When I started my new job back in mid January, I was elated. Thanks to my extrovert friend and neighbor who knows everyone and networks circles around me, I had my first gig that paid me to write. I told my parents, called my sister, babbled to my husband, and posted on Facebook. I was the definition of over-the-moon.
That new job came with a deadline, though. I found myself having to turn in the completed contents for the March edition of the magazine about two weeks after I started. I didn’t know what I was doing. The writing part I was comfortable with, but I had no idea how to compile all the content, and I was a nervous wreck about interviewing people. Despite the fact that this was what I’d always wanted, or maybe because of it, I was stressed. I desperately didn’t want to screw it up, but I felt totally overwhelmed. I turned into a bit of a crazy person, shrilly shooing my kids out of my office, venting to Jason with clenched fists. Did I mention this happened the worst week possible – right at the point in my cycle my PMDD is the worst? Yeah, not ideal, but that’s life. When it’s the job you’ve always wanted, you don’t turn it down.
I got through it. It wasn’t graceful, but I didn’t hit anyone or yell too terribly much. I did a lot of deep breathing and reminded myself of all the other times I got through similar situations – teaching for the first time, running the university-wide blood drive in college. Remembering these reassured me I could do it. I also mentally chanted my mantra, “this too shall pass.” It helped that my advisor for the magazine told me she wanted to quit, the first issue she put out. (This is normal, and if she got through it, so could I.) One evening in those first weeks, I was so stressed and angry-feeling at no one in particular. I went for a run. I ran on the trails, watching the sun set as I went, and got a little lost. I returned after dark, where I found a pointedly calm husband pretending not to worry for the sake of the kids, namely our oldest, who is a worrier. Bless my family, especially Jason, for the support I got that week.
And now, I’ve had this job for seven issues. I know a lot more and continue to learn more each issue, about writing, editing, layout, and also about people. I love this job. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so happily productive at something. And for the first time, I have a job that truly fits what I am naturally good at. I find myself thinking of work late at night or early in the morning, but it’s not stressful. I enjoy it. That doesn’t mean I don’t have to draw boundaries and protect my family time – I do – but it’s so nice not to dread my paying work, like I have a lot of my life. I always thought not wanting to go to work was just what people did. I even chastised myself for being lazy and undedicated. Turns out, I just had to be my true self and find the right thing. The point is this: though it was, to say the least, uncomfortable at first, this job is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I need to feel productive. It’s made me happier and improved my relationship with my kids. Since I have to spend time working, I appreciate the time I have with them more. I am more engaged and present with them. We need rest and play. We also need work. The right work, is good for the soul.