Tony Robbins hit the nail on the head when he stated “change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Staying at status quo sometimes may be comfortable to some degree, but occasionally the straw that breaks the camel’s back throws a monkey wrench in your plans. That’s what happened to me today. I needed balance, and I needed it now.
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time the tide will turn.” Harriot Beecher Stowe
What is balance? Balance is an elusive term completely subjective, and something I have been struggling to find for months.
About a year ago I really started putting hours in at my second job. The quest to buy a home and get my finances in order was placed as priority number one. However, that goal (obsession?) caused problems in my world because my eye has been on the prize instead of the journey. The last several months have been a huge struggle for balance because I have been so focused on buying a house, I’ve missed out on living.
I miss my boyfriend. I miss spending a lot of time with my kids. The year is coming to a close and so many financial goals have been met, but I’m craving much more.
Many things gave changed this year. We went on two major trips, one of which my daughter brought home big awards. I had to work my tail off all year to pay for these trips. My belongings were scaled down, and getting down to what we actually need instead of a bunch of junk laying all over the house. I’ll be buying a new soft bed so I can get better sleep. Problematic student loans have been paid off. I am looking every day to find a job I can love instead of one where I can’t do anything right.
Today I did something about that particular area in hopes it will help me find balance. Today I reached my breaking point, the straw that broke the camel’s back. I simply snapped. I cried all the way to work on my near hour long commute one way after thinking over the things I was missing from being in the car so much. You see, around a year and a half ago I changed my full time status to part time at work. My theory was that I would earn enough paid time off to not go into borrowing PTO on holiday breaks, which are mandatory at the company I work for, or at least our client, twice a year. I knew our company would still need me to work full time hours and I took advantage of that. However, I did not (stupidly, stupidly, stupidly) realize how much I was paying for insurance as a part time employee or how fewer benefits I was entitled to, such as short term disability. Since working more hours at my other job (36 a week) and almost 40 at my “part time” job, my life feels like it is falling apart. I’m not getting enough sleep, I’m overextended, and I’m beginning to loathe everything that takes additional time out of my life, especially driving to the town I live in from work. The drive takes forever and it is breaking me down. Today I told my boss I could only work twenty hours a week, my minimum for part time status. It was liberating and felt as if a two ton weight had been lifted off my chest. I left work two hours early and will only stay at work five hours tomorrow. (Writing about happenings at work is never my thing, but this was a monumental event!)
What will I do with all this “free time” since I will “only” be working 56 hours a week now (between the two jobs)? I will have TWO days off! I’m going from no days off to two! I hope my boyfriend wants to see more of me, because he will! I want to cook again. Write. Play with my kids and teach my son to tie his shoes and read. I want to take my daughter to dance a few nights a week like we used to. I will be able to go to the gym again. Eat healthier. Catch up with friends. Before my life got so insane with work I was a runner, crossfitter, loved Bikram Yoga, was a fitness junkie. I want to try Pure Barre and get my toned body back. Now I might have some energy to do that. I want to go back to school to get my Masters degree. Tonight, I have spent two hours writing. Oh how I have missed spending time pouring my heart out on this blog. Too bad we are so far into November, or else I would jump into National Novel Writing Month! First things first though, spend time getting acclimated to the new “lifestyle” and savor. Enjoy. Relish.
I’m so excited for what this new chapter will bring, and I hope I can bring my work ethic back into other parts of my life to find “balance.” It takes a certain amount of dicipline to work ten plus hours every single day beginning at 4am, pick up the kids after work (as a single mom), commute home, eat dinner, go to activities, and get everyone cleaned up for bedtime. Some days I don’t know how I’ve done it. I’ve spent weeks in a fog, desperate for sleep, a zombie just trying to fake it ’til I make it through the days. Sometimes stress would just about push me over the edge, but I hung in there, exhausted, just getting by. My body has suffered, my relationships, the cleanliness of my house and car. If I didn’t have someone amazing to clean my home I would have gone insane.
I cannot wait to begin to foster relationships again. My boyfriend probably has never seen the best me, because around the time we started dating I was trying to get a business off the ground. When that was too much to handle because the co-owner had dumped all the work on me (while still taking half the profits,) I began to work my second job and decrease the work I was putting into the business. He has always seen me worn down and zapped of energy. My poor kiddos have dealt with a crabby, unhappy, and crazy mom for the last couple years. All of that has changed, all because
“the pain of staying the same was greater than the pain of change.”
I close out this day with a more positive outlook for tomorrow. Today was a major change point in my world. Sometimes it just takes a bit of bravery to change your life.