I have had a genuinely crappy year. I don’t mean this to be a negative thing but when I look back…wow…I think the amount of “self-growing”, “self-awareness” and “dealing with nonsense” I have done in the past 12 months would impress even the Dalai Lama. Let me take a step back…
About 2 years ago, I moved provinces to open up a branch of our company. I threw myself into the challenge and unfortunately spent almost every night and weekend working, thinking that “what I am sacrificing now will eventually pay off.” It didn’t. Turns out the work/life balance has been so well written about because it is, in fact, that damn important. At the beginning of the year, things started unravelling for me and I started dropping the ball on certain aspects. Alas, I am a Virgo and that really isn’t something that I deal with well. So, I had my first full-on nervous breakdown. About 3 months later, having made no changes to my workload or life balance, I had my second one.
These weren’t necessarily bad things. I learnt a few valuable life lessons from this:
- Your body isn’t as resilient as it was when you were in your early 20’s
- There is a reason women need to communicate- I nearly went insane keeping all of my thoughts and feelings to myself…Damnit we need to purge man!
- Working by yourself with no people around at all is soul destroying. I wake up in the morning alone, in silence and unless I speak to clients telephonically or go to a meeting, I go to bed without having said a word to anyone sometimes
- You get to know yourself the best in man-made silence
- If you don’t find the work/life balance, life will kick you in the butt until you realise how important it is
- No matter what, never lose your sense of humour. Sometimes it is the only thing that will get you through a really tough situation
There was a little light at the end of this tunnel, I was given an amazing opportunity to go to the United Kingdom on an epic road trip from London to Scotland with the most eclectic and soulful group of people.
The weekend before this trip, I was savagely mauled and had half my face ripped out by our family dog. Let’s just say…I’d had better days. There was no reason, no explanation for the attack but this event was the catalyst of change for me. I remember lying on the casualty room bed, freezing from the adrenalin overload and picking the pieces of muscle and fat from my hair. While I was (literally and figuratively) holding my pieces together I remember my mom coming in and saying to me ‘If only you had gone to bed earlier”. I know that I was already, after the last 6 months, dealing with a very heavy depression and feeling incredibly suicidal. It was then that I decided… no. No, this can’t be where my life is heading. There has to be more to life than this. Nervous breakdowns, being overworked, underpaid, never being acknowledged, constant thoughts of leaving this planet, and wallowing in negativity. I decided then that if my looks were going to be forever different then so were my choices. I wasn’t going to deal with the “if-onlys”, the “what-ifs” and the wishful thinkings. It was now going to be about the and-now?
So the first thing to change, deal with the depression- done and dusted. Next, what do I actually want to do that will make me happy – not that easy. I spent a good month or so, going through my strengths, weaknesses, pros, cons, experiences to try and derive through some mathematical formula what would fill that gap. While that helped steer me in the right direction, it was a decision of the heart that led to my ultimate choice. I need to get back into the creative field. I have a wealth of business and sales experience. So the natural fit for this is Marketing/Communications/Social Media Management.
Unfortunately, this is a bit of a blow to a company that is relying on you as a revenue generating resource and I had to resign. Now as I sit on the cusp of greatness and/or unemployment I have to remind myself that everything I am doing, is for the right reason. I need to find my little slice of happiness and a company that I can plant my feet in for the next 5 years.
Having said that, dealing with change is not easy. For yourself and for those around you. I think for you young adventurers on the same new and exciting path that I am on, don’t be discouraged by the road less travelled. Don’t be discouraged by those who don’t understand the reasons behind your moves. Keep pushing forward and remember, your old self is behind you, you now have every guilt-free opportunity to explore!
Oh…and if you could spare some change…I’m gonna need it