Last night I was up late. I was working myself down from a surprise adrenaline spike – a forgotten alert/reminder set back in my work days “pinged” at me about an approaching due date and for a few moments I was back in the headspace of untouchable stress.
I had an immediate “holy crap a huge deadline is due soon and I am totally unprepared!!!!!” panic reaction. And then, of course, I realized that deadline is no longer in my life. That job and almost all of its associated stress is a thing of the past.
What a relief, four months later.
The adrenaline lasted longer than the realization so I was awake for a while, marinating. For a while I wondered about the people who took over that big project, and how they were coping with a deadline looming. Then I wondered about the organization as a whole, and where it was headed. For a few minutes I imagined what would have needed to change for it to be a healthy place for me to stay. Then I started thinking about art projects and the storm had passed.
There’s been so much else happening in my life that I haven’t given much thought to where I’d be if I was still at the old place. It was bracing to realize how significantly that one (significant) step changed so much. With one swoop, 90% of the unmanageable stress in my life dropped out and with it, all the things I was doing to try to mitigate that stress.
It matters to me that you know there’s still stressors. Quitting my day job didnt magically make everything I encounter breathtakingly simple. What it did to was give me back the ability to control what I am committed to. It gave me a level of agency in my own life, which I needed. Most importantly, it allowed me to regain the notion that my mental well-being MATTERS to the work I do.
I’ve smiled and laughed more in the last three months than I did in the whole year previously. I can spend regular, pleasant, non-angsty time with Hubs every day. Meals are no longer a chore or an escape. The pets are quirky and hilarious instead of smelly and annoying. My dining room table is clear of accumulated junk for the first time in almost a year.
Life is better, much better. Its good to be reminded of it.
I finally fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning, with a smile on my face.