Midlife Malaise

Due to an unfortunate decision in my choice of major in my college years, I have been an administrative assistant my entire adult working life. I’ve been in my current position for nearly 13 years with the same company and my job has changed very little in that time. I don’t really foresee it changing very much in the next 13 years either.

The work is not challenging, my coworkers are not my friends (I am the only woman among 8 men), and culture of my company has changed from  we’ve-got-your-back to it’s-all-about-the-dollars in the last 5 years. Within the next year, my office will be moving inside an industrial plant where I will be forced to dress like a construction worker (goodbye cute summer sandals!) and share a space with my blue collar coworkers (they are good guys but there’s not a lot of talk about arts and culture if you know what I mean). Those are the cons of my current job.

Here are the pros: the pay is decent, the benefits are excellent, I have a mere 17 minute commute, I can pretty well come and go as I please, and I have 4 weeks of paid vacation plus 8 paid sick days per year, plus 10 paid holidays.  My boss is a good boss – my only complaint is that he’s an over-thinker to the nth degree and sometimes that can be exasperating, but overall I enjoy working with him. My job causes me very little stress and I don’t have to work evenings or weekends, or be on call.  Also, and this is a big PRO – I don’t have to work with the general public. On paper, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, especially in today’s job market.

I feel like I outgrew this position a long time ago, but it was a good fit for my family and see also the pros above – it’s hard to walk away from all that, especially since my husband is self-employed and doesn’t bring in any health insurance or a regular bi-weekly paycheck. I feel that I have more to offer than simply being able to do my job quickly and efficiently, but do I really? When I look for other jobs, I see gaping holes in my resume that hold me back from applying for those positions. I haven’t developed any marketable skills over my time here that would be useful elsewhere. And there’s a lot of fear of the unknown too – fear of starting over at another company, fear of rejection when going for interviews, fear of getting into a worse situation…lots of fear all around it.

I hear all of the talk about following your dreams! and dream big! Do what your heart wants you to do!! Honestly, that all sounds exhausting. Hustling sounds like a lot of work when I feel like I should be slowing down and settling in at my age.

I think what is really happening is that I have hit midlife and don’t have a career I can be proud of. I sort of hate that my kids say “my mom is a secretary” when I’d originally had such lofty goals for myself in college. My best friend’s title is Senior Director of Development at a major university…she gets to travel and go to fun events and talk to different people every day. I come to work and sit behind a desk and listen to podcasts so that I can distract myself while I do the same work I’ve been doing for 13 years. I’m not jealous of my friend – she has worked damn hard for her career and deserves every accolade that comes her way – she’s very, very good at what she does and I am so proud of her. I simply wish that I had a career that I could talk about with some sense of accomplishment and pride as well. I feel almost embarrassed to say “I’m an administrative assistant” when I have a French degree under my belt (also embarrassing: I remember very little French now, seems like a waste of tuition).

I heard a term the other day in a Ted Talk I watched on YouTube – “Midlife Malaise”. I think that perfectly describes how I’m feeling. I’m not having a midlife crisis as much as I’m just sort of bored, really. And I’m actually not bored with my whole life – my marriage is solid, my kids are good and healthy… it just seems to be my career or lack thereof that has me feeling inadequate.

This feeling cycles around every so often. A lot of times I can squash it down and ignore it, but it always comes around again eventually. Not sure what to do about it – do I simply need to learn to appreciate what I have or do I need to put myself out there and risk it all for something that may or may not be better? Should I develop one of my hobbies into a side gig and look for fulfillment there? Should I volunteer somewhere and hope I feel useful? Should I just go buy a lottery ticket and pin my hopes on a mega-millions win??

If only I could get paid to read books and drink tea all day…my life would be complete.

photo of teacup on top of books
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

 

 

Enough already!

I’m not used to living my life in chaos. My live is typically lived at a blissfully boring level with occasional blips up in the chaotic air, but for the last few months I feel like I’ve been living in the chaotic air with only occasional blips of boring (I know I keep talking about this, and trust me, I’m over it even more than you are).

And just to add a little more fuel to the dumpster fire that has become my spring/summer, wouldn’t you know it, now my car is giving me fits.

Not just run of the mill fits, catastrophic fits. Like the engine-is-totally-locked-up fits. The kind of fits that take more than a couple of days to repair. Fortunately, it’s still under the factory warranty so everything should be covered. I’m working with the warranty company to get a loaner car because the dealership says they don’t have anymore cars to loan out. Um..excuse me, you’re a car dealer. Your only job…is CARS. You literally have a whole entire lot FULL OF CARS! I understand they have a limited number of cars set aside for loaners but it cracks me up when they say “we have no more cars”. Yes you do, you have plenty of cars – how ’bout loaning me that super slick Camaro you got sittin’ over there? I’ll take that.

So anyway, yay! More stuff to worry about! I love having zero brain capacity for anything other than stress!

