So Many Needs, So Little Time

I have been engaged with so many dynamics the past week that I am not sure how to define it all except it is the human condition. I have encountered people that are facing really tough situations and others are facing their own self-induced tough situations. It really has me humbled in how I can or cannot make a difference.

I struggle with codependency in these situations. I really want to help, but know that I am not able to help everyone with everything they need. And I know realistically that I have to prioritize those closest to me in order to truly help people the way they need. Since my therapist told me last week to focus on the emotion and the root cause of that emotion, I want to do that here.

If I am honest with myself, my reason for being frustrated that I can’t help everyone is selfishly rooted. I do not want to NOT be there for someone if they need me because that might mean I will disappoint them and I can’t stand letting people down. Good God, am I for real?! Is that perfectionism or codependency? I do not know the difference sometimes. I mean, it is superbly unrealistic to think that I can be everything to everyone at the exact moment they need me.

So, where does this come from? Why am I am so scared to let people down? 1) Some of it is that I don’t always feel like people are there for me when I need them and I give them a lot of excuses. But the people I surround myself with now are no longer that group – they would be here at the drop of a hat. 2) I’m sure some is also the trust factor that I have with people that they truly do not say what they feel. 3) I would guess a majority of it is related to communication and deep-rooted in the way that my family communicates.

But that’s a guess. So, how can I deal with this? And why is it bothering me now more than normal? Some days I feel I need constant praise and reassurance and get none. Again, is this perfectionism, self-doubt or what?

I have so much to learn. I feel that the keys to unlocking my true happiness and true human spirit are hidden in the puzzle of my brain. If you haven’t noticed this blog is not just about the journey out of the rat race for me. It is about my journey to happiness as well.

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Undeserved Blessings

I turned somber today after my therapy appointment and the feeling continued well into the evening. We focused on 5 things in one hour and I have been reflecting since:

  1. I have a strategic point of view. I knew this already even though I doubted myself. Some of it is related to my codependency fears of everything being final. I grew up believing that many, if not all, decisions we make are forever. “Normal” people know that is not the case, but this flawed thinking has caused me to try to control everything in my life out of fear. I’ve taken years to get past trying to control things, but I don’t always identify the emotions that is driving me to want to control.
  2. I am overwhelmed by tactical things because of my strategic point of view. At work, I am struggling with tasks that I have to accomplish because those are keeping me from creating a high-level process that will help prevent the tasks. Chicken or the egg? This has been a 2 year problem in my current role. I have learned a ton and though, I love what I am learning, it is not good for my sanity. I need a narrowed focus with more control. Currently I am assigned a ton of things to do, yet my boss is constantly distracting me when I need to focus in order to do all of those tasks.
  3. I must wait for more information before fully deciding career directions. While I am attempting to do all this at work, I know I have a fork in the road getting closer. I’ve mentioned it here in past posts. One side of the fork is becoming a Sourcing Manager. That job is in my current department is honestly natural progression to the position I am in now. The other position is not even developed yet in the company, but I know it is coming with a recent law passing. I really am drawn to that new position because of its strategic direction. I almost have all of the pieces put together on the potential positions and will know in the next week or two what my direction is to take. Still pending….
  4. I am afraid of growing old without the people I love the most. Maybe I feel this fear because I am seeing more death lately with my colleague’s husband being terminally ill. Or maybe it’s because my best friend’s husband and my step-sister’s husband are both in prison each serving more than 10 years total. Or possibly it’s related to my step-dad’s recent COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) diagnosis pointing to his heart as the cause. He has a history of heart disease and his family does too. I also have a deep fear that I am going to lose my husband because he has an unexplained illness that is continually linking more symptoms.
  5. I want to make people get the care I believe they should get in order to prevent No. 4. Through this experience with my parents, I have noticed another trend that I do not like: both my mom and step-dad seem to not look for answers concerning their health nor as thoroughly as I would like. And then I realized that I treat my husband the same way because I do not feel he prioritizes his health as much as I want either. And the epiphany occurred:
    1. I take care of my health because I want to be alive and healthy for those around me and
    2. Because people do not do the same thing I do to find answers related to their health, I interpret it like they are not prioritizing being here for me longer term.

And there it is – the codependent triangle. I see a victim, try to rescue them and then get mad because they do not do what I want them to do. And it is all fear driven. I am afraid they are going to die earlier than me and I am afraid of being alone in my elder years. As I age, these are settling in as my new fears. 

So, what did these 5 observations give me at the end of an hour session? An assignment from my therapist:

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Is this what adulting looks like?

