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I am NOT just my job!


Whilst serving, I would say that yes, my job absolutely 100% defined me. Losing that definition when leaving broke me a little...


Who was I now?

What do I wanna do?

What will define me now?

What is gonna make me successful?


In truth, I still don’t fully know the answers to ALL of the above! I do know now though that a job doesn’t and shouldn’t define you!


Yes, it is a big part of your life... FACT!


Yes, it’s important!


But a job does not define you.


YOU do!


Working in the worst job I’d ever had, burning out, being consumed by it, defining myself by it completely broke me. It eventually tipped me over the edge and led to being diagnosed with depression and anxiety.


It was most definitely one of the most difficult times of my life!


Yet...


Genuinely...


The best thing to ever happen to me...


Now bear with me on this... I’m not about to ask you to join my cult, I promise!


What I did do was ask and find was help.


This resulted in an unexpected journey of self-discovery, me finding me.


Very slowly... gradually... I have started to emerge... not a past version of myself, you know the saying ‘I want the old me back!’. Also, not a version of me that I once thought I should be based on modern social and ecological principles and not some new and improved yoga-loving, green smoothie drinking zen version either... Not any version really.


Just me.


Now as I am.


Raw, flawed, imperfect me.


By learning what I don’t want, who I don’t want to continue to be, I was able to identify and find what I do want... I started to accept exactly what I am, crooked teeth, rolls of fat, bold, brash, crass, potty-mouthed old me...


Who I am, a person, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend... NOT a job!


I think age and dare I say it ‘maturity’ may also have had a hand in this process of self-actualisation too. But I started to stop worrying about what others outside my circle thought and cared more about what me and mine thought. The people that matter the most, the people directly affected by my attitude and choices!


I have been surrounded by, influenced, and grown up with very strong and opinionated individuals, which obviously shaped me, I, myself, have always been a very strong and opinionated individual. This has served me pretty well; I’ve not had a bad life! I’ve used it to make decisions, overcome many obstacles, heartaches and achieve and do some pretty awesome sh*t in my life! It’s not prevented me from having friends or somehow bagging myself an awesome husband…


However, I have often found this persona from others to be quite intrusive and sometimes, no matter how well-meaning, overbearing! Yet here I was often displaying traits of a similar nature to others, probably making them feel the same! My brother for one! Soz Bro!


With this newfound revelation and personal insight I have started to try and accept other people's boundaries as well as setting my own.


Setting my own boundaries


I initially started with work. Seemingly small things like ensuring I leave on time, not looking at or sending emails outside of work hours or accepting calls either. Staying in my lane, only worrying about the things I can change within my job and not trying to do or be everything for all (sometimes known as interfering!).


I’m using the word NO more... I’m not just doing things anymore because I think I should, even though I don’t want to!


I’m also telling the truth and not coming up with elaborate, unsuccessful, excuses to get out of things I don’t want to do! If I don’t want to do something, I’m simply politely saying I don’t want to. Apart from with my mini, as I totally do not want to go to yet another kids birthday party! BUT I will for her! That is a parental responsibility! I’m sure all you parents of these overly social monsters out there can absolutely relate to this torturous predicament!


Obviously, I haven’t just woken up one morning and put all my pieces back together without a trace of them ever being broken! Let’s not be ridiculous! Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for my superpowers to kick in! (I’m positive I should have some, I just must be a late bloomer!). I mean you can smash a mirror and glue the pieces back together, but the cracks will still be evident!


In fact, very recently I have had to check myself before I wreck myself.


So, I invited a friend over to my house for a brew the other day and they replied that they didn’t want to as they like to go home and relax after work but asked if I wanted to meet for a coffee at lunch though.


How did I respond?


Well instead of immediately respecting this response I started to question it, as I felt slightly wounded (obviously this was about me! Cheers deep-seeded insecurities! Knob!). I even made a pretty narcissistic “joke” about them binning me off! (Insert eye roll & red cheeks!). Which of course they 100% had not, they had just honestly and openly set out their boundaries!


Anyway, I realised this mid convo and shut up, backed the f*ck down, and respected them, as I should have done in the first place, accepting their offer of a lunch date. A little too late…


Fact is, I’m a working progress and I’m going to take this as a small victory, in my own personal progress; I mean I recognised my behaviours! Hopefully redeemed myself a little too.