On the bright side (because I will ALWAYS search for the bright side, dammit!), we have the supplies to build a nice patio and deck for our pool, we just got some nice kitchen appliances (at a really great deal because they were from the scratch-and-dent section); the hubs and I are reconnecting now that the kids are out of the house/almost out of the house/never home anyway, and my book club is coming over tonight to discuss this book and then watch the movie based on the book on Netflix (Book Club and chill?). So things are not all bad, and I am desperately clinging to the good, easy things in my life.

And if nothing else, there is always ice cream, which is always good and easy.

Take it easy, like ice cream and Sunday morning,

Jill

Stress eating my way to a nervous breakdown

Wow, that title is a little dramatic, isn’t it? I’m not anywhere near a nervous breakdown, but I have been stress-eating like a lunatic lately, so that statement isn’t completely false.

From the middle of March until now it seems like it has been one thing after another around here – my daughter’s graduation, a last-minute Senior Tea I helped throw together, my other daughter’s cheer commitments (and mine, say hello to the new Cheer Booster Club treasurer!), then a couple of weeks ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, the doctors think his cancer (lymphoma) is very treatable and his prognosis is good, but for those 2 weeks things were pretty dicey. I really and truly thought my dad would not live to see the end of this month.

Things with work have been dicey too. At the end of last year, some big changes were made to my company and it went from feeling like a close-knit friends & family community to a cut-throat BUSINESS. Several very good employees were let go and just this morning they let one of our best go. She had been with the company for years (maybe 20?) and she was a wealth of information – she knew the processes and ins and outs of almost everything in my department. She was my go-to when I didn’t know how to do something – actually she was the go-to for a lot of people – she was super dependable and could be counted on to get things done. And instead of utilizing her brains and talent in another position, they restructured her right out of a job. I am so sad and mad and frustrated. It just makes no sense to me.

And she’s not the only bright star they let go. Which leads me to think that if they are willing to let these really good employees leave, what’s stopping them from letting me go? Do I jump ship now or do I wait until they decide I’m not valuable anymore and let them offer me a severence? I really don’t know.

So, guess how I’ve been dealing with all of this? ICE CREAM. As much ice cream as I can get! I’ve had ice cream nearly every day for the last 3 weeks, and not just a small lady-like dainty scoop of ice cream, nuh-uh! I’m talking six inch high soft serve twist cones from the local walk-up. I’m talking those Snickers ice cream bars (and if you think I stop after having one of those, you would be wrong). Ice cream in big bowls at home drizzled with Hershey’s syrup. And you wanna know how I feel after all that ice cream?

Awful.

It didn’t help one iota. Okay maybe while I was eating, it felt good, but after the last crunch of the cone, my worries were still there, nagging me to think about them some more.

It hasn’t been totally terrible – I did steal away for a day with my BFF for a trip to a museum, but guess what we did after? ICE CREAM.

Ice cream hasn’t been the only player, but it’s been the main character in my play of overindulgence. I feel like I want to pull back and get into a regular routine of eating well again, but dammit it’s so hard to resist something that is so quick and efficient at easing my stress, even it only lasts a few moments. I’m ready for life to settle down again but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

What do you do for stress? And if you say “I work out and eat lettuce” I will glare at you through my screen. Tell me the real deal – how do you REALLY deal with stress?

 

No Screaming Banshees Allowed

I woke up this morning and thought “I can’t wait for this week to be over.” I immediately started thinking about everything I need to get done and where I need to be at what time and trying not to be mad at myself for things I didn’t know…

Okay, let me back up a bit. This week is the last week of volleyball with tonight being Senior Night. Until 9:00 last night, I had no details about what we needed to do, what time we needed to be at the gym, what would be expected of us…I had no info and neither did my Volleyball Player and having no info makes me a little anxious. I finally texted another Senior Mom to ask if she had heard anything and she hadn’t, but she had a call in to the coach. A little while later she texted me back and told me what time to be at the gym and oh yeah, Senior Parents are supposed to decorate the locker room today (Monday).

Son of biscuit eater.

Granted, I should have done some asking around last week but I’ve been preoccupied with some extended family stuff and other things. And honestly, I have never been, nor will I ever be, THAT classroom mom who has her shit together and thinks ahead about things like decorating or getting (or God forbid, making) cute little gift for all the Seniors. Luckily, one of the other Senior Moms is that mom (and I thank God for her every day!)  and is going to decorate today, so it will get done but I’m so frustrated that none of what is expected was communicated to us. Is this common knowledge that I “should” have known about? And how would anyone be expected to know if they’ve never had a Senior in a sport before??? I’m so frustrated right now. I am going to get my Senior some flowers, but is there anything else I’m supposed to know? I guess it’s too late now anyway.  :/

Tomorrow is the Volleyball Player’s 18th birthday, but they have an away game tomorrow night, so we are going to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday. I’m running through all the things that I need to get for her tomorrow and Wednesday and all the errands I need to run, then on Thursday, they have the Regionals tournament which I will have to help provide snacks for (along with a table and a cooler). I guess I could do cute little gifts for the other Seniors then? That might be an idea…

