Indignant in my 30’s

I wrote last week about a bad day I was having… well, more like a bad week, but as with all storms, it has passed. However, in it’s wake I’m left feeling indignant. After dealing with all the drama from men who had no right to treat me as they did, I found myself angry about it. No one should have the power to make me feel bad and the whole time I was dealing with those bad few days I was moping around saying ‘I’m a good person, I don’t deserve this’. Well, life’s not fair and a lot of people go through things they don’t deserve and so my sadness turned to anger and I worked through that but not entirely: I’m still indignant. I still whole heartedly believe that I shouldn’t have been treated that way – no one should – but I’m also indignant about a few other areas of my life as well: work and home.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on contract and my contract was recently up for renewal. Instead of being signed on for another year, I was offered 3 months. This is good, since it was at least renewed and I now have time to find something else, but I’m frustrated with the fact that I’ve been busting my butt at work for the last two years and I’ve received no job security. I could have been made permanent, but instead I’m being dragged along and I feel like I’m being taken for granted.

Another reason for this feeling is my tenancy. I’m looking at re-signing the lease for my rental and I saw that there are many other properties around me that are significantly cheaper or nicer. So I mention this to my property manager and ask for a rent reduction of $30/week to MATCH the price of a vacant unit in the very same complex as me – and the owner refused this. I’m frustrated because again, I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I don’t want to move, I just want what’s fair. I set out a reasonable request, evidenced it with links to other properties (some of which are offering the same set up as mine but are slightly smaller and are $75/week less than my current rent). I’ve lived there for nearly two years, have never been late for a payment, get along with the neighbours and have cared for her place as if it were my own – not to mention the fact that I’m a neat-freak bordering on OCD. I know I’m biased, but I think she struck gold and yet, here I am, feeling taken advantage of. At the end of the day, I really shouldn’t worry about these things – if I sign on again it’s not that big of a deal financially, as it’s already what I pay, but I hate feeling this way.

Other than the indignation, I’m feeling much better than last week though, so I’m glad to be through that last storm. It was a bad one, the worst in a while.

An awful day in my 30’s

I’m significantly depressed today. I don’t mean to say that I wasn’t yesterday or the day before, it’s been building up, and today is just a very bad day. I got out of bed, which is more than I can say for myself two days ago, but to what end? I’m not sure. I came to work but I don’t know that I’m going to get anything done. The reason for coming was simply because I’d already taken one day off this week. Not because I feel loyal to my organisation – no, they’re not loyal to me. Not because I have work to be done – I have plenty, but no one else on my team is holding up their end of the bargain so why should I bust my ass for a project that’s not likely to amount to what I had hoped it would anyways? It’s because I feel guilty staying home. Because I feel like staying by myself will result in me wishing I was around people, but then the people I have already passed on my way into town, have made me want nothing more than to crawl under a rock until everyone has passed so that I can run home… and if it were closer, I swear I would – heels and all. These are the days that are so bad that I can’t figure out what I want or what I need and I just go along on autopilot because I simply don’t know what else to do. I haven’t had one of these really bad ones in a long time.

It’s stemming from a terrible weekend, a horrible date, exes not letting go and just constant feelings of inadequacy over the last few days. Friday night I had a date who was such a jerk that when I called him out on it he told me how unattractive I was and how I think too highly of myself because I didn’t buy him a beer (no, he hadn’t purchased me the round before – he made a big show of how he hated that women expected to be bought drinks/dinner on dates and he then expected me to pay for his beer). I was really only there for that beer to be polite and really, because it was a Friday night and since I’d set aside the time for the date, I didn’t have anywhere else to be. I had no intention of seeing this man again after the first 10 minutes, but I figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and maybe we could be friends or something… well that turned into him walking away from me at the bar because I stood my ground and didn’t buy his beer, only to come back half an hour later to throw a lot of insults my way. I ‘salvaged’ the night by chatting and continuing the night with some random people at the bar who turned out to be lovely, but inwardly I was still recounting every horribly thing that man said to me. In attempts to it drown out, I drank way too much and woke up the next day feeling very sorry for myself.

