Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Cottage by the Sea, Part Three: In which our heroine begins a new journey

I'm exhausted. I woke up this morning a little after 7 am with a tiny, orange cat staring at me. I believe the look I was given was the "Wake up, human. You are shirking your sole responsibility in life which is to feed me. Get out of bed. Do your job." Pumpkin has a lot of feelings.
To provide some context...
My exhaustion stems from a very exciting development in life: I started back to work this week! This means I've finally moved into phase three of being your resident chick lit heroine. You can revisit phases one and two at your leisure. Phase three, which we'll discuss in more detail shortly, is the phase where things fall into place and the heroine moves forward on a new or new-ish path. I thought I would be stuck in phase two forever; phase two is the waiting phase, the phase where our heroine both begins to give up hope of things going her way and where glimmers of goodness shimmer in the distance. My phase two lasted about six weeks; long enough for it to become stressful but short enough that I know I'm lucky to have moved onto a new gig. Honestly, I could have been in phase two until the end of the summer. That would have been miserable.

I forgot how exhausting it is to start a new job. I haven't been the brand, brand new person at a job in 10 years. I've spent the last 5 years onboarding new employees so I was always exhausted at the end of each new hire week but for completely different reasons. There's so much information to take in during the first few days of a new job; by day three my brain was definitely mushy (which I told my new manager, our VP, and our SVP - super professional on my part) and in need of an information break. This is why I save certain shows on my DVR rather than watch right away. It's not only learning a new organization (I've only scratched the surface of that) but diving right into the programs I'll be managing/assisting with. Then there's remembering everyone's name and what they do. Thankfully, we have to wear badges, the workplace equivalent of name tags. That's made the name game a little easier.

Information overload aside, starting a new job also means starting a new schedule. I have an actual commute for the first time in 15 years so I spent a lot of this week trying to figure out what time to leave in the morning and wondering if leaving at 4:30 would be a good or bad thing (so far, it's a draw). My route happens to take me out 66. If you know anything about DMV traffic, you may have just shuddered a bit. It's a reverse commute for the most part but it still takes me an hour or more to get home. My GPS, Norma, seems to think that going from 66 to 495 to 395 is the best way home. While that may be true from a time in car perspective, it's an absolute lie in a "everyone sucks and you have to get over seven lanes to get to where you need to go in two seconds" perspective. There are a bunch of ways to get home; I have to figure out one that won't make me want to punch other drivers in the throat every day. I'm sure this route exists.

I know it'll all even out in a few months. I'll figure out a new routine, including the best time to go to the gym (either at home or at the office), my volunteering will slow down some, and I'll get into the groove of my new job and organization. That's all part of phase three; journeying down a new path and figuring out all my things. Getting back into being an adult and doing the things adults do like complaining about traffic and packing a healthy lunch. Deciding when to go to the grocery store and not feeling bad when the young women next to me in line spend the exact amount of money I did but they spent it on wine and cheese while I bought sensible things like vegetables and protein packed snacks. My exhaustion will morph into regular tiredness (since I'm old now) and life will return to normal.

What has this chick lit heroine journey taught me?
  • Suit jackets are terribly uncomfortable and do literally nothing for me. I'm glad my new company has a more casual approach to dress codes so I can store those bad boys away for hopefully a long, long time.
  • Only surround yourself with people who are going to be good for you. I don't mean people who will tell you're making a smart life choice when in fact, you're about to drive off a cliff, but people who are supportive, cool, and will have those reality check moments with you when needed. 
  • Don't turn your back on the things you love even if you're not 100% feeling it. 
  • While filling my time was exactly what I needed to do, it was also a challenge but the best kind of challenge. This did bite me in the ass last week when I realized I scheduled my life within an inch of itself but it all got done.
  • Focus is incredibly important. I took time to figure out what I did and didn't want in a job and a company which made applying for positions and going through the interview process less stressful (it's still stressful but wasn't as bad). 
  • Pay if forward. I have some amazing people in my life who were awesome these last few months. I hope to be as helpful as they are in the future to the people who need it.
  • Set realistic goals. I said I was going to reorganize my bedroom closet and have yet to do it. However, I did take another trip to Dinosaur Land, saw Wonder Woman, and began the slow process of cleaning out my parents' basement so I did the things that needed to be done.
  • When in doubt, a 90s dance party is the answer. 
  • It is perfectly acceptable to binge watch canceled Gordan Ramsay shows and find comfort in his ability to yell at people and weave a tapestry of obscenities that is still hovering over a crappy bistro in a strip mall in California.
  • If the 90s dance party isn't working, stop what you're doing and bake something, preferably something with chocolate, peanut butter, or a combination of both. 
  • Sometimes, you pass through phases two and three without a meet cute, the intersession of an adorable child, and a coffee mishap. I'm not saying these things won't happen but they didn't happen during my chick lit heroine journey. 
  • Treat yourself.

    As Semisonic, the great poets of 1998, tell us "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." Since I didn't get my own meet cute or super spectacular rom-com moment, I leave you with this from the movie Friends with Benefits.
Treat Yo Self image

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