On Thanksgiving Eve, I am thankful that I have a very understanding husband, a really good job with really good opportunities, a therapist that gets me, sweet puppies to snuggle with and a family that I do not want to spend one day without. I also am thankful for all of my new friends in this blogosphere that are joining me in my journey out of the rat race. 

Comments always welcome! Thanks for your inspiration and your support!

Imploding Passion

I’m in a cyclic pattern of taking on too much, being passionate about several things and then, as the mister says, imploding on myself.

I am currently in the phase of taking on too much and I’m not sure how to stop. I recognize it happening and I’m fearful of the implosion. That’s half the battle, right? I think this shall be the topic of discussion tomorrow with my therapist.

To catch you up to speed, I have so many options with work in a good way. I am thought of very highly and it appears that I’ll have a fork in the road soon. I’m starting the curve now and I’m not sure yet where it will head. I’m cultivating both directions to see which will have the most opportunity for us.

Then outside of work, I’m helping with my gym, I’m helping a co-worker through a tough time, helping a friend through a tough time as well and I’m contemplating starting a small makeup business. Can I add anymore on?

I mentioned in my last blog that I had Lasik last Friday and was forced to relax and give it all a rest. Even going into the procedure, I had the lowest blood pressure I’ve had in a year. I’m sure some of that was lack of coffee, but the rest, quite possibly, was not focusing on anything except myself and my husband. I guess I still need to find the internal balance that I’m always seeking. This is the feeling I crave when I seek to retire early.

Until I figure it all out, feel free to keep commenting. I really appreciate learning from you all.

Untitled Adventures

Building on my blog Maybe I Don’t Want to Retire from a week and a half ago, I’m starting to wonder if I really want to retire early. I mean, of course, I want to live differently and move on to another phase of life and enjoy a more relaxed life. I commented on “Our Next Life’s” The Anti-Greed Manifesto Blog a few weeks ago, our salary is freedom of time. I want more time.

 

This week, I had LASIK eye surgery and was forced to take Friday off. I ended up relaxing a majority of the weekend and spreading out my chores quite a bit. I was FULLY relaxed. Nothing felt like it was crammed into a few minutes that I had. I had all the time in the world not running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It was nice!

 

I am perplexed though. On one hand, we want to retire. Then on another, my husband and I are talking about a HUGE opportunity that I have with my company. It’s the potential of reporting to someone very high in the company and being in charge of the food safety verification program for ALL imports related to the company. I was called out in a meeting of higher up managers that I was the only person in the room qualified and the more that I think about the job, the more excited I get. Does this sound like someone that is ready to retire early? I am so confused.

 

So what are our main reasons to want to retire early? I’ve mentioned before about in my blog, The Trailing, GenX Husband, that we want off the train of trying to fit into this world. Every time we talk about my husband finding a meaningful career, we can’t find any. For the first time ever, he was able to put on a job application that a big reason for his job history is my career moves. He put together a very good application, so we’re hopeful it will get him noticed. In the meantime, I’m planning on meeting with the hiring manager of the other position to determine if it is a fit for me. I have a vision of what I expect it to be like and I am hopeful that we can compare notes on it.

 

Until then, I’m still trying to figure out my journey out of the rat race. At this time, it’s about timing. A reasonable timeline that I have been telling myself was 10 years (making us close to 50 years old). If we can do it earlier, it would have to be over something that we both feel supremely passionate about. My text to my husband today was, “I don’t think I’ll be ready until you’re passionate about a plan. You don’t seem passionate yet because we haven’t identified a secure way.” We’ll still be looking for the answers….. Comments welcome! 🙂

Maybe I Don’t Want to Retire

This evening it dawned on me that maybe we’re not looking actually to retire early. Or maybe it is that my definition of retiring early is different than others.

We both know that we want to have a life that is happier. My corporate job is great, but I cannot sit by and watch my husband suffer any more while I grow. Here is a bit of our conversation today since my epiphany:

ME: well I am dead serious about figuring out how to start up a small business in Cedar Key. I think all of your job stresses from the last decade are why you are suffering health issues. A happier state of mind helps a healthier body.

HUSBAND: How could we do that?

ME: I think we need to figure that out. First we need a business plan. But after that, I’m thinking utilize our savings like a few other people we know. I don’t think it’s worth living unhappily until you retire because we will watch ourselves do exactly what we have seen other people do and that is retire and die. Literally.

HUSBAND: I’ll work on that and finding a job that is tolerable.

ME: You do whatever you need to do on the job front here. But I am really thinking we need to set a deadline for ourselves, target it wtih the ideas to move and start a business, cash in some or all of our savings and use that to live on while we set it up.

