Wow. The last few days have been up and down. I'm not sure if it's tied in to the weather: cold, damp, dreary, and killing my instinct to exercise (or do anything but mope and nap).
I generally have to take a step back when I start to wonder what I'm doing with my life. Either I have no time to pursue what I like because I am working so much or I have no job and get to fixate on that, creativity be damned. The last few months have been chock-full of changes, and my career isn't moving ahead too quickly now, although I hope it will soon. I would like to be self-employed. We will see how that goes, as getting started is something that one improvises. (I am finding this out now.)
The past few years have flattened me like a steamroller. I happen to have a friend who acquired some hang-ups from working for an employer that essentially worked her too hard. I wasn't too affected by that particular employer (we worked for the same company) but then I went to work for a nonprofit and it was like, Zambonis, start your engines. I've never been asked to work so hard at a place that had no opportunity for advancement and no incentive to make more money. My reward for doing a good job was more work and zero flexibility from my employer at a time when I really could have used it.
Being overworked has had this affect on me, and perhaps my friend, of making me suspicious. I look at a new potential workplace and try to imagine how I could fit in to the culture, learn my position, and then wonder if I'd have to constantly assert myself to have a work-life balance.
I've never been one of those people who could rationalize working all of the time. I've always had a body that needed exercise and the need to socialize with friends and family. I think it's important to have boundaries. No one's going to wake me up in the middle of the night or keep me at work 3 hours late with a "writing emergency." Sorry, but such things don't exist, and don't try to tell me otherwise! I don't log in at night to do more work. That's when I eat, exercise, and relax. If that makes me unfit for the modern workplace, then perhaps I should work for myself.
I read somewhere in my horoscope that I'll never work as hard in my whole life as I worked in 2012, and I wouldn't be surprised if that turned out to be true. It's 2014 already and I don't think I could work that hard now. It was such a tough year.
Combining that with my current creative project means that the tears have started to flow. In order to work on my current project, a book about life in the recession in Florida, I have to go back to that state: overworked, with no hope of promotion or raise, tired all the time, dealing with health issues, and upside-down and underwater in a home that I couldn't get rid of yet. Although I met some nice people there, most were busy with their own marriages or families and I spent a ton of time alone. I also met some people there who were available to hang out, but they tended to be oversolicitous married guys or really strange people. Of course, there was also the parade of hostile townies and the horny old men. I didn't have a choice. It was the long, dark night of the soul.
I suppose everyone goes through that at some point of life. It seems most of my single friends have gone through it in their thirties; as for the ones who've stayed married and/or had children, I don't know if they are exempt from it or if this is a universal condition that they too will experience. I suppose keeping people around you can keep the long, dark night at bay in most cases, but probably not all the time.
Anyway, friends, even revisiting the bad old days is enough to get me boo-hooing. I hope the sun comes out soon and distracts me from this!