Saturday I dealt with my hangover as best as possible and I proceeded to go for coffee,  build some furniture (as expected), go for a walk, and head to volleyball – all as expected. I was so hungover I was shaking and feeling very insecure and unsure of myself, and while I want to say this hasn’t happened in a while, this has actually happened twice in the last few months. Apparently I’m now binge drinking when I end up in a situation I can’t deal with – I know, it’s not good and I will watch that it doesn’t turn into a worse problem, but for now, I’m focusing on these events. When I went to volleyball, luck would have it that I was paired with 1 lovely (quiet) man and 2 chauvenistic jerks of men, who refused to pass me the ball, talk strategy with me and would even body check me out of the way to get to the ball that was perfectly passed to me by the other team. I should say here, I’m actually a pretty good volleyball player, but they were playing their own game and every time I would try to get into it, I would get pushed aside – and I have the bruises to prove it. So I left that night, feeling inadequate in every way, because even though I didn’t feel good, I’d rallied so that I could go and engage in a sport that I love and get some physical activity, which I know is a great help to me when I feel down. Did I mention this is a social club? There’s literally NO prize for winning and people come and go as they please.

Sunday and Monday I spent sulking, leaving the house only to go watch Game of Thrones at a friend’s house. Monday I was ‘warned’ by my friend to stay away from the bar in my Office building because my ex was there. Thanks for the warning, but it bothers me that my ex still comes to this bar. I know I don’t own the bar, but if I knew where he currently worked (he’s changed jobs since we broke up), then I would be considerate enough to avoid it. And yet, every time he’s in town I get a warning message from my friend to say that he’s chosen the bar in my office building again. Well, I can’t avoid it when I’m at work, I have to walk out the door literally right next to the bar to go home – and he knows this. I know this isn’t a game of ‘turf wars’ but come on, have some courtesy and attend any of the other 200 bars in the city please! Fortunately I was home on Monday so I didn’t have to worry about running into him.

What I didn’t expect though, was to receive a message from the Dr that I was dating 2 months back who completely ghosted me. He played so many games with me that even though we were only dating for 2 months, it took me just as long to get over him. His message to me was ‘heard a song (Skinny Love by Birdy) and thought of you’. I said thanks and left it at that – I didn’t want to be rude, but I also don’t want to go down that path – and then he sent me a few more messages that were begging me to ask questions and complete with a kissy-face emoji and I was instantly back to where I was 2 months ago questioning every one of them: ‘what does this mean?!?!’ Instead of walking down that path, I wished him well, deleted the thread, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since… but at least I’m not acting on it.

Tuesay I went to my friend’s house for ‘steak night’, where I was uncharacteristically quiet until I had a beer in me and everyone else seemed a little tipsy already, then I figured I was ‘safe’ and that no one would realise quite how negative I was being, because everyone else was having fun. I went to dinner at my friend’s house – the same one that told me I was work obsessed last week – with the couple across the way coming as well. Normally I love hanging out with these people, but last night I realised I’m sitting in my friend’s new place with all his new furniture and looking around at how well he’s done for himself I felt pride, but also significantly inadequate (again) since I am renting and have no assets of my own. Then the couple came over and again, as happy as I was to be visiting with them, the big, shiny engagement ring that she was wearing was glaring in my eyes as a reminder of what I’d had once upon a time, and given it up for what only feels like loneliness in this current downward spiral. I found myself unintentionally competing with everything anyone said, as if trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. I apologised this morning and was laughed off saying no one else noticed, but I still feel bad that I engaged in such behaviour with my friends.

