This space has been quiet for quite awhile now. It’s not for a lack of ideas on what to share here, nor a lack of motivation. I’ve spent too much time overthinking about what to write about, how to share it properly, while sharing exactly nothing.
Overthinking and second guessing myself have been a constant in my life. I’m a planner; I like knowing what will happen, but also am a bit of a perfectionist. Making mistakes is not something I accept easily. That combination makes me stop myself each time I open up my text editor to start writing. I enter in a few sentences. I stop. I stare at the words on the screen and then ask myself, “What are you doing?”
That question has been a big one for me since February. There was a big shift with the property management work that gave me triple the workload, but no more satisfaction with the work I was doing. People (owners and tenants) are only open to sharing appreciation when things work in their favour. When something goes wrong, no matter how minor, they are quick to turn on me. When neither party is happy with how things are going and I hear it from both sides, it makes me really question what’s happening.
Everyone is looking out for their own needs and wants on their terms with little regard to what may be happening in my life or the other side. Empathy and respect are severely lacking in most of the interactions I have now.
It gets exhausting. It gets lonely. It’s creating a lot of anxiety in my mind now as well. I lay in bed at night thinking about what I need to do the next day, to face the obstacles presented to me, and push through them. Then I awake at 6:00am, wanting to take action but find myself frozen from taking those actions.
Delay, delay, delay. It’s my only means of coping with some of these situations. I put it off for as long as I can, do it the best I can, and not have things work in the end. Now I find myself thinking about the failures, along with the next problems that come up almost daily.
Mental illness has been something more people have been opening up about, especially in the past few years. I read the tweets or the longer posts from people like Wil Wheaton, and find myself nodding my head along to them all. I don’t find myself to be crippled by the things happening in my head, thankfully. I’m still working out and trying to stay active, trying to do things for myself as much as possible. My sleep is not what I would like it to be is all.
Through it all has been stoicism and mindfulness. Both have been a recent discovery to help guide me better through life. The past few months, they’ve been an invaluable asset to help me remain calm through difficult situations. Things would likely be much worse for me if I talked about it more regularly with people, amplifying the issues in my head and making the questions louder without having some grounding aspect underneath me.
It hasn’t always been this way for me though. I can’t recall ever waking up at 6:00am dreading some stressful situation that I wanted to avoid in my previous work experiences. Waking up and not wanting to go to school or work, yes, but mainly because I wanted to do other things that day.
At the beginning of the year, I wrote about what I wanted to accomplish this year, and introduced the concept of margin. I thought I knew how margin affected my life six months ago. Now, I really know, and want to tell past James, “No, just wait.”
Knowing what the problem is only the first step in being able to tackle and defeat it. I can’t hide from the obstacles at work or my personal life any longer. I need to find a way to break through and squash the moments of stress I feel when I first wake up. There’s so much more to life than carrying that worry around.
It’s comforting to me knowing that even Marcus Aurelius faced these same challenges 2,000 years ago, when he wrote:
On these mornings you struggle with getting up, keep this thought in mind- I am awakening to the work of a human being. Why then am I annoyed that I am going to do what I’m made for, the very things for which I was put into this world? Or was I made for this, to snuggle under the covers and keep warm? It’s so pleasurable. Were you then made for pleasure? In short, to be coddled or to exert yourself?
I don’t think anyone wants to go through life feeling coddled. Time to wake up and start exerting myself once again.