I’ve been off work for 10 days.
I can’t remember the last time I was not working for 10 days. Oh wait… the last time I was off this long, I was unemployed and there was a global pandemic raging.
During this time, I hosted family and watched way too much TV. I ran errands and hung up some new art. I shoveled a little snow and worked on a new knitting project I’m excited about. It was a lovely, lazy holiday and I loved it… mostly.
Despite having this unusually carefree string of days at my disposal, it also gave me time to think about something that had been nagging at me – – that constant wondering of when exactly I was going to reclaim my life again.
That’s a big statement, and I recognize it. Reclaiming my life sounds like it had been stolen, and in many ways, it felt like it had. The reality is that I surrendered my life in 2022 to all that was happening around me.
Let’s flip back to this very time last year, I was…
- Selling my home of 13 years within 24 hours of putting it on the market
- Checking in on my new build home in a brand-new community
- Turning 45 which seemed incredibly older than I actually felt
- Beginning a new role, doing something I never had done before
- Leading a brand-new team that I just hired and starting the new year from scratch
That was all in January and it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Fast forward to early February, and you’d find me:
- Signing all the papers for my new home
- Writing the biggest check I’d ever written towards its purchase
- Packing, moving, and settling into my new home
- Wading through (what seemed to be) an endless sea of boxes
- Sitting in tears over tiny things, like where to put my nail polish
- Not allowing myself time to unpack and going back to work too early after the move
- Now having 5 new employees (a full team!) and being buried in all that it takes to start up a new team
My word for 2022 was Exhale. Friends, I couldn’t even catch my breath to take an inhale, let alone an exhale. It felt like my world was crumbling, while the outside world was just buzzing… coming back to life after being cooped up for two years. I let my to-do’s gobble me alive. I lived by my list of things that were outstanding. I had to figure out things like snow removal… it was all just too much.
This initial 60 days sort of set the tone for the year… me constantly busting my ass to make everything work.
I’d like to say it got better. I’m sure you’d like to hear the same. If I’m honest, I mostly adjusted. I set new boundaries in my life that I have never set before. I found myself saying things like “I don’t have the energy to talk right now” which in the moment was the truest thing I had said all year. I luxuriated in my quiet weekends, while grinding Monday through Friday chasing success. I exhausted myself in a way I have never before, and in a way I don’t think the past 10 days have resolved.
I didn’t write here at NTTC. I connected with friends when I felt up to it. I did my best. I regret nothing.
There’s something freeing about writing that last year was a hard year. I am not writing this to gain pity or sympathy. I recognize that many had years much worse than mine. I’m actually writing about this to release it so that I can move on. I don’t want this cloud to continue to hang over me. The shame of not doing enough, not being social enough, not getting birthday cards out on time. The shame of not being able to do it all. Doing it all is clearly bullshit, but for some reason, I still hold onto the belief that it’s possible.
Positive Note: I had an INCREDIBLE work year. Like top 2 of my career and best year financially I’ve ever had. The hard work paid off, and the investment I made in developing my team will pay dividends in 2023. I love what I do. I believe in what I do. I’m grateful for what we do. I haven’t been able to say that about a job in years, and that in itself is a win.
Another Positive Note: I had a few dear friends that came to my rescue again and again. That swooped in and helped without being asked, who checked in without wanting anything in return. Y’all are the real heroes of this year, and I literally wouldn’t have made it without you.
The Physical Effects
I’ve noticed in recent weeks the compounding effect of all of this EFFORT I exerted in 2022. Not only did I take less time for me, but I also wasn’t as caring of myself as I usually am. My exercise habits are non-existent. I don’t love to workout, but I have traditionally enjoyed a nice walk. Since I’ve moved, I’ve not found a new lake to walk around… and I haven’t even tried.
My meals have become increasingly unhealthy as well. My water intake has decreased. These two items combined truly contribute to the way my body feels. My clothes are tight and my weight is up. A rounder face peers back at me on Zoom.
As I flip the calendar, it’s time to start again. I’ve needed to start again for some time, but I haven’t been able to face it.
Today, I face it so that I can move forward. This journey in the year ahead will certainly be far from perfect, and like nothing I could have ever predicted. In this year ahead though, I’ve got to start by taking EXCELLENT care of myself and that starts today.
Ok, now, Let’s make this a Happy New Year! Onward…