I woke up this morning and decided that if I stayed in bed, there was a chance I’d never want to get out, and so I struggled, but I forced myself to get up. I did some push-ups and some sit-ups as a quick mood boost so I wouldn’t return back to bed, and I decided to get into my new dress and make myself feel good. Well, it turned out to be too small in the arms. This ‘tailor made’ dress is too small – great. So I rummaged through the closet until I found a loose-fitting comfortable dress that I can hide beneath all day, and that was my last straw of a bad few days, thus bringing me to my terribly depressed mood. I got in to work to find my morning meeting extended to twice what it should be while I have a mountain of work to get done. My only consolation is that there is an enormous rain storm outside (the biggest of the season so far), which is (oddly enough) making me feel less alone in this depressed state; as if the black cloud that has been following me around has ultimately gotten so big as to bring the whole city into it’s shadow. It will pass soon enough, and I just hope my own storm goes with it.

Work obsessed in my 30’s

Last night I went out with a few friends to a local pub for food and drinks. I met one of them, Tyson, early to catch up 1-1 before the others got there. We were talking and I saw his eyes glaze over and then all of a sudden he said ‘here you go bringing work to drinks again’ and it left me a bit dumbfounded. We’ve always talked a lot about our respective careers, mainly because we’re both ambitious and were in contract positions. He was offered permanency about two months ago, but I’m still contract and so my conversations are usually working out all the little ‘hints’ of whether my contract will be extended or not. Naturally, that’s what I was doing last night because I’d gotten a few ‘big hints’ about my future in the department – namely, someone at my level is going on maternity leave soon – so I was going through these things and using Tyson as my sounding board, as I always do. I was surprised to hear him so annoyed at me because I was talking about work! Maybe it was because now that he’s permanent he’s no longer as interested with the intricacies as I am? Or maybe I’m actually obsessed and talk way too much about work! I told him that I hadn’t realised I do it and he responded with ‘it’s all you talk about and honestly, it doesn’t even sound like you like your job’ which was another surprise: I love my job! At least I thought I did.

I think on my quest to attain permanency I’ve forgotten what I really enjoy about it. I’ve gotten used to it here. I know the people, I know the work, there’s always something new and challenging coming up – which I love… but perhaps that’s what I love and not the job itself? I haven’t stopped to think about it since I started here really. This job is so perfectly suited to my skills that I just naturally thought I loved it, but realistically, I don’t know what it is I love about it now that I was called out by Tyson. I love that I’m in a position to make a difference across the entire state, but recently I started looking into how much of a difference this office actually makes and, it turns out, it’s not much of one – which has been a depressing battle of mine since I figured that out, and it’s made me less excited to come to work every day. So, I tried to break it down into aspects of my job that I will either like or dislike:

  • nature of the work : like.
  • content of the projects : like.
  • background of the projects : dislike.
  • people at work : dislike (with very few exceptions).
  • office dynamics : dislike.
  • loyalty of managers to me : none, so, dislike.
  • efficiency of the Office : dislike.
  • managerial style : loved until my boss left and was replaced inadequately so, dislike.
  • job security : none, so, dislike.

The list could continue should I continue to delve into it, but as I go, I get more and more depressed about it. I really thought that I love what I do and now I think I may be wrong. I love researching and investigating and holding people accountable and being able to affect change, which are all things that led me down this path, but the background of anything I work on stems from child deaths, and I have to read into each one of them. It’s awful, sad and ultimately depressing. I have always been able to do it knowing that if I can affect change by writing my report and save even one child’s life, then it’s worth the struggle I deal with on a daily basis in reading about all these children for whom it’s too late to save. Recently (a few months ago) I realised that the reports I work on, thus far, haven’t affected change though, and that’s significantly more depressing. And forget the accountability aspect: it’s a joke! If something is not done that we’ve recommended, there’s no repercussions at all. It makes me wonder why I’m doing this at all. I hope that maybe there’s a difference to someone. Maybe the stats would have increased had it not been for the reports, and a brief analysis indicates that this is likely, but it’s awful to see the same numbers, or even rising numbers in some instances, across a range of issues that are ultimately preventable deaths.

