Been a while, eh?
It’s taken a while to realize that what I need to do here is not pretend I’m some expert, not think of this as espousing advice, but instead to talk freely and openly about my journey of self-discovery and to communicate to anyone who happens to feel similarly that they are not alone. I want to use this forum to chronicle my changing definitions of success and my efforts to achieve that success throughout my life.
Recently, I’ve been struggling a lot to find any success in my life. I’ve been in a professional situation for 2 years that showed no promise of changing and made me feel… stifled on even the best of days. My constant feelings of failure and impotence leaked stress into every aspect of my life, and I was unable to change my definition of success adequately to prevent this from continuing. I could have left, but I’m early on in my career and have no other experience doing what I am doing, leaving would have meant going back to doing what I had done previously, which I had no passion for. I had the misfortune of discovering a career I’m passionate about in a situation where I had to either put up with misery for years to get some experience under my belt, or I had to accept that I was abandoning my passion. I never found the conviction to accept abandoning my passion for my own emotional well-being so I accepted the status quo.
I’m still here, you can see what I chose, but it certainly wasn’t an easy choice and it hasn’t been a good influence on the rest of my life. Now things are changing and I feel like there’s room for me to be successful in this position and I’m looking at all that I have sacrificed to wait it out.
Honestly, I don’t know if it was worth it because I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t made that choice. I can’t measure the impact it’s had on my relationships, romantic and platonic. I can’t measure the impact it’s had on my ability to accurately assess my own abilities. I can’t measure the impact it’s had on my career trajectory. It’s possible I’d have enjoyed more traditional success, and much faster, if I had given up and moved on early in this process, before I had convinced myself that waiting it out was the best thing for me.
Ultimately, none of that matters now, because I already made the choice and did the waiting. I made similar choices all through school. I have a long history of putting off my own happiness now so that I can chase my future happiness, as if that future happiness is somehow more important. Inevitably, by the time I reach the end of whatever is supposed to improve my future, I have a laundry list of things to work on for happiness even farther in the future. An endless cycle of “I’ll be happy later.”
There’s a lot I can’t tell you for sure, but I can say without hesitation that it’s time to wake up and establish much healthier boundaries before I get myself in yet another situation where I’m putting off my own happiness. Eventually your happiness in the moment has to override the importance of the future, and for me that moment is now. I’ve been granted a moment to breathe as things are finally improving in my professional life, and before the next thing comes along screaming “if you just put up with this now you’ll make more money later, you’ll be more successful later, you’ll be happier later, you’ll have more time later…” I have to build the resilience to look those things in the face and say “I want to be happy NOW.”
Sorry if this has been a bit of a ramble, but I’m processing as I go. Just be happy that my stream of consciousness is easier to digest than Faulkner 😉