Sometimes I wonder if she is happy, if her meetings are making great substitutes for her friends, if she is just as sad as I am to see her tell her friends she cant hang out because she was too many places to be. Sometimes I want to cry for her when she is too worn out to talk to her mother on the phone and she does not want her mother to see her negativity. I know she is hurting because she wants to talk to her best friend who needs her, her friend from home who has just become very sick. She wants to be everywhere at once but she can only be where she has scheduled herself to be. She hears it day in and day out, “You have everything going for you,” “Who would not want your life? It is absolutely perfect.” And all she can do is sigh and agree because she knows complaining will not give her more minutes to the ones she has already lost at meetings. Crying wont supply her the energy she has already lost. She loves what she does, but she needs to learn to put down the books, put aside the planner, and take a step back and reprioritize.
April 29, 2009 (One year ago today)
If you are looking to do what I did last year let me give you a few warnings first: A piece of paper will never hold your hand. Your planner will not curl up next to you or fix you a cup of tea. Your meetings won’t even flinch when you try to tell them about your day and when you try to take that same piece of paper shopping with you, it won’t be honest about how that black top really looks.
Perhaps you have met the stunning piece of paper I was referring to, his name is “resume” and he is a pretty big deal. Or so they say. Of course I don’t discard the importance of past experience or relevant skills but I think sometimes we tend to put aside people and the real essence of life to give ourselves up to this piece of paper. We pour ourselves daily into perfecting this piece of paper, into being top-notch at our work and at the head of the game for the job search. We stress and cry and pull our hair out over meetings and events and things we “committed” ourselves to.
Well, if these are the things that really matter then why don’t they read off resumes at funerals? How come we don’t sit around the table with our girlfriends and spill over each others’ latest accumulations of relevant skills?
That post above was written one year ago in separate blog for my magazine writing class. Although I was supposed to be keeping the content to “plagiarism issues” somehow the blog got me to see that I was unhappy, overtired and that I was spreading myself too thin. I was put nothing into my relationships, I was going to sleep lonely. I was waking up with no real reason for waking.
The hardest part can be admitting that we are unhappy with the way our lives look, to come to terms with the fact that we are indeed lonely or spending too much quality time with our resumes and planners.
I met someone this year who completely puzzled me; he was one of the first people who saw right past the walls put up by my full agenda book and bullet points on a resume. He looked right into my eyes and told me that I was tired and that I need a little fun in my life. And he said that is all he wanted to help me with. Help me let my hair down once in a while. He still does not know how that meant the world to me.
We all need these little reminders, be it a person we are close to or our own tired selves look back in the mirror. We all should use these little check points and dare to ask them daily: Am I happy? Am I having fun? Am I making everyday worth it? But even more difficult than evaluating our lives with these sometimes hard to ask questions is having the courage, when the answer is no, to take a step back and make a change. This change involves all the active verbs employers won’t ever look for on a resume: searching our souls, finding our bliss, cutting some slack, gaining a hobby, letting go of negativity, forgiving ourselves, vowing to move forward. Now that is “relevant experience” if I do say so myself.
We live in a culture where dedication to our careers and setting goals is expected, but is any of the success worth it if we cannot attest to being happy with it all? If we cannot take a night off, slide off of the paper and step away from the planner…
Dare to join me?