For so long, all I ever knew was the work life. That was the most important thing. Circumstances have changed, and my outlook on my career and work life have also. It wasn’t just “I became a mom”‘; it couldn’t be that because it felt a little more complicated. It was a little saddening, so I thought it might be good to jot down my thoughts. Surprisingly, it was a relief to write this down; it was as if I came to terms with something that I was afraid would happen. What would life be like if it wasn’t always about work? I’m realizing…not all that bad.
I dedicated my whole life to my career. I worked long hours, and sacrificed so many things. I gave my best to the job, because I believed the career was the top priority. My job was my identity. I wasn’t anything without it. My career defined my successes, and was my benchmark towards happiness. My pride came from what I do, and how well I did it. I didn’t want to know what giving 100% of myself was. I only knew to give 150%. Years and years of this made it a norm for me. I wasn’t anything if I didn’t have my work. So, I sacrificed self care, friendships and family time for it.
Now, life has changed. I can’t give up things for work anymore. I was happy to a point, but I realized, it wasn’t as fulfilling as it should have been. I’m learning that there’s more to life and to my identity. I have a different focus, and another life.
With the exception of the last two weeks, I’ve dialed it down. I’m now giving 100% of my focus to work – but mainly during working hours. I only work off hours when it’s absolutely necessary. I try to leave on time – if not within 30 minutes of close. I hardly check my work phone after I leave – just a quick glance to see if there are any urgent issues. Otherwise, I don’t deal with it until I come back into the office.
I’m not saying I would ever quit working. I can’t. My career is still very much a part of me, and I’m still proud of my achievements and successes. Because of it, I have gained so much experience and exposure to the world. My family and I live a comfortable life.
It’s hard to make the change, but I’m already seeing results. I’m less stressed. I’m happier than I was before. I’m finding more joy in life – with family, friends and for myself. I spend less time on work, but I am still proud of what I do. I appreciate my job for what it is, and I don’t feel like it is “stealing” my time. I’m trying to focus on finding value in the time I put into it.
Of course, the change is gradual and there are periods where it feels like it’s a setback. These past two weeks felt like I wasn’t making progress. However, just with everything else, I need to look at overall progress and change. I hope that with more time, I’m able to keep a better balance. I owe it to myself to try!