One Month but Who's Counting?
Getting a job at 42 is like getting a tattoo...
Go big or go home, this seems to be my unintentional life mission statement. Truthfully it doesn’t matter what I am doing, thinking about doing, or have done, I have a strong tendency to take whatever it is and make it bigger. The daydreaming (and let’s be honest planning) of all the places I would go once I got my foot in the door at the credit union started before I even interviewed for the job. Once I accepted the job it really gained speed, once I started the job, I stepped onto the emotional roller coaster of reality.
For better or worse this is a ride I’m on frequently due to my very active imagination. It has gotten me into trouble more than once, and it is also my greatest asset, learning to manage this ride, the highs, lows, twists, and turns, is probably the lesson I am set to uncover in this life. Every time I get on the ride, there are familiar parts, old parts that seem new, and new stuff. The old new stuff that I am “having the opportunity to grow from” (that’s self help speak to make really hard stuff seem like you should like it) is looking my Ego in the eye.
Truthfully, I know my Ego but, I do my best to dress her up in different things to avoid acknowledging her. She gets in the way, she’s ruined things for me in the past, I have a hard time seeing the good in her, and rather than looking her in the eye and having the tough conversations I have employed my best tactics to avoid the confrontation. I mean, let’s be honest, having a confrontation with yourself? Rough.
Starting a job, typically reserved for early twenty somethings as a:
42 year old
mother of 6
married for almost 22 years
well, it’s as easy as it sounds (for the record, that was sarcasm).
It kinda reminds me of what it is like getting a tattoo. I found the perfect thing, I thought about it and over thought about it, and decided it’s now or never, but definitely the tattoo I want, so let’s do it. The appointment is scheduled, I showed up with nerves, excitement, and some slight reservations. I confirmed the work to be done, the location is prepped, I took a deep breathe the artist fired up the tattoo gun and began and I suddenly and quietly wondered: WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE? WHY AM I PAYING SOMEONE TO BURN ME WITH A FIRE NEEDLE? WAS THIS ACTUALLY MY IDEA? PEOPLE DO THIS ON PURPOSE?
Naturally I had on my best poker face, and when asked how I was doing I coolly respond, great. I’m doing great. Hell, knowing me I probably cracked a joke. Show no fear! My basic training kicks in, breathe are you breathing? Remember for what reason you chose this, you’ll be grateful in the end, in order to have a tattoo you have to get a tattoo. These thoughts are intermingled with, I did this? I chose this? Are we there yet?
Translation: while there have a been some really good days at work over the past 4 weeks, there have been some days where I am wondering: WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE? Sure, I could do the internet thing and skip right to the gratitude portion of this speech, but that’s one of the things that guided my decision to step out of the self help world, the rush past the pain, or only sharing the pain once you have the gratitude isn’t helping anyone.
Sure I was grateful when my first paycheck hit the bank, I have had some good laughs with co-workers and credit union members, I’ve learned quickly, deposited cash that surely came from a stripper (my imagination and comic act rarely if ever take days off), and though I am not there yet; I can see that part where I’m grateful for the courage and willingness I’ve had to look my Ego in the eyes and ask her “for what reason are you responding this way”, instead of putting a new outfit on her and calling her a different name to avoid the learning and change.
I’m learning and growing and recognizing all the ways this is fulfilling me, however, the challenge of unraveling insecurities, acknowledging my weakness, and coming face to face with myself as I learn to interact with the world as this version of me is exhausting, emotional, and hard. Fortunately, the actual job is starting to make sense, so having more energy to put into all this emotional stuff is coming back. I’ve come home in tears at least once a week, being able to teach my kids from this place has been humbling, I never really considered the importance of teaching from a place of weakness instead of strength, so remind me in 6 months to circle back and add this to the gratitude pile. I’m not ready to gush with gratitude yet and that’s okay. Deep in my core I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be, I know this because the thought of not showing up sounds more difficult than the showing up does.
If I have learned anything in the past 42 years it’s that life continues to happen, it may not all happen everyday, but it balances itself out. Like looking at what a toddler is eating, if you base their health off of one day of intake you could panic about their nutrition but if you take a 7-10 day aerial view you immediately see the balance.
What I can say about the last 4 weeks is I feel a deeper sense of self, a greater satisfaction with life, pride that I keep showing up when quitting is an option, and a small, quiet, growing excitement at this part of the journey.
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