I’m working two jobs, these days. From full-time student to juggling two jobs of which I won’t see any fruit until long after bill due dates, and even then those dates will have looped back around. That’s ok. I actually really love both jobs, and my favorite part of them is connecting with people. A smile and a friendly interaction can really change the course of their day.
The really awkward part about starting to work at entry-level jobs is that the majority of my co-workers (and in one instance, bosses) are the age of my kids. I have loved getting to know them and the conversations that have blossomed, but there is this voice calling to me from deep inside that tells me I’m a loser, and I’m a failure because I’m there, scraping to survive with 24 year olds who are just growing up.
Am I 39 and just growing up?
I’ve been able to silence the voice, thus far, because honestly it really doesn’t bother me. A little maybe, but not for those reasons. For the reasons that I simply worked really hard and invested my everything into a life and a family which are just fine without me. I am very proud of committing and focussing to be the very best I could be, for them, for my life’s work and purpose. Things changed. I got sick, (depression) and consequentially this is my life now. It is, at times, so lonely I can’t even gasp for air… At other times, it’s the memories of my family that get me through and make me smile. The tears are always there, behind the eye lids. Sometimes they spill, sometimes they flood… But still, every waking morning I come closer and closer to accepting my fate. Am I behind other women my age, professionally? Significantly… But life is not about work. It isn’t about “success” in the world’s eyes… I have lived my life and loved so incredibly much, that maybe in some ways I’m ahead of them too… At least, for a large part of my life, my priority was where it should have been. And now, now my life is that of my twenty year old co-workers, only I could be their mother.
We do the best we can, and that’s simply it. I’m doing my best, succeed or fail, this is all I’ve gone.
All of my friends are either solid in their career, or still at home with their kids. They don’t get it, and that’s ok. I’m learning that I don’t need to be “gotten”. Again, I walked away from that too. A single mom friend said to me, “At least you don’t have kids. I am so jealous of your new start and second chance.” I guess we’re all there, comparing what we do or do not have to someone else. Believe me, this is no beautifully ideal new beginning. I’d rather have someone to hug, someone who needed me and whispered “I love you” as they fell asleep…
Last week someone asked me what my life feels like. I try not to think about it, but when I do (If I’m honest) my life feels exactly how I imagine hell to feel. Complete isolation from true personal intimacy and living within the very deep and fragrant realizations of my short comings, mistakes and failures… The only difference between what I can imagine to be hell and my reality is that I at least can move forward and try to build something new. I don’t want to, but that’s my choice. Either do, or succumb to bitterness. So I do. I wake up, I pray, I read, I go to work. I come home. I learn. I actively show love to the people I see, the best I can. I fight a painful night of sleep with the most horrifyingly vivid dreams, when sleep wins. I wake up and do it again. I try not to resent the laundry when I fold it and it is only my clothes. I avoid the kitchen (haven’t cooked since November) because it reminds me of what I don’t have. My life is the polar opposite of the life I both gave up willingly, and was stolen from me. I breathe. In every moment, that is my only consistent and sane decision…