HUSBAND: But you are growing and getting fulfilled in your work and friends. Baby steps.

ME: Baby I’ll grow wherever you plant me.

I know it’s crazy to think this way sort of, but is it worth your health? You don’t know the things that I see in him. His mental health is shutting down and he’s depressed. The best place on earth for us is Cedar Key and we know we want to live there. Why do we have to wait? Why can’t we figure it out now? We have friends that have taken risks. What really makes us happy?

That’s what it all boils down to. And health insurance…..

Building My Community

My mentors say that the best thing you can do for yourself is surround yourself with supporting people and people that inspire you to change into what you want to do with your life.

My husband and I want to retire early and maintain a healthy, active life. If that’s important to us, then we need to surround ourselves with people that are attempting and/or successful at doing that or at least, trying. The blogger community has several groups achieving this exact goal. I’ve mentioned Mr. Money Moustache and recently I’ve encountered Our Next Life. Reading their tips certainly is giving me more motivation to focus on our goals.

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The blogging community is fabulous and for the most part, super supportive. But it is necessary to create more community than the online world alone. We need tangible people in our lives that we can call and physically see. So I surround myself with people who are working hard to manage their small businesses and focused on similar values we have (like mind, body, fitness and health). My husband and I have a goal to eventually have an art business in our retirement. We do not necessarily want it to be the sole source of income, but it would be pretty dag-gone cool if we could learn from others how to manage ourselves better and maybe earn a buck or two to assist our “fixed income” status when we hit it.

And one last group of people that I am surrounding myself with are inspirational and strong women.

  1. I have a set of friends that are my therapy away from therapy. They are helping me organize my life and I am learning from their exposure to their mentors, who are high up management at places like Procter & Gamble.
  2. And then there are the women mentors I have at work that are either close to retirement or have climbed the corporate ladder to a point that I think I want to go before retirement.  Since it is Josh and my ultimate goal to use my income to get us to retirement quickly, the faster that I can climb the ladder with minimal work/life balance concerns, the more chances I will have to increase my income, pay down our debts and increase our savings. It all goes hand in hand.
  3. A new emerging group are women that I have met recently actually have given up their traditional, corporate life and exchanged it for non-traditional income generators. A friend of a friend just sold everything, built a house and moved to Florida after it was built. Insanity! But I envy her. She is doing some freelance work to make ends meet while she and her husband are, as she says, “hemorrhaging money”. They are confident they will figure it out. And the second friend that I recently encountered realized, at 35 years old, that she had a full year of income saved in her 401k which is what she always felt she needed to break free from the corporate chains. She told me that during a training at a corporate job she had for 11 years, she realized that there were two types of people in the room – the eager young group and the tired, disgruntled older group. She knew she didn’t have the energy that the younger group had (never did according to her comments) and she didn’t want to be like the older group that was disgruntle and tired. So she cashed in her 401k, committed financial suicide in advisor eyes, and went to school to be a massage therapist. What an inspirational story!

puzzleAnd amidst all of these goals and inspirational women in my life, I am watching a friend go through a horrific event. She is a week or two away from being a widow. She hasn’t even celebrated their first wedding anniversary. It is breaking my heart for her, and it has me reflecting on what is important to me. The most important person in my life is my husband. I want to spend as many healthy years as possible with him enjoying the sea, creating art together and building a life that we cherish together. I do not believe he was created to sit behind a desk, so the faster that we can break out of the four corporate walls, the better we will be. And we certainly do not want to do what we see regularly in our family and colleagues: work until retirement only to get sick and die. So, we’re going to figure out how to do this faster and building our community is a big piece of that puzzle.

Asking for Help….

Where do I begin? I need to set some goals and this is just as good a place as any… Tomorrow, I am meeting with a friend who studied Industrial Organization as a major and has worked for Procter & Gamble the past couple of years via Coop and as a consultant. I’m excited to meet with her to learn some techniques to be more balanced and feel less guilt overall about my busyness.

What led to this? My therapist gave me goals to help me calm my mind and take less on. Some days it works and other days it does not. My job is making it worse and I cannot tell if I am overwhelmed by the job responsibilities or if I am actually operating at a higher level. My friend says I’m at a higher level and that it sets me apart with what my basic needs are. When I try to tell my husband that and get excited about potential conveniences, he challenges me on it. So I’m chronically confused. Do I slow down and quit all the things that I am involved in? Or do I instead work on taking advantage of convenient lifestyle items that make sense? Hopefully I will know more tomorrow.

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So here’s to actually asking for help and listening. I will keep you posted.

Until then, please enjoy my journey out of the rat race.