Stuck in a rut…again

This morning on the heels of yesterday’s borderline anxiety attack I finally made a decision about my career.

I woke up this morning lacking the motivation or the will to get moving, settled into an attitude of “What’s the point?” Thankfully the voice of reason and some small voice of motivation kicked in reminding me that I’m not ready to give up or simply allow myself to give into my emotions.  Despite feeling discouraged I can’t allow myself to lay in bed all day watching reality shows on Bravo (Seriously, the housewives fascinate and terrify me.  They all have so much surgery you can barely tell them apart, it’s frightening, like a real Stepford Wives) and feeling sorry for myself.

I need to get back to work.

I’m going crazy not working.

I love all the free time but I also hate all the free time plus I’m starting to feel like I’m descending back into a rut.

My definition of a rut in life:  A comfortable place where you don’t have to make any big decisions, where you just ride through life without forward momentum but it’s warm, cozy, and safe so you stay.

Right now I’m not settled in the rut but I’m definitely starting to hang out there more often so it’s time to be brave, make decisions, and move forward.  I make it sound like I’m off to slay a dragon, climb a mountain, or begin an epic quest but I’ve simply decided to get a part time job and actually already applied for something this morning that fits with the direction I want to go with my career.

I still feel anxious because with any decision there’s almost always some seeds of doubts where you wonder if you made the right choice but I have to remind myself I’m not committing to anything right now I’m just trying something to see what happens.  I might not hear anything back from the part time jobs or I might find something perfect or I might end up finding a full time job or the part time job might lead to a full time job or I might realize I have no idea what will happen in the future but I know if I don’t try something different nothing will change.

Despite the anxiety it feels good to finally make a decision.  I realized with the extreme time frames on the government jobs I’m applying for it could be another 2 months or more before I hear anything.  In the meantime bills continue to come in, rent must be paid, groceries, food for James the cat, etc. and my unemployment does not last forever.

As I’m writing this I receive 2 rejection emails 😦 but I’m resigned to staying positive today.  *Here’s a side note about the extreme time frames, the one job I received an email about I applied for in March!*  I’m putting a positive spin on it, these emails serve as a reminder as to why I made the decision to pursue a part-time job.  This process is taking a long time and there will be rejections but at least finding something part-time will allow me to continue to pursue full-time jobs and could even lead to something full-time.

Also, I’m continuing to pursue photography and was given some great ideas yesterday from my friend plus after some research I’m looking into other ways to start selling my work.  That is something I’m working on this afternoon.  I dedicated most of the afternoon to photography, editing, cleaning up my files, backing up files (my biggest fear is losing my work), and seeing what I can do to potentially make some money.

I’m still nervous and anxious about what I’m going to do but making this decision today gives me comfort and direction.  I’ve been kind of aimlessly going through the motions too scared to make a choice but it feels good to finally pick a direction and take a step.  I’m hoping to find something in the field I want to go into so I can get some experience but also keeping an eye out for other opportunities, trying to avoid retail….but that option is there if needed.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! 😀

Also, started the #100HappyDays Challenge today on Instagram, daisy9979 with James the Cat 🐱 peacefully napping on my arm this morning while I was typing away (yes, I know I’m a crazy cat lady but even when he’s walking across the keyboard or knocking things off the counter he still makes me happy).

It’s a bit cheesy but I like the challenge and look forward to seeing what I can come up with for the next 99 days 🙂

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The Map of Life

I’ve never felt more optimistic about the future but this doesn’t mean I’m not terrified by all the possibilities.

I often talk about choosing paths because I visualize life as a giant map with all sorts of twists and turns along the way as we make choices.  I think sometimes we limit ourselves by choosing only to see the easiest or most obvious paths.  We ignore the trails off the paths because they don’t seem passable.

I’m starting to see more trails.  When I see one of these trails I’m always tempted to see where they might lead but they’re not well traveled and you can’t always see where they lead making them a less stable choice.  I’m worried one might lead me to a dead end or off a cliff but I’m also thinking a less traveled path could lead to happiness.

Right now I’m looking at career choices and weighing traditional vs. risky.  I have these fleeting moments where I want to ignore what I should be doing, throw caution to the wind, and find a way to pursue more creative, less traditional, higher risk career options.  I think I’m so scared of going back into a miserable work environment I’m beginning to question all my choices.  I see people living their lives without a 9-5 job so I know it’s possible.  I’m trying to delve deep into what I truly want for my life but It’s not easy because there’s a constant fear of making the wrong choice.

It always comes down to money, the root of all evil but necessary to live.  I feel like I constantly straddle the line between choosing money or passion hoping to find the beautiful area in between where you earn money doing what you love.  I’m not even looking to make tons of money just enough to live on without worry.  I’m living on less than 1/2 of what I was making and I wouldn’t mind making more but I’m pretty content.  Bills are paid and I have my fair share of creature comforts.

If you could always earn enough money to live and  do whatever you wanted for a career, what would you do?

I came up with the question but I’m struggling to come up with an answer.

