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Pity party for one

My husband mentioned in my “About Me” section that I am normally all sunshine and rainbows, which is correct – in fact, many of my friends refer to me as their “sunshine” because of my normally positive outlook on all things.  He also mentioned that lately I have been less than sunny, also correct.

There are several things that have been contributing to this overall feeling of pessimism that I manage to shake off for a little bit here and there.  However, for the purpose of this entry my main focus is the unhealthy way I compare myself to others.  Lately I have been doing this more and more and I think it has a lot to do with my upcoming college reunion.

My 10 year college reunion is THIS weekend.  I am so excited for this event and cannot wait to share this experience with my daughter – even though she is too young to remember any of it.  I am looking forward to catching up with old friends and enjoying time at a place that I truly love (it was a love/hate relationship when I actually attended school but boy, isn’t nostalgia wonderful).  On the flip side, meeting up with friends and acquaintances who I haven’t seen in years (in some cases 10 to be exact) is a very unnerving experience.  Everyone will want to catch up about what we do for a living, what we’ve done for the past 10 years, about our kids, etc, etc.  And while social media has kept many of us in touch, these topics of conversations are still sure to come up.  This is where it gets awkward and my brain can’t help but start making comparisons.

I know that I have a wonderful life.  I have some of the best, most fun and supporting family and friends anyone could hope for.  I have an amazing husband who, even with the bumps we’ve encountered, I couldn’t imagine living without.  My daughter, Boo, is the cutest little girl and always puts a smile on my face… no matter how my day is going.  We live in a beautiful area and try to make the most out of it by getting out and exploring things as much as we can.  Even with all this I find myself making comparisons.  Mainly with regards to my job situation and occassionally with my daughter’s development.

Prior to moving to Connecticut my daughter (now 20 months) wasn’t even trying to move much aside from scooting here and there.  She was able to stand on things when we helped her up but at one point just stopped doing it.  She was content to just sit where we put her and play with her toys.  What a difference a move makes!  Since February she has learned to pull up to a stand, climb the stairs, and now – FINALLY – is starting to take her first steps unassisted.  I couldn’t be more happy for her or more proud.  Up until this point I would see pictures of my friends’ kids, mostly around the same age or within a few months of each other, and would be thinking “well their kid did XYZ at such and such months.”  It was disheartening to wonder why Boo wasn’t hitting the same milestones at around the same age.  I think she must have known we were starting to worry because she has said “Screw it, I got this!”  She’s on the move now and we know we’re in trouble!

Back to the job situation.  For the past five years up until we moved I was working in Human Resources.  I felt good about my job, had built some fantastic relationships with the people I worked with, and felt like my education was being put to use (at least to some extent).  Then I found out we were moving.  I told my husband all along that I would support whatever decision he made that he felt was the best for the family.  I had every hope possible that I would be able to take my job with me, after all we have a lot of employees who work from home.  Unfortunately for me, that did not include a member of the HR team.  Since I didn’t have a choice, I gave my notice and starting hitting the job hunting scene.  During that time my company was able to offer a different opportunity to me which I knew would be helpful while we relocated although it wasn’t ideal.  With this new job I would be able to work from home; however, it would require taking what I feel is a substantial pay cut (which is also capped where I’m at), it would not come with a defined career path (my other job didn’t either), and would be doing work that was extremely similar to what I did over 6 years ago in my customer service position.  Everyone I spoke to (outside of my immediate circle of friends) thought this opportunity was amazing!  In the beginning the more people got excited for me the more I got really irritated.  To me it was going to be a step back.  A step back in the type of work, a step back in pay, and a step back in opportunity.  I was pissed that other people couldn’t (or didn’t) see it this way.  But a job was better than no job.  I accepted the position and started thinking of all the positive aspects about it, and continue to do so each day.  However, once my comparison-loving mind starts going it is hard to stay positive about it.  What makes it even harder is that I continue to job hunt, I find jobs almost every day that I KNOW I would be good at and yet, nothing.  This morning I got a call from a job I applied to over the weekend.  I fit the description perfectly, it is in the human services field (hello, psych degree!), and it is located just 5 (maybe 10 minutes max) from my house.  Could this opportunity be more perfect?!  Well, yes, it could.  After speaking with the recruiter for about 10 minutes he told me the salary for this position.  It was the same, or possibly less, than what I am currently making.  I thanked him for his time and hung up.  I cried.  Here was this awesome position, that I KNEW I was a fit for and I actually got called about… and then my happy little bubble was crushed.

So here I am, just a few days from my reunion, throwing myself a pity party for one… complete with chips and ice cream.  Thinking about my friends with their awesome jobs, their graduate and doctoral degrees (which many of them are actually putting to use), and how they are probably not stressing over the day-to-day like I am.  But really, I know that when it comes down to it my friends really will not care what I’m doing for a living.  Yes, they’ll be interested to know what I’ve been up to and of course, folks will ask what I do for work.  But ultimately, they are not going to put as much emphasis on it as I have done for the past several weeks.  We will all be excited that we get to see each other for a few days and catch up on everything we’ve been doing (not just what our jobs are).  And I’m sure, even though I’ll continue to compare myself to others – it’s just what I do – that what I’ll take away from this upcoming reunion isn’t where I stand in comparison to everyone else, but how much fun we had over those few days and how much fun we have had over the years.

What does the comparison really get you?  For me, it’s just an endless cycle of beating myself up when really I’m blessed in so many ways… there’s no reason to take pity in that.

’til next time!