Now I’m just starting to get into a rant about work and I realise maybe Tyson was right. Maybe I do bring my work home with me far more than I should. I guess it’s unrealistic to expect to read about a child’s death (and usually I have to read and research multiple) and then at 5:00 just leave it all at the door on the way out without any adverse effects on my mental health. I thought I was doing alright with the balance, but perhaps I was leaning too hard on my friend as a sounding board to get through the particularly rough days. I’d never go into details and I’d usually just end up complaining about my colleagues or a deadline or something, but still. If I take the nature of my work out of the equation for a moment and even look at job security in itself, the outcome is not much better. As I am on contract here, I can’t plan anything too far into the future and I never feel secure in my work. I won’t buy a house because I don’t want such an investment in the instance that I am not renewed. I feel like moving forward in my life is currently on hold. I’ve been here for two years now and watched several people made permanent in other teams, but for me, there’s no permanency because I’m in a requirement-based position. It’s frustrating to give heart and soul to a job and not have any loyalty shown to me. In two years, how has there not been a business case approved to make me permanent? I’m consistently told that I’m working higher than what’s expected of my level and that my work is very well done. I’m commended for my enthusiasm and I was even told last week that I’m ‘integral’ to the success of the project I’m currently working on. That’s my manager’s word, not mine, so how is it possible that I have not been made permanent?

I like to think that I’m making a difference and I like to think that my manager will continue to have my back in at least renewing my contract, but at the end of the day, who knows. I take pride in a job well done and I figured that the feeling of being drained at the end of the day (or midday on some occassions), and always wanting to indulge in more wine than I should after work, was ultimately a result of my work ethic and that it was just something that comes with a career; but maybe not. I had no idea how much ‘work’ I was actually taking home with me every evening until last night’s conversation with Tyson. It was a rude awakening and something I need to now seriously consider.

Considering an alternate future in my 30’s

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and it’s long past time to get back to it! A lot has happened since my last post – namely, a holiday for 2.5 weeks to attend my mom’s wedding and visit with friends and family. Needless to say, it was an emotional rollercoaster. I’m going to talk about my mom’s wedding day in another post, because that was a big one for me and I ended up having an anxiety attack in the middle of the afternoon, but before I get to it, I want to touch on one other point: the vision of an alternate future.

Going home to visit family is always an emotional thing for me because I live so far away. It takes the better part of 2 days to travel there and then when I get there I usually only have a few weeks. This time I had 13 days at home, including the day I arrived and the day I left. I arrived and, as usual, was instantly pulled in all different directions. Mom wants me to do wedding stuff with her (she always wants me to do stuff with her – even just errands), dad wants to just ‘sit and chat’ (because he makes himself so busy doing chores at home, he never wants to do anything other than rest), my cousins are there for short visits (a couple days) and are asking when I can fit them in, while my friends patiently wait for me to schedule myself some time with them as well. Add games nights with my aunts/uncles, plus family barbeques, plus beach days, and in this instance, a one-day hike that I was planning before I even got there) and it gets very hectic. I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many people who love me and, to be honest, if it was any other way, I would probably be sad that my loved ones aren’t making a bigger deal about my return home! But still, it can be draining and it always ends up being a very tight schedule which is anxiety inducing in itself, and also why I never have time to see secondary friends (it sounds awful, but it’s the best description I can think of), aquaintances, or old mates from other eras of my life. This time I did.

This time I saw a friend from highschool that I no longer talk to, simply because he’s one of my best friend’s brother. Ben was my first love in highschool. We never dated, but he was my best friend in grades 9 and 10. We did everything together and he was always the person I looked forward to seeing and talking to. We had so much fun together. I left in grade 11 for a year as an exchange student and when I came back in grade 12 he told me he loved me and that he couldn’t be ‘just’ my friend, he needed more. I was devastated because I didn’t want more, I wanted things back to the way they were. And that’s where we parted ways really. I saw him at school and stuff, but it was never the same and we really didn’t hang out at all after that. But this time I was home, I went with my friend to pick up her kids at ‘uncle Ben’s’ house and I got to see him for the first time in about 10 years. I saw him in his backyard, with his wife (whom I knew about but was just meeting for the first time) and neices and nephews around him and for a brief flash I thought ‘wow, this could have been my life’.

