It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I’m already filled with anxiety about going to work tomorrow.
See, I don’t like my job. It’s not what I’m meant to be doing with my life. It’s not about the people or the customs, the catered lunches or even that I’m sick and tired of my friends, it’s just that I hate working a job that’s not what I want to college for. I hate that it’s not the field where I busted my ass off for five years, working three different jobs and staying up until 1:00 a.m. only to wake up five hours later and start my cycle all over again. I hate that all the buzzing headaches from too much caffeine seem so futile. All the long-nights, all-nighters, highlighted index cards, blistered fingertips – somehow they all seem so pointless.
And what I hate even more is the fact that I’m already squandering my beautiful, work-free morning, consumed with this uneasiness of where I’ll be tomorrow morning.
When my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, a friend gave her a book about how to “choose your attitude.” A lot of mumbo jumbo bullshit that my mom bought into for two weeks before breaking down crying again over her situation. I remember one morning she handed me the book, and said that it’s all about staying in the moment, feeling completely zen about the space and time you’re in. Tomorrow may be a bad day, but right now, you’re not dealing with any of that. Right now, you’re in your favorite chair, drinking your favorite coffee, listening to your best friend tell you a story. Why ruin this lovely moment with the fears and anxieties of tomorrow?
Dying will turn you pretty fucking zen.
Nothing against my mom, bless her soul, or the friend who gave her that book, but sometimes feeling zen about a situation you hate is easier said than done. I’ve had four mental breakdowns this week over where I am in life – and where I need to be, and I’ll tell you what: it’s perfectly okay. It’s perfectly okay to cry when you need to cry, to feel discouraged about where you work, or what you’re doing and feel the surge of desire to change it. It’s okay to meet those moments of vulnerability because they are what channel you to conquer greatness.
Being strong only stems out of allowing yourself to feel vulnerable. Sometimes we bottle these powerful emotions up because we feel that there’s no one around us to who wants to listen. My mom was like that for a long while, coming home, year after year after year, feeling angry, feeling forgotten, hating so many of her past employers because of what someone said, or the toxicity of those who ran it. She’d come home, only wanting to talk about work and my father and I would, after so many times, tell her to just change the way she thought about it. I dismissed her often when she just needed that sounding board to let her get it off her chest. And, my mom was the strongest woman I knew. But when it comes to not living in the moment, that’s one trait of hers I don’t want to inherit.