I used to love my job. Now I love my life.
When I was working, I had my son, my husband and our dreams of owning a home. I loved working with my students. I found great joy being on a college campus. Yet, when I arrived home, I didn’t realize I had given all my energy to my work. Thinking work was what fueled me.
In the Spring of 2013, my work life came to a screeching halt when my maternity leave started abruptly. I was taken from my comfort zone and placed into a whole new way of seeing my life.
What was supposed to be a routine 32 week check up on my twin girls, what was going to be a morning doctor’s appointment, with the plan that I would be back in the office to organize my desk and finish the final prep for the woman who would fill in for me on Monday, abruptly became the last day I would come to work. By 10am I was seeing my doctor. By noon, I was in premature labor. Five days later, the babies were still inside me, but I was put on bed rest for the next 5 weeks.
I used to find my confidence in my work. Now I find my confidence from within.
I used to feel like a veteran, an expert in my field. Now I know I’m an outsider looking in but this time I have knowledge and skills to share in a new way.
I used to not worry what people thought of me. Now, my twins introduce me. I’m now someone with their hands full.
I’m learning more each day about how much I’m gaining from staying home with my children. How many memories I’m making, how much talent I have in making kids laugh and learn. Talent that I didn’t realize I had. I will tell you, in all my years of advising community college student leaders, I’ve been given the tools of patience, grace, love and forgiveness. It’s helping me now.
I feel like I’m learning one of the hardest lessons anyone of us can learn: to rely on yourself to make you strong. To make you happy from within. To give you that self worth that no job, no promotion, no amount of money can give you even though we’ve been raised to believe that we are what we do.
I still have those moments where I think that maybe all I need is to return to work. And I will. But I can’t live saying I will love my life when I go back to work.
You don’t know. You can’t know. You can hope. You can pray. You can dream and work hard but in the end, your life will happen the way it was meant to be. Your next job or career will come when it is meant to. The only thing you can truly do is try.
I try every day to see my children learning, growing, struggling, loving, laughing.
I try every day to be easy on myself, on my husband, on my friends, on my family.
What if we are all afraid to say “I have enough”. To say “I love my life”. Can I say that I love my life? That I went through a hard part and now I appreciate it even more? That I really did love my job, but that I now realize that I measured my life by my work rather then by the people in my life? And that now, because I’m not working, because I’m staying home with my children, I don’t know how to measure my life? I’m here to admit that I love it! I admit that I’m scared to love my life without a job. I admit that by even thinking that, I’m afraid that I must be letting people down. That I’m letting myself down. Because I was really good at my job!
But we were all good at our jobs. We still are good at our jobs. Our talents never leave us. Instead, we trust that careers, the passions, doing any kind of work we have known is only one part of us. I love that I know now to carry my career as part of me.
And maybe I think more and more about the career stuff because it is the area in my life to work on. We all have things to work on. We can keep working and working. Improving. Adding. Yes, all that is good.
At some point, you have to give yourself a break. To let your shoulders drop. To let your heart breathe where you can feel it. To let yourself feel the weight of your current life.
At some point you have to love your life. May that moment be now. Love your life for all that is given to you. All that has come to you. For only you truly know what gives you light. Gives you purpose. Makes you who you are today.
Do whatever it takes to create a life you will love. But also understand that you can love the life you are currently living! You can love it without anyone thinking less of you or judging you. It all starts with you believing that this is the life you were meant to have. The life you have today needs you. All your talents, all your humor, all your quirks. Love this amazing crazy life! I do.