What the what?

First let me begin by saying happy New Year to all of my readers. I appreciate your continued support, and I hope that 2017 finds you happy and healthy.

Next, as many of my long time readers know, I typically do a “year in review” sort of post that outlines some things that I’ve accomplished in terms of my quest for sustained happiness in everyday life. Also in that post I usually mention some goals that I have for the coming year and how I plan to achieve them. I haven’t done that this time, and truthfully, I have no intention of doing so. In hindsight, 2016 was a trying year in a number of ways. It began with my small family being displaced and sleeping on floors and couches. 2015 ended the same way after we sold our former home, but by 2016, it had been more than three months of this, with a small child. It had grown cumbersome and I was quite exhausted. The year was a train wreck to the bitter end in many ways, albeit sprinkled with joys.

I was fortunate to see my daughter take her first steps, say her first words and now, all the things that followed those milestones. We are no longer displaced and I have a comfortable, but at times extremely stressful, job that pays most of the bills. What’s different though is that for the last several months, I’ve lacked motivation to do the things that I’ve been meaning to do, or things that bring me joy. Writing has fallen by the wayside for sure. I don’t like feeling unmotivated and depressed. I’m sure there are some people who relish in their misery, but I am simply not that person.

I am also acutely aware that 100% happiness, 100% of the time is also unattainable and frankly, unwanted. I know that if you’re never unhappy, happiness is no longer special and it then becomes the “norm” by which everything is then measured. If you don’t live up to that new level, unhappiness reigns. However, my quest for daily joys has taken me to interesting places. While I have not been writing as much, I’ve been reading a lot more.

I’ve been reading articles on topics I find interesting. I’ve also been following the disaster that is American politics. Every bit of it makes me sad and angry. I’m disappointed in so many ways that things are as they are, and hope that it rights itself sooner rather than later. I’ve also been reading books and taking on new and challenging, well, challenges. For instance, I finally started the meditation challenge that I’ve been putting off for the better part of nine months. I have to meditate for ten minutes each day, for 30 days. It’s been rather difficult, but that’s mostly due to my own anxiety and insecurity. I’ve also been doing a yoga challenge, since I’ve not had as much time to devote to going to yoga classes as I’d like. Every day I do X amount of sun salutations, increasing throughout the month. It’s been good for the most part, as I do the yoga and then the meditation. The issue is that if I do not do it in the morning when I wake up, I end up falling asleep during the meditation. I’m a very early riser, so trying to meditate in the evening before bed, is not practical. I’ve since gone back to my morning routine.

Since I’ve been doing some reading and listening to audiobooks, my friend recommended an unconventional “self-help” book that I loved based solely on the title. The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck has ultimately changed the way I see my quest and how I will pursue it further. It resonated with me so much that I, in fact, have started listening to it a second time. I listened to the entire book in one day. There are parts of it that resonate a little more strongly than others, obviously, but it was truly refreshing to hear someone say that sometimes, life fucking sucks, and that’s ok.

Not only does life sometimes suck a whole lot, and not only is that ok, but feeling crappy about things is sometimes ok too. Too often these writers gloss over the fact that we are humans and we grow from adversity and suffering. If we do not allow ourselves to experience these negatives to the fullest, we will never achieve the kind of happiness we so desperately seek. And not only that, but if we “seek” it with such drive and ferocity, we are unlikely to actually attain what we’re looking for. It’s kind of like that old adage about finding your keys when you stop looking for them, or they’re in the last place you look (because who would keep looking after they found them?). You find them because you’re both fucking over it and give up, or you come to grips with the fact that you’ve looked everywhere and you just might have to walk. That’s when they pop up and usually in a place that you’ve already inspected.

The point is this: Stop looking so damn hard for happiness. And furthermore, once you’ve stopped looking so intently for a moving target, look deeper at the metric by which you measure your happiness, and with some perspective shifting, you may actually come to see you’re closer than you thought.

For instance, I’ve been feeling rather unhappy at my job. Yes, there are really great aspects about it, but I am still left feeling like I want to move on. I’ve got incredible flexibility and almost zero oversight by my bosses. I’ve got a practically nonexistent dress code, and long stretches in which I stare blankly at my computer screen while listening to music, or in this case, audiobooks, and surfing the internet. The people I work with are pretty exceptional and we typically work well together. There’s nobody I particularly dislike, which is incredibly rare. Yet, there’s a sense of unease and malaise.

Part of it is because, while extremely stressful at times, it’s not challenging. I do not feel as though I am solving real problems, but rather doing busy work and nothing of real consequence. The other problem is that the corporate culture is that of “Old Boy’s Club”, where many people have been here for decades and the vast majority of them are middle-aged white men. There are few women in positions of authority, and virtually none of them are in the department where I reside. I’m the only woman in my department in this city. So, it is exceptionally difficult for me to move up within my department, because there are few opportunities and there’s this idea that women are not meant for this department, due to the nature of the work. I do not work outside in the warehouse, but they are the folks I support in my position.

And I recognize, after listening to this most recent book, that I carry with me a bit of entitlement. I am well educated, but I am in basically the same position I’ve been in for more than the last decade. Granted I’m making a slightly larger salary and have a few more responsibilities, the functions are essentially the same. This frustrates me. I feel entitled to a better role, people taking me more seriously than they do, and ultimately Master’s level compensation for my time. I also am keenly aware that I rock at doing my job. I know that and have been told that time and again. But I don’t feel as though I’m valued beyond lip service. I am not given truly important responsibilities or compensated to an amount that I feel I should be. This is pure entitlement. I feel like I spent so much time and an ungodly amount of money on my education, I should be doing more for myself. And of course, my line of work and my education are completely dissimilar. Getting into my field has proven to be impossible through conventional means, and truthfully, I’ve given up on that battle.

Instead, I’ve allowed myself to become bitter, entitled and indignant. This has gotten to the point in which I would rather bitch about my lack of opportunities than to find something more aligned with my values. I half-heartedly started a business with a friend, but got so discouraged because she wasn’t nearly as motivated as I was. She started out saying she was motivated, but when the time came, her values and mine just don’t seem to line up. That doesn’t mean she’s wrong or to blame, we just don’t seem to be on the same page. She’s got an extremely full plate, and I feel like I perhaps pushed her into this venture a bit too fast for her comfort. And I’m sorry and wrong for overstepping that boundary. I certainly can’t be mad at her for not wanting to just jump in with both feet into a dream that she might not necessarily share.

So I feel stuck. I feel stuck as the breadwinner of my household, unable and unwilling to make changes because of fear and financial stress. And what’s worse is that I’ve not been taking responsibility for those feelings until now. I’ve been blaming the job market, my husband being lazy, my friend not being motivated “enough”, and many more excuses. I’ve been an entitled ass. That’s a tough pill to swallow. I hate being wrong, and more importantly, I hate being unaware of my truth (my truth being the reality of my feelings and behaviors, and how I allow myself to interact with those around me). What’s worse is that aside from being painfully unaware of reality, I’ve also been kind of a dick to myself, my friends, and my family.

Now the options in front of me are as follows 1) keep doing the same thing, while knowing the truth, 2) make small, but meaningful changes to right the ship, or 3) just say fuck it and jump based on my newfound understanding of things. This is what I have been marinating on since yesterday and still have not come to a resolution. Part of me desperately wants each of those options, for conflicting reasons. So we shall see what I come up with.

Thanks for reading this long ass post. J


~ by wendemachete on January 11, 2017.

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