Ode to a Home-Cooked Meal
Hi everyone! Thanks for being patient while I got my shit together again after the wedding was over. For the record, I was going to write about planning a wedding while trying to manage anxiety and depression, but it was too triggering for me to get it onto paper. Maybe someday I'll write that piece but for now I'm so happy to just close that book and look toward the future with my new husband. Here's a photo from the big day!
The other massive change I've been taking on is a new job! I had my job at the symphony for four and a half years and since high school I was dead set on getting the job I ended up having. I took so much pride on the fact that immediately after college I got the job I had been dreaming of. I mean no one does that! And that fact was not lost on me in the slightest. So when I realized it wasn't what I actually wanted to be doing, it kicked off a three year grieving process that has now led me to my new job at a behavioral health organization.
I stuck around because at the end of the day, I really and truly loved the work I was doing and who I was doing it with. But the kind of work I was doing was like half arts administration and half social work; which meant constant work with marginalized populations, constantly holding space for heavy, horrible things - and to be perfectly honest, it wasn't leaving a lot of room leftover for a life of my own. Even saying that feels icky, because I am lucky enough to live with privilege and good fortune and I really do believe that we need to all help each other if we are to leave this planet better than we found it. But it was that kind of hard emotional kind of work, paired with commuting sometimes 4 hours a day, depending on traffic, that is really what broke the camel's back.
But, it didn't occur to me until I was so burnt out you'd mistake me for toast that I could be helping people in a different job with a better commute! It's an obvious thing now, but when you're so emotionally invested in something you don't always have the ability to see these other options.
I actually ended up putting in my notice without having anything else lined up. I gave myself four months before I officially needed a new source of income. All I knew is that I needed out for my own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Ultimately I ended up having to push up my end-date by two months because I ended up accepting my new job!
And guys...this new job is perfect for me. What I'm doing there is creating and managing their volunteer program that helps therapy clients re-enter the workforce. It's only been one full week and my life has gotten so much easier, lighter, happier, simpler. As much as my last position gave me (confidence, perspective, friends, love, experience, every other good thing in my life), being able to have a life and a job is just what my life was missing. Looking at those words kind of makes me feel silly, because obviously that's what a balanced life is missing: balance. But writing it out and really knowing it to be true is so empowering. It's the reassurance I needed, once and for all, that this was a good choice.
How did I get to this point? Well it was after a fairly mundane thing happened: I made dinner. It was on Thursday. I got off work at 5:00pm, just like my last job. I stopped by the grocery store after work to grab some ingredients for dinner, went home, started drinking a Corona with lime (one of life's greatest pleasures), and made a simple pasta dish. By the time I sat down for dinner it was 6:45pm, the time I had been getting home for the last few years (on good traffic days). And you guys, I shit you not, I literally started crying a little bit. If I was still at that job and making that commute, none of this would be happening until like 9:00pm? Depending on the day? And then I would have maybe an hour before needing to start going to bed because I have to make that commute again the next morning? Therefore leaving no time left to really decompress before having to do it all over again, compounding stress on top of stress on top of stress on top of anxiety and depression. NOT A GOOD COMBINATION. YA HEARD IT HERE FIRST.
Having control of my life was worth all this scary change. It gave me energy to cook food, which is a nice contrast to eating out of boxes because the thought of having to cook something at the end of the day is just the fucking worst after commuting anywhere between three and five hours every day. I'm seeing my friends more often now and actually wanting to because I have enough energy to do so. I've started writing again. I even played the piano the other day. I see the mundane parts of life in a whole new light, because now I have the time and energy to do those mundane things! I'm getting myself back and it feels even better than I imagined.
Now, I know there will be hard days. But I think I'll be able to take them in stride now instead of being crushed by them.
I guess what I'll leave you with is this: Make the change you know you need to make to have control of your life. There's always a million and a half reasons not to do something. But sometimes the reason of a home-cooked meal is all the reason you need to make that change and make your life what you, and only you, know it has the potential to be. It's going to be scary, and it may not feel very good for a while, but you are the only person who has the right to your life. Isn't that a tremendous thing? So take the opportunity to do what you gotta do. And if that opportunity doesn't present itself, do it anyway. You got this. You know you do.