So often I enter a new year with high hopes that it will be the “best ever.”
I’ll leave the drama behind, cut out negativity, good things will manifest and all my worries will fade away. I imagine I’ll spontaneously drop to my pre-pregnancy weight, I’ll find the money for a stellar beach vacation, and I’ll find the balance between work and home life. Generally, these dreams go up in smoke within a few weeks of the new year. This year has been no exception!
2017 was a really tough year. My boss retired and I entered a grueling and political interview process for a position I had been working towards for five years. I was pitted against one of my closest friends and colleagues. And in the end, the job went to someone else. My life felt uncertain and I was resentful. As the new boss arrived in June, she promptly decided I was no longer needed. On her second day I was placed on administrative leave. I gave my heart and soul to my career and now the future was uncertain. My position was eliminated at the end of the summer.
I went from being at the top of my game to unemployed.
My husband received a promotion, while my career was hanging in the balance. He deserved it and it was exciting, but our family dynamic fundamentally shifted. His work schedule, as a nurse, had been three days per week. Now, he works a more typical work week, but he brings work home with him. He’s also not around to go to the grocery store in the middle of the week! And, we find ourselves juggling schedules to get the kids to activities, attend meetings, and find time for a social life.
In October, I accepted a new job. It’s a great job with lots of promise and opportunity. However, there’s a great deal of stress in beginning a new role. I’m learning a whole new industry and working with a new team. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do extraordinary things and to make a difference.
Feeling the Pain of Friends and Family
Our family and friends also had their share of hard times.
My father fell quite ill in May and, as the child living closest, I became a fixture at the hospital as he recovered. Our dear friends learned their four-year old’s brain cancer had returned and he needed to undergo radiation and chemo. A close girlfriend was heartbroken after a long-distance relationship failed. Last month, I received some heartbreaking news about another close friend. Devastating news that makes me question what in the heck is going on.
My heart hurts. My emotions are all over the place. How do I balance how I feel with being a good mother, wife, child, friend, and boss?
As I struggle with my own sadness, the heaviness in these situations affects me. Still, I plaster on a smile and continue to move forward. I am careful not to let my kids see me upset. As a result, I cry in the shower and fill my time with distracting activities.
I’m in fake-it-till-you-make-it mode. Friends comment on how positive I am. If they only knew…
Will 2018 Be the Year?
I’d been looking forward to 2018 and putting 2017 behind me. Wanting to move on from the heartache and pain of a difficult 2017, I told myself that 2018 would be the year that everything comes together and I’d have it all figured out. Then, on January 2nd, our 1½-year-old dog suddenly dropped dead on a walk.
Thanks for keeping me in check, 2018.
It seems I am constantly bracing for the next traumatic event. But what if I didn’t brace myself? What if I embrace life one day at a time and stopped pressuring myself for perfection? What if it were safe to let myself feel real feelings, rather than sweeping them under the rug and acting like vulnerability is a dirty word?
Let’s support one another as life gets dirty; let’s laugh together and cry together. Let’s resolve to be better to ourselves and one another. I’m resolving to feel in 2018 – no matter what those feelings are.