"I never should have..."
"Why did I..."
Those are the words that my conscious whispers in my ear. Many different ways of saying: You were wrong. And you're regretting it.
Then I start to fall down that hole that looks like crazy Spongebob eyes, wondering if I really was wrong, and what if, and could I just...?
I took a new job about 10 months ago. It was a huge decision. I had eczema over it. I wore glasses of eczema for weeks, had heart palpitations, cried almost every day. This was not an easy decision. This was an excruciating decision. This was the first life change I made that was more for my family than it was for me.
And that's a big deal. Because that, in my head, then became another multi-layered study about motherhood and womanhood and how, when you don't have babies when you're 18 or 21 and you give yourself time to create a life for yourself before you have kids, you are then, once you do have kids, walking into your soul's pantry and putting smooth and glittery things back on the shelf for later while you try newer, probably stickier, things that come in smaller jars. And how that is a privilege that our grandmothers and mothers and aunts and fathers worked to give us, but that doesn't mean that it's easy. It just means that it presents a whole lot more choices and decisions to make. Which we should feel lucky to have. Right? (Madeira girls, we took this class senior year but it meant such different things to me, back then.)
So. I made a decision that was the right decision for my family and for myself. Before I made that decision the pro and con list made sense. And when I made that decision, I felt like a different person. The stress poured away. I shed what I realized was literally stress weight. I had time to be with my daughter, to comprehend life without literally running from daycare to train to subway to car to building to meeting and back again. I can turn work off on the weekends, because it's just work. We could consider having another child. And we are. It was and it is everything that I needed.
But I wish I could tell you the number of times that I have since second-guessed this decision. In many, many ways I am working harder than I was before. I am so exhausted from the chaos of newness. I miss my friends, most of all--the faces I saw every day. I still wish I could see them every day. I miss caring about what I do. I miss the motivation that comes from truly loving your work and knowing that making a client call can actually lead to creating a product that makes a difference. There are so, so many people who don't need to love their job--they appreciate the benefits of simply having a job. I am not one of those people.
This is what I think about.
I sit and in about 3.5 minutes I go over all of this in my head.
And here's the thing. What I always come to is that I do NOT regret. I know I made the right decision. I know that the last 10 months have brought incredible graces and knowledge and perspective and gifts. At the very least it has brought appreciation for what I used to have in a job, what I currently have in a job, and the fact that I can have a family (grow my family!) and also have a job at all.
Sometimes the right decision isn't the happiest decision. Sometimes it means prioritizing what is important at that exact time and leaving the doors open for new decisions down the road.
My job isn't the only time I've had to do this--years ago I said goodbye to a deep friendship, hoping it was temporary. I still hope that it is temporary, and I still shed tears over it. But I don't regret it because at the time I needed, once again, to put my family and myself first.
I hope by not closing these doors, even by keeping them cracked open a bit, someday the breeze will come in and bring something new through something old. And I certainly won't regret that, either.
|Rooms by the Sea. Edward Hopper.|