Sunday, February 07, 2016

Notes from a year named Thrive: February

Earlier this month I started a new job as a social media and customer service coordinator at an events company here in Toronto; the application to interview to offer happened quickly during December—so quickly that I had already accepted the position before most of my friends even knew it had been offered to me.

So yay? Yay.

And oh, I'm so tired. A mostly good kind of tired—but so, so tired.

I had to relearn how to be in an office at a desk all day. How to be around other people again when I was used to working on my own. How to commute on the subway packed like sardines when I had leisurely walked most places. It's been four weeks, and I'm almost at the point where I've found the rhythm to it.

However, I don't have a lot of energy to spare. Sleeping is my new favourite hobby. I know that's not a forever thing, but it's a challenge not to feel like I'm missing out on my friends and acquaintance's lives. I'm aware there are things that have happened that I know nothing about. Whether those are thing-things or just Twitter-thing... well, someone would have to come tell me, because the finding out would take time away from sleeping. Which I enjoy. A lot.

Yesterday, I managed to write again for the first time in weeks. And that helped. I know it's healthy for me to be around people and interacting with others and working towards goals day-to-day. I do better when I'm working—it's the tangible progress, the sociability, and the structure.

It's become apparent in the past couple of weeks how badly I was doing and how drained of resources I was. (In that way where one knows one isn't doing well, but how not-well only gets put into focus when it's no longer the constant emotional state.) There were days over the past few months that believing I would get another job took more capacity than I had. I was really scared life was going to fall apart around me. It wasn't going to, resources were in place to keep that from happening, but anxiety wants us to always expect the worst.

Thus, it's important right now for me to be able to trust that there is a better or onwards or a light at the end of what has felt like a very long tunnel. It's important that I'm careful where I put my attention and how I allot what capacity I have. My emotional well went dry months ago; it's finally beginning to refill. Slower than I'd like, but such is the way of everything.

That and having the flu meant my anxiety was off the charts for the first week or so of work, and it's only now calming down enough that I can feel confident about my abilities again. I had a bad day this past week, when a meeting went a little too much like most meetings went at that corporate job I quit. When people were a little too invested in what they wanted instead of what the customer wanted.

This was compounded by my former employer doing a big restructure in January that affected a lot of my former colleagues. Two of my friends got laid off. And I found out about this a week and a half into my new job. Right around the same time media outlets in Canada laid a bunch of other people off.

So I'm feeling especially grateful about having gainful employment right now—even thought not giving into the anxiety that this workplace will be Just Like my other workplace is something I struggle with. Despite that there is much to enjoy at this new job, and many great people on the team. It's going to take a few months to put that worry to rest. It's not just like the other workplace. That's not to say there aren't things that are similar—but they're not the same.

It's been more than a year since I left, so I thought that I could handle hearing about how things were going for my friends still employed there. The full disclosure. No kid gloves. I was wrong. Talking about that workplace left me exhausted. I came home feeling like I still worked there.

There's a lot of talk about the importance of leaving toxic people and relationships, getting out of jobs that are eating us alive, but it's not a magically happy ever after just because we did. We don't talk about the echoes or the way it lingers. Or how we brace for it to happen everywhere else. The work doesn't stop when we go.

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I don't think it gets easier. I think we get better at it. In the same way I got better at managing my anxiety and recognizing what triggers it. In the same way I know I won't be tired forever. It's just how I feel now. It, too, will pass.

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