I think maybe I’m having a mid life crisis. I’m only 37, so I sincerely hope not. Since I don’t really know when midlife is, maybe I’m just always in crisis. That sounds a bit more like it.
Happiness in some life aspects seems to be taking its toll and I’m struggling lately. While my “relationship” with my ex is always in turmoil, my other key relationships seem to be working rather nicely. It took me a long time to actually feel confident in my life with Joe. Seeing as both of us were with other people when we decided to be together, the constant wondering if he’d rather be back with her was always in my mind. Now, not so much. I’ve accepted the fact that he wants to be with me and with that acceptance it feels like a giant weight has been lifted.
Additionally, my relationships with my kids has never been better. While I wish I could see them every day, I do get them for 5 days a week so I know I am lucky. When they are with me there’s not a lot of emotional breakdowns. There’s the age appropriate ones of course, but no more of the tantrums and fits where I would contemplate calling a priest for an exorcism. Without all of the hostility and toxic air that Mike and I would spew around the house, they are thriving and I love having this daily reminder that I did the right thing even though it was incredibly hard.
But now, in the absence of these major life instances to worry about, I actually feel a loss. One might think that now that I have these things worked out, it’s time to reflect on other items that may have been plaguing me but that I’ve brushed aside. Yes, this is probably true, but I feel like it’s more than that. It’s almost as if I’m scared of happiness. That I look at myself being content and happy and immediately begin to wait for the other shoe to drop. I begin to worry about not being worried about something so I find something to worry about (the ever present vicious cycle). I think that’s why lately I have been so focused and seemingly unhappy in my career.
For me, the Sunday scaries seem to be a thing of the past…because now they begin on Friday night. I spend my entire weekend with the idea and unhappiness of going back to work on Monday looming in my mind. AND. I. HATE. IT. I find new causes and excitements each day. I get excited about buying in bulk and reducing my plastic usage. I get excited about making muffins with a new recipe. I even get excited about starting a new book. But I can’t get excited about going to work.
Don’t get me wrong, when I get there it really isn’t that bad. I love my students. I love feeling like I’m making a difference, at least in the life of one child but ever since I switched schools my enthusiasm for teaching at all has gone lower and lower with each passing day. Yes, I always felt stressed about teaching and my job…but in a way that everyone does. This year is different. I feel like an outsider in this school, locked away in my own little corner, almost as if no one expects me to stay so no one makes the effort. Everything seems so competitive, almost as if you can only do well if you are doing better than someone else. It’s completely exhausting.
At Collington I was never really a favorite. I did my job and I did it well and for that I fell under the radar (not extremely motived to do everything in the school, but also not drowning). I knew the families and they knew me. And I had people. There’s something about working in a school in an atmosphere like that one. You need people. You are not going to make it without people. You band together because you know they get it. I don’t have people at my new school and that makes it rather lonely. That, topped with a complete lack of any praise EVER makes it a hard environment to work in day in a day out.
So I stress. And I stew. And I worry. I deliberate. I panic…literally. And then I tell myself every single morning as I walk out that door that if it gets to be too much, I can quit. Or I quietly remind myself that I only have a certain amount of days left of this year and next year is sure to be better. And these two things seem to be all that is getting me through.
I don’t know why I allow myself to be consumed with the stress of this job ALL THE TIME. I have to stop. I spend roughly 7.5 hours there each day. That translates to 35.5 hours at work. That’s it. Barely a blip on the 168 hours that are in a week. And yet I spend the rest of those hours worried about work! And the saddest part of all? I’m a 37 year old woman and I keep worrying about if I’m doing a good job. That’s it. No one tells me I’m not. But no one tells me I am.
This is ridiculous. I have to be more present in the moment with my kids. I have to focus more on the good things than stress that is ever present. I have to stop letting 35.5 hours dictate the rest of my time.