I will also apologise when we meet for said brew, as reflection and hindsight are great but the words left my mouth and were heard, and therefore the apology should be heard too. I will also thank them, because witnessing them setting their boundaries so unashamedly and clearly (rightly so too!) was pretty god damn inspiring for someone trying to learn to set their own! #everydayisalearningday


I am also outgrowing people without remorse, fear, or misguided loyalty (misguided loyalty is unfortunately something I have in droves!). It is completely ok to no longer agree with what others say or think... it is ok to have changed as a person! It is ok to do the things that make you happy and avoid the things that don’t! It is also ok to be ok and ok to not be ok!


This seemingly simple realisation has had a huge impact for me and has actually allowed me to stop constantly looking forward, or backward for that matter, and enjoy the today! Whether that’s a full day or just fleeting moments within it. It has given me the ability to start making choices, albeit challenging choices, for the betterment of me, my family, and the day-to-day. Not for monetary betterment but my general day-to-day existence!


People have been saying I’ve changed... Or making a comment that in the past I said this but now I’m saying or doing something completely different!


Yes, I am.


And?!


Well f*ck those that do not understand, those who wish to judge or criticise, bye Felicia...


Have I changed my mind and opinion about stuff?


Your bloody right I have!


This people is called growth! It's called evolving, learning. Life changes all the time, along with our wants, needs and experiences. This can result in seeing things differently, from new perspectives.


For example, I have always been highly focused and driven on career, achievements, and money. This is fine in itself, particularly when it was just me! Now I’m not just me, yet I got so wrapped up in my career achievements and money matters that I was missing out on the other things in my life! Like taking that moment to be immersed in my minis laugh, organising time with friends and family.


I was burning myself out and drowning in the negative ideology that I wasn’t successful enough.


Successful enough for who though? It certainly wasn’t for me OR my family.


Truth be told it was completely about what I wanted others to perceive!


Yes, we need money to live... but I do not want to live for money! I'm happiest running about with little legs, laughing with and at my ever-suffering husband, spending time with my nearest and dearest, walking my dog, baking, making things, writing, and generally being creative.


(I am surprisingly deep down a creative individual! I know I’m pretty shocked by this too. Who knew!?)


I don’t need to do any of the above sat in Jimmy Choo’s, dripping in gold on an expensive sofa in a mansion.


Facts! It would be nice, don’t get me wrong, but not necessary!


When I leave this world, I’m hoping to be remembered by the people I loved for our time together not the brand of sofa I sat on.


If you also notice, not one of those things that I find happiness in are anything to do with career, academic achievements, or money for that matter.


Well maybe a bit about the moolar, because like I said before, money makes the world go round and I’ve no plans to start robbing the supermarket anytime soon for eggs, flour, and butter to bake cakes like... I can’t run fast enough anyway.


I’m pretty sure the majority of you, if you were to dig deep and identify your happy place it wouldn’t be at work… Would it?


Am I stereotyping here?


Overstepping the boundaries of others again?


Don’t get me wrong I’m not diminishing the benefits of having a decent career, I still want one even after all this self-reflection and growth!


A career in what though I’m unsure at this present moment in time… Like I said working progress…

No matter what I end up being when I grow up (if I ever do) and no matter how much I may love it... I refuse to let it define me again!


“Our identities are like diamonds each unique with multiple facets that shine in differing lights”

Ria Jackson


A job is but one of those facets... it’s something you do not something you are!


WTAF is success anyway?!


Do you know?


I have no clue!


Everyone is different, with different experiences, knowledge etc and will ultimately define success their own way.


But... to be honest I’m beginning to think that success is just another word, much like the word ‘offended‘ described by the absolute Legend that is Stephen Fry:


“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so f*cking what."


Success has no real meaning either; or purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a word or measurement in life!


“He is successful... She is successful”


Well, so f*cking what!?!


It doesn’t actually matter in the grand scheme of things, what you do for work or what I do for work for that matter.


It doesn’t matter what your definition of success is compared to anyone else’s either.


What all of the above has taught me is that the only important question in life is:


Are YOU Happy?


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