You know how I've mentioned (over and over) how much I loved my job as a radio journalist? Well, it wasn't perfect. In fact, I really regretted taking the job the first few months in. The "beat" didn't come naturally to me. I struggled going from having an in-person editor and team to working remotely. I hated how much Paul and I had to rely on daycare and after-school care. So much about it felt wrong, especially compared to how much I loved my previous part-time job.
Several months after I started the job, I began to seriously think about quitting. Then I had a conversation with some friends. One friend was battling similar feelings of unhappiness but her situation was less in her control than mine was... my advice to her was to try to find the things about her current life she'd miss when this season is over.
It occurred to me to apply that to my own life. And it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
I suppose it's just another way of focusing on gratitude, but dude, it really worked. Instead of focusing on the things about my life that frustrated me, I seized on to the idea that nothing lasts forever — so I might as well fully embrace the aspects (big and small!) of my life that I did love. Like
- my 35-minute bus commute — perfect opportunity to listen to my favorite podcasts and have my first sips of coffee.
- the ritual of making a mug of coffee with my Aeropress in the peace and quiet of the morning before everyone else arrived in the office
- the thrill of brainstorming a new project
- the satisfaction of an interview well done
- believe it or not, committee meetings
- the novelty of traveling (and staying in hotels by myself) during work trips
- having a workspace all to myself
- the challenge of diving deep into a topic I know nothing about
- getting to meet all sorts of people
- having the agency to ask strangers questions
You know what? It took just a couple of weeks of this change in attitude before I honestly felt like I didn't only tolerate, but actually loved my job.
With this in mind, I've been surprised by how much I've enjoyed not working. I was so dreading quitting, I forgot how wonderful it feels to have a day stretch out before you with no plans, no nerve-wracking interviews on the horizon. I love the relief of no deadlines, of no longer having to constantly feel productive.
I think the beauty of this in-between time is I know it won't last, either. So I'm enjoying the things I love about staying at home, not working, before this season will also pass.