I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was in junior high, prison psychologist (might not be for everyone but I’m fascinated by why people do what they do), but somewhere along the way that career path was derailed.  I picked it back up again a few years ago by completing my Associates in Psychology and moving on to a Bachelors’ in Criminal Justice.  When I was working on my degree I was excited by the topics I was learning and knew I was ready to take on a job that could make a difference.  The jobs I’m applying for right now are juvenile rehabilitation counselor assistant, social services specialist, human services specialist, and community corrections officer (parole officer).  All jobs that put me on the career path I’ve always wanted but now that I’m inching closer to actually finding my way into that career path I’m scared.

I’m scared of going back to the “40+ hours a week too exhausted & burnt out not wanting to do anything” existence, the place of least resistance.  I’m scared of going back into my rut.  That comfortable place where I’m not active or present but just there allowing life to pass me by without engaging in the world.  I don’t think I could allow myself to go back into my rut but I acknowledge the fear.

I realize being afraid doesn’t mean I’m going to stop it just means I’m trying to scope out all the different paths and trails. It sounds cheesy but I really am the only one holding me back from exploring all my options.  My family and friends might not always understand but they still support me in whatever I choose to do so the only limitations are the ones I set for myself.

For now I’m going to continue to pursue both options, the traditional and the risky.

I have to constantly remind myself that once I make a choice I’m not necessarily stuck on that path.  If I choose a job and find it’s not for me I can always move onto something else.  Change is scary but it can also be exciting because it’s a chance for a fresh start.  I never thought I could be so uncertain but so happy at the same time.  I’m learning to live with and in some way even appreciate the uncertainty in my life.  If I’m stepping back and looking at the map of my life I know that all the paths and trails are open to me.

I just need to take a deep breath, muster up my courage, and start walking.

Fears

We all have fears.  Fear of the dark, fear of failure, fear of snakes, fear of dying, fear of spiders, fear of being alone, essentially there are all kinds of fears out there and we all have them at varying levels.  You might be afraid of actual objects, situations, or your fears might be more abstract.

We know our worst fears and most of the time we know the likelihood of their becoming a reality but sometimes our brain takes over and we lose the ability to rationalize our fears.  In some ways knowing our fears allows us to know the steps we take to overcome our fear or the path we choose to make sure our fears do not become reality.

I have fears of certain situations but in recent years I’ve forced myself to take on things I’m afraid of in the hopes that I’ll eventually conquer my fear.
I had a bad experience once so I hate driving on the freeway but I make myself drive on the freeway at every opportunity.
I hate going out alone but I take myself out for a meal or movie every so often if I don’t have anyone to go with and really want to go out (I’m slowly starting to enjoy this).
I hate confrontation but I make myself confront situations, this was especially true at work I was always volunteering to take on the difficult phone call or customer.

Some fears you can simply take them on but some of the larger abstract fears can be a bit more challenging to admit to and confront, so here is my biggest fear.

My biggest fear is giving up on everything, just allowing myself to give into the darkness I sometimes feel and quit.  I have a fear I will quit moving, keep eating junk, end up weighing 600lbs, and find myself on a reality show or being cut out of my house, or both.  It’s not just giving up on my health but settling in my professional life, since I’m unemployed I worry about being too paralyzed by fear to try for the things I really want to do in life.

I’m afraid I will just stop and won’t be able to or won’t want to get moving again.

This fear is part of the reason I can be so hard on myself because I worry if I allow myself to slack off in one aspect of my life it’s the first step in a slippery slope of quitting everything.  I let myself settle for so long.  Now that I have forward momentum I’m afraid I won’t keep it up so if I skip a workout, binge eat, or don’t apply for jobs one week I get a bit harsh with myself.

To balance my fear of quitting I refer to the reasons that remind me why this fear will not become reality.

My amazing support system:  I know I call them out often but I can’t imagine going through all of this without all the amazing people in my life and that includes the many I’ve met on here who have given words of encouragement or simply liked my posts.  I have friends and family members that would be here staging interventions and dragging me out of here in a heartbeat if I ever decided to just quit.  My family and the handful of close friends who all support me, encourage me, and help me keep my sanity (even when I’m turning grapes into animated characters).

My competitive nature:  I think my tendency for competition was dormant for a while but my situation has reawakened my competitive nature.  I’m competing with other people for jobs.  I’m competing with myself to improve my workouts.  Life can be competitive and while I might not always come in first I’m going to give it my all.

Choices:  I’m lucky to have options available to me so I know if one door closes, another one will open or I can just go find a window or another door or a cave, basically I have tons of options I just need to pick the one I want which right now is applying for jobs I really want and waiting.

The future:  I’m looking forward to my future.  I know this is a rough time but I’m confident good things are waiting on the other side plus I also know I’ve gone through tougher times than this and survived.

I think recognizing your fears whether they seem rational or irrational is necessary.  For me recognizing my fears is one of the things that drives me to conquer them, except spiders……okay maybe I can conquer even that one.  I really hate spiders but rationally I know I’m bigger than the spider and if there’s no one else around to slay the beast I will take care of it (after a few minutes of squealing).