I know I’m really lucky. I have a job I like to do, great boss, great people to work with. It’s steady pay with good benefits. I have two awesome kids, I live in a great place. We all know #FredTheDog is the best dog in the entire world.
My childhood had issues – goodness knows nothing like many of my friends. Again, lucky. My parents didn’t do drugs or drink, mostly because they were adult children of alcoholics. Because of that, there were things they didn’t know how to teach me. So I learned that if I didn’t want to feel my feelings, I could work really really hard. Then people would like me.
Unfortunately that’s not a super healthy behavior. And my behavior really started to show it — and I wanted something different. I’ve worked really hard to learn to live in the present, to deal with what I am facing, to FEEL things.
And the industry I work in – the one that I love – actually reinforces the broken world view I’m fighting hard to change. This article really struck a chord with me: “Brilliance,” “Pride” and “Genius”: How Tech Culture Hides Mental Illness. From the article (emphasis mine):
I punish myself by withholding sleep, sacrificing good eating habits, and by gorging on caffeine. I pile on responsibilities because an impossible schedule justifies my worldview: everything I’ve ever done is worthless, and there may be greatness ahead if I keep pushing far beyond my own limits. The more I punish myself by overworking, perhaps one day I’ll actually deserve any of the good things that come with critical success.
I’m so lucky I started learning how to feel the feels a couple of years ago. That I have been practicing staying and living in the moment. Here’s the thing about it: my dad is dying. And it just sucks. I’m finding myself looking to get entangled in some complex problem that requires tons of emotional work at my job….that would be so much easier than dealing with the thought of losing my dad.
I’m good at my job. I have always been the planner. What’s the problem? Let’s define it. What’s the gap? Let’s make a plan to close it. And a backup plan to that plan. And a fall-back plan to that.
There’s no plan that can change what my dad is going through. That’s not my role now, anyways. I have to feel what I feel, and help “set the table” so this transition can happen as easily and respectfully as possible.
I’m lucky. I have a good boss. An awesome team – all of them insist on putting family first. Amazing friends who are more like family. They remind me that I’m still setting an example for my kids. They remind me to breathe, to live in the moment.
But it still just sucks.
This is my dad a few years ago when he visited us in Boston. With a Red Sox hat on. Using this picture because he’d hate it. 🙂