This is the first time in the last 3 years that I’m not employed by anybody. It’s an odd feeling. I’m not totally stressed out yet I don’t feel totally free. I’m in this odd in-between of I’m Okay and I Need to Get My Life Together. The people who know me will tell you that I’m a busybody. I’m a bumble bee buzzing for things to do because productivity is the fuel to my happiness.
A lot has changed during this transition. I suffered my first series of panic attacks. I don’t remember my meet-ups with people without checking my calendar every day. And I have no job now, so naturally, I feel like I have to do more in order to make up for the time I’m wasting not making money.
Make Space. So first things first, I had to do all the errands that I’d been putting off because I was too tired from staying at work for 10-12 hours at a time and spending 3 hours on the road commuting between home and work (which for some may not be a lot. I’m so sorry for you long commuters). I cleaned liked crazy this week. My room, my car, my dog, EVERYTHING. Someone told me that the state of your living environment can tell a lot about the state of your mind. If that’s true, then my mind must have been a mess. And I have to say, my thoughts were quite muddled. I’m forgetting birthdays and plans when I’m the one that usually reminds other people about such things. Not to mention I didn’t feel comfortable in my own space. I hung out late because I wanted to make my off-work time worth it, and I definitely didn’t look forward to bedtime because just looking at the state of my cluttered room when I got home gave me a headache. De-cluttering my space was the first step I took to organizing my life. I threw out all the little things that I haven’t touched in the last 2 years. I stripped down my old ugly bedsheets (my mom just doesn’t listen when I tell her I don’t like pink flowers…), and bought new solid colored ones. I vacuumed all the dog fur in the corners of the room, and I wiped down all the wooden and my beloved bookshelf. I was creating SPACE. And even though I’m not totally done, I felt better. My mind relaxed and I could BREATHE.
Start Moving. Once I felt I could breathe, I can move. And moving is important whether it’s in your career, mastering a new skill, or just to get a rush of adrenaline. For me, I didn’t have a path carved out for me. I didn’t know where to move to in life. I didn’t have a clear goal yet. But I knew I needed to get up and do something. Even if it was small. And at that point, my body was starting to slow down and I felt lethargic. Post-grad does that to you. Full-time work does that to you unless you build that determination to get yourself to the gym late at night or early morning before work. Now I have all the time in the world. So I moved. I played basketball three days in a row and I went running with my dog. I played outside and threw a frisbee around. I rested on the grass and spent late afternoons walking. I moved little by little. I didn’t make plans but I was thinking about them. I breathed in the outside air and let my thoughts wander away from the stress of having nothing going on in my life.
I think sometimes we let the pressure of all the things we’re not doing overwhelm us. We feel like time is slipping and we should be living to our fullest right now. We feel like we should have already defeated the voices that tell us we can’t do something. We want to be at the top of the mountain when we’ve only just started climbing. We want to be our own heroes. But it doesn’t work like that. A baby doesn’t just stand up one day and start walking like a normal adult. First, he’ll go from a lump that sits to one that rolls around. And when they finally get used to moving his stubby arms and legs, he’ll move to crawling. Then one day, the baby will try to get up. He will stumble and he will most likely fall over a few times, but with time he’ll get to a place where he can finally stand on his own two feet. So we’re babies. We were birth into this new world of adulthood and we want to stand and walk around like the rest of the adults. But we’re still new, so we’re going to fall over and we’re going to stumble, and our legs will be wobbly. Still, I know we’ll get there. We’ll grow into the adults that we’re meant to be. Only if we keep crawling. If we keep trying. If we keep MOVING.