How did they know? 

img_9655 This is pretty much a perfect fortune for me. How did the fortune gurus know that contentment is my most elusive goal?

I have shared about waiting for my life to begin many times. I always feel like I am waiting. Contentment is my white whale. The inner peace I have been hunting my entire life. I used to think it was success, fame, or fortune I was looking for.

So, what does contentment feel like? Is it just a feeling of calm? Is it gratitude? Does the rushed, panicked fear of running out of time dissipate?

I am not sure what this is going to entail. I am no longer sure what my future holds for me. I don’t even know what I want it to look like. For now, the closest thing to contentment I can find is satisfaction in knowing I am doing the best I can do. I am learning. I am working. I am being more open-minded.

I am experiencing new things at an astonishing rate.

Will I finally find contentment when I accept myself as being exactly where I am supposed to be?

These days I find myself a little adrift. I am forced to depend on myself, and to reassure myself I am doing an adequate job. There is no one looking out for me. This is new. I tend to adopt parents, role models, and mentors every where I go.

Perhaps contentment will come from standing on my own two feet. Finally proving to myself I can actually do it. I don’t have to have someone holding my hand through all the scary parts. I can work hard, and figure it out.

The adventures keep presenting themselves. I am going to make it a point to go experience as many new things as I possibly can. I do not want to feel like I have wasted my life waiting for some magic transformation. I have to facilitate the growth. I have to allow good things into my life.

No more remembering the past with rose-colored glasses. No more wistful daydreaming of the future. No more dreading yesterday or tomorrow. I am going to spend today loving the day. Appreciating myself. Treating myself a little kinder.

I get to meet new people. I get to be called a whole slew of pet names. Today, I got a “honey pie,” “sugar pie,” “hun,” and “Sweetie.” All in one patient’s room. (Kinda wishing they would have just called me Princess… but I suppose you can’t win them all.)

No one gets to decide who I am going to be except me. It is okay to set boundaries. It is okay to reach out to other people. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for assistance. No one expects me to be perfect. I can relax a little sometimes. Life is not a race. It is a winding path. You never know who or what you will encounter. May as well enjoy the surprise.

Finding Happy

I am finally in a place where my professional life is more secure. I am finding my confidence again. The last several months were difficult for me. I was under intense pressure at work, and it was spilling into every area of my life. I would be bouncing along and thinking every thing was better, then the rug would be yanked out from under me again. I became afraid to take a step. I did not want to fall.

I felt like I was trapped. I did not believe I had the ability to find another job. I did not believe I was good enough to work somewhere else. I had been told I was very good at my job clinically, however my personality and interpersonal communication skills were leaving something to be desired. In a nutshell, I was good at my job, but people did not like who I was! It was horrible. Talk about feeding into the negative self talk. Basically, it did not matter how hard I worked, I was not good enough.

I ended up reacting in unhealthy ways. I found myself locked into a pattern of wildly unstable emotions and I vacillated between wanting to quit my job and digging my heels in and wanting to fight for this job I had worked so hard for. I was losing my grip on reality. I was miserable. The funny thing about all of this is how I did not even know how unhappy I was. I cried at the drop of a hat, I could barely sleep, and I was not very interested in anything.

I find it interesting how a few negative comments can make you question every single bit of positive feedback you are given. It did not matter how many positive things I was told, all I heard was the negative things. It was a non-stop loop. “Nobody likes you. You are not wanted. You need to go somewhere else.”

Now, do not get me wrong I was working hard this entire time to find perspective and to make appropriate choices. I forced myself to try to be happy and to make healthy choices for my life. It was just a constant battle. Nothing came naturally.

The day came where I had to start making some decisions. Did I want to stay or did I want to go? It was horrible. I half heartedly started looking for a new job. I got some calls and offers. I started to find out how many opportunities there were for me. I talked to my family. I discussed it all openly and honestly with my mentors. I went on a job interview and was offered the job. I turned it down. That same week I had an interesting conversation with a recruiter. They had a position open and it sounded perfect for me. The terms were very good. I did not have to move.

So, I interviewed with this hospital over the phone. I really enjoyed the conversation and I was excited to see how it all panned out. It was all surreal. Was I really going to walk away from a full time job for a temporary Locum position? It actually turned out to be the best thing I could have done.

This week has been great. I am helping out at my old job as they are still looking for my replacement. I got to work with Work Mommy on Sunday, and this week has been Work Daddy. I felt like I had returned home. I do not have the panicky, scared feeling I had towards the end when I was leaving. I am simply doing my job. I am spending time with my mentors and I am loving my profession again. Perhaps full time employment is not what I needed.

It is dangerous to place your personal self-worth on your career. I had spent so many years focused on learning this role, and I had poured my heart and soul into it. I felt like a failure. I could not understand how anyone could care about me. I was not good enough.

What changed?

I stepped into a new role. I had very little training, and I was expected to utilize the skills I had acquired over the years. I had to be confident in my abilities or I would not be able to take care of patients. I had to trust people I did not know, and I had to be willing to pay attention and pick up new routines. I had to be okay standing on my own two feet.

Guess what? I did it. I was not perfect, and I found myself feeling inadequate. However, I have been receiving only positive feedback. The amazing part is how I am being supported at the new job, and at my old job. I feel like I have done a complete 180. I am finding my mojo.

I am more centered than I have been in over a year. I feel confident. I have hope for my future. I know I can do whatever I need to do to support my son, and to take care of my obligations. I am enough. I don’t have to be overbearing or demanding. I do not have to go into battle every day to prove I can overcome odds and obstacles. I can just do what I am supposed to do. It is okay to admit I need help. I can ask questions without being ridiculed. No one expects me to be perfect, that was probably all me.

Feeling appreciated is so powerful. It reinforces the benefits of working hard. I am also learning to stand up for myself and to look out for my own best interests. I do not have to ignore my needs to make sure that others are happy. I can be honest about what works for me, and I can insist on meeting my personal obligations as well as my professional ones.

I can make plans today. I can allow myself to do fun things and not feel guilty for not being at work every single weekend. I can take time off without shame. It did not matter how many times I was told to take off when I needed to, I did not believe it was okay. I always felt like I was doing something wrong.

I am learning so much about myself. I am learning to be content. I am finding an intense desire to have adventures and to live life to the fullest. I am curious about the world and my abilities again. I am interested in things outside my job again. I feel like a person again. I had lost all that. I was shrouded in failure. Now, I am so much happier since I shed the cloak.

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This kid is back!

Turns out, I am good enough. I am enough. I am not too much and too little all at the same time. I am me. That is a pretty fantastic place to be. I am finding my happy.

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I am remembering how to be happy and content. It is awesome. Finding the excited girl I used to be is awesome.

I am finally remembering what it feels like to be have an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders. It is perfectly acceptable to be happy and to love life. Life is good today.