I didn’t hug him to say hello and I stood there awkwardly for a while because I didn’t trust myself to know what to do. This is a rare occurrence for me. Despite some difficulty at times, I seem to always know what to do and I’ve been thrown into awkward spots before and managed them far better than this encounter. I watched him walk across the grass and laugh at something I had said to his nephew and as soon as I heard his laugh it was like time stopped and I was ‘home’. I was frozen. It was surreal and quite emotional for me. I managed to play it off well enough but I recognised that in the 20 minutes I spent with him while his wife and my friend packed up the kids, I was babbling some times, staring at him awkwardly at other times, and my palms had gotten all sticky and sweaty. I was so nervous it was like I was being interrogated in court and yet I was talking to someone who used to be my best friend. I couldn’t believe it. Twenty minutes with him and I was so affected that I started to wonder if I’d made the right choices all the way back to grade 12, when I told him I couldn’t be with him.

Ultimately I know I made the right choice, and seeing him and further considering these things solidified that, but at the time, it was a whirlwind of considerations. I instantly got jealous of his wife thinking ‘that should have been me!’. His dog kept coming up to me and I smuggly thought ‘even the dog likes me’, which I know is ridiculous. I looked around at his manicured backyard and thought how cosy it would be to set up a lawn chair and read my book in the sun next to the back corner of the garage. I took in the children’s activities that were set out for my friend’s kids and thought how nice it would be to be taking part in them and watching these kids grow up. And, oddly enough, he has a rickshaw and he takes the kids for rides in it so when I saw that, all I could think was that I could be in that rickshaw! I could be sitting with the littlest ones while Ben pretended his nephew was helping to pull us around. And in this little image we were in a park and we were all laughing happily and everything was as it would be in a movie. And that’s when I realised that I was imagining a movie scene, just with us as the characters, and if I’m being totally honest, in this vision I’d ‘stolen’ my friends kids and imagined them as my own. I thought to myself ‘does this mean I want this?’ ‘does this mean that I’m unhappy in my choice of life?’ ‘does this mean I… made a mistake?’.

I was quite conflicted after this little visit and for a few hours I was zoning out imagining a different future and what it would have looked like for me to have said yes to Ben all those years ago. And yes, I know he was just asking to be my boyfriend, not my husband, but had I said yes, we would’ve ended up together. We were great together and he loved me as much as I did him, but that was never going to be my life. Even then, as hard as it was to say no, I knew that my life was never going to turn out like that. I’ve always reached for the stars and would never have contented myself to a life in my hometown with my highschool sweetheart, simply because I would always have wondered what else is out there for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve questioned many of my decisions, particularly the ones that were the scariest and required the most change, but somethings I just knew I’d done right. This was one of them. As I continued to mull over this movie-scene alternate future I had envisioned, I became content with the fact that I made the right choice. It makes me smile to think of Ben, his wife and the kids all playing together, but it doesn’t make me sad to think that I’m not there. I’m not missing out on any potential future of mine, I’m simply daydreaming about a future that could never be – which is why it seems so perfectly movie-esk. I figure it’s the same as imagining my future with a movie star or the cute guy I pass on my way to work in the morning… someone that I don’t know and can imagine whatever scenario I want to. It’s a dream, it’s a fantasy, but it would never be reality.

The reality of my life is the one I’m living. I’ve travelled across the world, I’ve seen and experienced more than most people will in their lifetimes, and I’m blessed in knowing that I’m happy with all the decisions that have brought me here, for good or bad, because without any of them, I wouldn’t ever have made it to this exact moment. And, although I’m having a particularly good day (which has been a bit rare in the last few months), I can see that my life suits me better than any alternate life I could ever have imagined for myself.