Anyway, all of that to say: this is a busy week with a lot going on, so I need to make sure I make time to do the things that will save my sanity. Which feels counter-intuitive because my Emotion Mind is screaming “PUT EVERYONE ELSE FIRST!!! YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR SELF CARE!!!” to which I say “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP YES I DO!!” I have made an appointment on Wednesday to get my hair cut (these are some bad hair times, friends. My hair needs an intervention), I am going to somehow squeeze in a trip to the gym if only to sit in the massage chair for 20 minutes, I am going to make sure I drink a lot of water, eat some nutritious foods (I’ve already got a meal plan for the week with all the groceries bought. Vegetable beef stew is in the crockpot as we speak), get some movement in  – that might mean I walk laps in my office if nothing else, and my BFF and I are trying to make an overnight girls trip happen this weekend (<—this is the main thing keeping me going – I am really looking forward to this).

Even though this is going to be a busy week I have to make myself a priority, otherwise by Friday I will be a cranky screaming banshee and nobody wants that. Least of all me.

 

Things on social media that annoy me right now

I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, so I’m kinda cranky and I thought it would be a good day to talk about the things that are annoying me. I feel like maybe I’ve done a post like this before but I don’t care – these are the things on my mind and I’m gonna talk about them. And because I’m feeling tired and lazy, I’m going to list them in bullet form. (I’d like to thank several different accounts on social media for the inspiration for this post. No, I’m not naming which ones.)

  • When you try to tell a joke, but someone thinks you’re serious. This just happened to a friend of mine on IG today. She posted this really clever photo with an obvious joke in it and someone was all “well here’s what I think you should do…” Not everything is a problem for you to solve, Brenda! Here’s a dollar, go buy yourself a sense of humor.
  • You can’t just be a little bit into something, you have to be completely consumed by it. (I feel like maybe I have talked about this before, or at least it’s something I’ve considered writing about) If you like to read, you can’t just read a book once a month, nooooo, you have to have a whole freaking bookshelf of books you’ve bought but haven’t read or you have so many books that you don’t have room for a sofa or a coffee table…you apparently must have a problem staying out of bookstores. Or if you like coffee then ERMAHGERD you must always have tons of coffee t-shirts telling everyone how much you love coffee and your kitchen must be decorated in coffee paraphernalia and you must always have a coffee cup in your hand! Jeez Louise, can we just calm down a little bit the fanaticism? Like what you like, but don’t feel like you have to BECOME that thing. Sheesh.
pile of books in shallow focus photography
If your living room doesn’t look like this, then you don’t really like to read. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

  • The trend that seems to glorify hating your kids. “Haha! My kids are such assholes, they’ve totally wrecked my body and my life and I can’t even pee without those little jerks banging on the doors!” “I just want to drink wine and forget that I have kids, haha!” “Oh man my kids are the worst – can’t wait until they move away and I never have to see them again!” I mean, I get it, kids are tough and those years when they are little are REALLY TOUGH but if you don’t like being around your kids – it’s probably your own fault and I’m sure you aren’t the only one who doesn’t want to be around them. It’s going to be great for their self-esteem when they get old enough to read your posts on their own someday. And yes I realize these people most likely don’t really think their kids are jerks and are just joking but man, I get tired of seeing this over and over on social media. Also, being annoyed with your kids once in a while is normal – making a whole “thing” of it, however, is not.
  • (This one is going to tick someone off, I can just feel it) Youngish women who cuss. A lot. “I like to say the F word and all the other cuss words a lot because I’m a Badass woman who can do whatever she wants so I’m going to throw a bunch of cuss words into all my posts so you’ll be impressed with me and think I’m cool!” Oh Jiminy Crickets…this is the equivalent of  wearing sunglasses inside…at night. No one thinks you’re super cool because of your creative use of the F word. And please, if one more of these people links to that post that says people who cuss a lot are smarter than people who don’t, or people who cuss have bigger vocabularies..I’m going to have a meltdown (this is also sort of related to my second bullet point – okay we get it, you like to cuss, calm down). I will admit that I throw some saucy words around too occasionally (see bullet point above), but I don’t do it in every single post on social media or in every conversation. If that’s your shtick…well good luck and Godspeed; I won’t be following your account anymore.
crankyoldlady
Me today. And most days.  (I don’t know who to credit this photo to) 

Let’s see what else is annoying me…Oh yeah. This has nothing to do with social media but:

  • When the recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour but I accidentally leave out 1 cup of flour and my cookies don’t turn out right. That really burns my biscuits ( or cookies, in this case) because I haven’t had homemade cookies in a really long time and I was really looking forward to it. I mean, I can still eat them, but they’re just not the same.

So what we’ve learned here today is that 1) I need to go through and cull some of my social media feeds, 2) I really need to get a good night’s sleep tonight, and 3) I should always make sure I’m following the recipe.

Do you find that you suddenly get annoyed with things on social media? Have you ever messed up a recipe so bad, but you ate the food anyway? Do tell!!