Running on Om prompted me to a deeper dive. To a fuller realization of stress. Of self-doubt.
Here's what got me. Living in a small town, I see and talk to a lot of people I grew up with. People who have made vastly different life choices, have taken a variety of paths. I realized a while back, that a person I genuinely like, with whom I've always had a really good relationship, is in a high position within the school district where we live. She's younger than me, is making more money than me, lives in a bigger house, drives a nicer car. Comparison put me in a bad place.
It's not that I begrudge her any of those things. She's been on a very specific path for the majority of her adult life. She's lived here and done one career which has taken her continually up the ladder. She's worked hard, and I'm certain she's very good at what she does.
My own choices have been very different, and it was in that moment of comparison that I had to start grappling with where my choices have brought me.
- I have to come back to terms with my career choices. They have been nuanced and zig-zagged. I have vast experience, but it has not been linear. It has not been accumulated in one place.
- We don't own our house. It is not sizable or new. I've been a nomad criss-crossing the country, taking things as they come, sloughing off belongings until just a few years ago.
- My decision to leave my full-time position has stymied our real estate momentum.
I feel guilty and less. I am emotionally taxed and tearful. Do I expect these things of other people in my life? No. Do I realistically think they mean a damn thing? No. But where you see yourself when you're young and where you end up as an adult can be so different. It's funny how those ideals hang on and resurface. Even when you think you've moved beyond them.
I'll be fine. I know that. I'm having a cupcake now and going to a family graduation ceremony tonight. I'll have a good, challenging run in the morning. I'll reflect and move on, but right this minute, the weight on my shoulders is heavy, and loosening the steam valve by posting here is necessary.