Today is Friday. Fridays are typically awesome anyway because of the impending weekend, but this Friday signals even more freedom for me. I made a decision last night to do something to help myself out of the black hole I feel stuck inside.
And no, I did not move out or otherwise decide to leave my husband. I am still not sure what’s going to happen with my marriage. We’ve had rocky spots before, and it’s been 10 years in all so I am not ready to give up yet. But I do know we each have issues to work on so we can treath each other better and be better parents, regardless of what else happens there. I guess simply admitting that to myself is a bit freeing.
But the real freedom came when I decided that it was okay to take an indefinite hiatus in my college courses. Whether it is an impending depressive relapse, or simply a natural response to the added stress of half-a-dozen life changes, I need a break. Maybe the break will be a year… maybe I will die without having my Bachelor’s. Ultimately, I don’t really care anymore. When I started school, I was an angry and bitter person who felt stuck in a dead-end job and I wanted to prove to myself (and the world) that I was not incapable of even the simplest of administrative tasks. (One of the many things my then-boss told HR about me because it was easier than fixing his own communication failings… long story for another time.) My family was crammed into a tiny townhouse in a podunk suburb in which I felt out-of-place and resentful. Money was a constant concern. I drove a crappy car that was almost as old as me and the public transporation options were limited and expensive.
Now, I am neither angry nor bitter about that old boss. I am out of that old job and at a much better one, with better benefits (including paid public transportation!) and a kinder and happier atmosphere. The negative energy that was fueling me forward in my studies is gone. We also moved to a new house in the city last summer. There is no longer a sense of being cramped at home. And Home is a much nicer, more welcoming place for me now as I feel like I fit-in more with the artsy and liberal nature of the neighborhood. Money is not the constant concern it was because I’m making more at my current job than I was at the old one. We are also renting out the old townhome. So I have a newer and more reliable car now. Ironically, I also now have my pick of public transport and, as I said, it’s paid 100% by my employer.
However, I know that I am not the best version of myself right now. At a time when I should be joyful, I am resentful and I dread waking up in the morning. I am heavier now than I have ever been in my life. I am out of shape. My home is almost always a mess, as am I. Every day to feel inadequate because I cannot meet the overly-high expectations I have set for myself. I am incapacited with guilt about what I *should* be doing almost all of the time, so I do not enjoy anything I do. I am distracted and cannot focus on what I need to do at work because of what else I know needs to be done at home.
No, something definitely has to change. Earning a higher degree could mean more money, if I could find a job after graduation… but could is not a guarantee. What is a guarantee is that if I stay on the trek I’m on now, I will suffer more debilitating complications from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type II Diabetes… I will be less likely to meet my grandchildren… and I will keep hating this version of me because She’s only going to be worse over time.
Hubby is all for me taking a break – as long as I need, in fact. While he says that while he supported my decision to start and hopes I finish someday, even he admits to how thinly spread and exhausted I have been. My son supports it, of course, because that frees up more time for me to spend with him. My boss would support it (if I told him) as it would allow me to return to the kick-butt assistant he knows I can be. After all, if I am free to enjoy my hobbies and otherwise relax in my time off, I will return the next day able to focus more on my work. Most importantly, I will be happier with myself because I will be able to spend time at the gym again, go for nature walks, bike ride, etc. In other words, all of the things that I was doing when I felt my best would be options for me again if I had more time to enjoy them.
Not everyone was created equal, and that is okay. Some people can type 100+ words/minute… others chicken peck at barely 20/minute. The emails they type are (usually) of equal quality and indistinguishible from each other. In other words, I guess I just needed to give myself permission to live at a slower pace. At least for a while, until I feel stronger and better able to run fast again.