Touchy Feely (Emphasis on the feely)

I’ve always been a sensitive person. I suspect that feeling my emotions (and the emotions of others) very deeply is in my genes. I remember when I was a pre-teen, my younger brother used to suffer from terrible insomnia because he would lay awake thinking about starving African children or missing people. My mom, to this day, will wake up in the middle of the night worrying about something I mentioned to her in passing on the phone the night before.

I had a very tumultuous relationship with my mom growing up, that involved a lot of yelling and insults about my personality and my weight. Of course, the comments about my personality usually got worse as I got fatter and better as I got thinner. Despite our intense verbal interactions, my mom and I were always terrible communicators; I remember that my knee-jerk reaction to our fights was to cry rather than to try and fight back.

So, considering my reactive past and my tendency to cry rather than talk, I figure it makes sense that my body is like a walking weather vane where my life satisfaction is concerned. For the last year, something has felt so wrong in my life that I’ve been struggling with insomnia (trouble falling asleep and, if I do fall asleep, either waking up in the middle of the night or waking up feeling like I have barely slept), weight gain, anxiety, and depression. I’ve felt lethargic, lackadaisical, apathetic, and hopeless. I feel hopeful when I think of the future with Matt, and of the possibilities awaiting me once I finish my nutrition certification and my real estate course. I’m still loving the gym, and enjoying spending time with my friends. But I hate my job.

I mean I really really hate it. I’ve been hesitant to write about it too much in detail because I am well aware that I’m very fortunate to have a job – especially in light of the recent budget announced by the Canadian government. I’m so grateful to have a steady deposit into my bank account every 2 weeks and to have health benefits and a pension. With that said, I am miserable.

My job isn’t particularly stressful, and I definitely can’t complain that I work overtime or work too hard for the time that I’m there. However, the time that I’m in my cubicle, I feel like I am going insane. I want to punch my computer screen, I leave work with tension headaches, and I have knots sitting in my stomach for the 7.5 hours that I’m sitting at my desk. I get home from work and am totally drained of energy. Every time I get actual work to do, I am resentful because I loathe the tasks. I have absolutely no desire to move to a higher position (more responsibility for something I don’t enjoy? No thanks). These “symptoms” have gotten worse by the day for the last year. The concept of spending another 32 years doing what I’m doing is unfathomable to me.

I know that I sound like a spoiled brat. For the longest time I shoved the realization that I hate my job to the back of my mind, because I have oodles of friends who work the 9-5 in an office job and are completely content, so I should too. But my body tells me every single day that I am steering myself farther and farther away from what I want to do. At this point, I’m not even sure if my problem is the cubicle job, the work itself, or the actual Monday-Friday 9-5 lifestyle. A couple of years ago, I did have a job I really enjoyed in the same organization where I currently work, but I was only in the position for 3 months (so who’s to say how I’d feel about it after 2 years), and those positions are few and far between due to the current economic/political climate.

So where do I go from here? For starters, I’ve taken to reading some books on the subject of changing your life. Over the last month I’ve read:

The gist of most of these books has been the same: quit your job, do something you love to do and the money will find you. Although the information hasn’t been revolutionary, each book I read makes me feel like I have a friend who is saying “It’s OK to have the feelings you’re having, and they aren’t wrong, and you aren’t alone.” The last book – Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck – is truly amazing though. She addresses the roots of the fear paralyzing those of us who want to take leaps of faith, and offers gentle debates to the common “What ifs?” and “Buts” that plague most of us. I have a few other Martha Beck books waiting for me at the library, as well as this gem:

Yes, I’m taking career advice from 50 Cent. Obviously it worked for him…right? I’m hoping to not get shot (even once) in my quest for a job I love, though.

I think I am in a better position than many when it comes to finding a job I love. I’ll be finished my real estate exam by July, I am enrolled in the Precision Nutrition Coaching Certificate, and I plan to get my PT certification and Kettlebell certification in the fall. I think we can all agree that just as the hardest part of doing yoga is getting on the mat, or the hardest part of running is starting, the hardest part of making a change is just jumping.

Right about now, I’d love to have a mentor.

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