On a Monday nights lately, I’m buzzed from skiing. I actually committed to something – an 8-week long, twice a week, race training program.
This is massive for me, as having taken a trip a month for very nearly two years, it seemed like I had lost the ability to commit to anything. And that was a problem, because it was making me unhappy. I was a strung out, nervous wreck, from travelling too much, having a stressful job (I love my job, I do, but I don’t just hang out in a micro-kitchen with breaks to take the slide all day. I work really hard).
And, I was making myself more unhappy by considering not just what I wanted, but what other people thought or felt.
So, something terrible happens and I think I don’t get to be as upset as the person who is closer to it, so I better pull myself together. It doesn’t work like that – people express their “upsetness” in different ways.
People say “oh you’re so lucky, I’d love to travel that much”, or (more annoyingly) “oh, I don’t get bothered by planes and jetlag myself, I just love it” (when they rarely go anywhere) and I feel guilty, or, angry. Because going to live somewhere for at least a month? That’s cool. Vacation? Bring it. Going to work somewhere else is often just a different commute. A different commute somewhere you don’t have a gym membership. Luckily I know people most of the places I go, but before my friend moved to NYC it kinda sucked – it’s a cool city, love it during the day, but don’t really want to or feel safe exploring it after dark, alone.
And then there’s the whole, if you’re not 100% happy all the time you should give up working for the man and become an entrepreneur thing. Which, much as I admire and support my entrepreneurial friends, is not me right now. I’m not interested in having my own company. The even more irrational flipside is, I 100% don’t want to start a company, and therefore I must be 100% happy all the time. Even if I’m not. That was getting me in a tizzy. And, the thing is, I think if you love your job you’re not going to be 100% happy all the time. Because things are never going to be 100% perfect. The raspberry panda liquorice that was so delicious, is never seen again. Product managers do their thing. Really smart people are often the most frustrating to work with. I get the highs – the raspberry liquorice, the shipping something an unimaginable number of people use, the incredible learning, the rush when you demo… and highs come with lows. I have that kind of temperament – when I’m delighted, I’m delighted. When I’m frustrated, I’m pissed. It’s easy never to get frustrated with your job if you don’t really care about it. I do, so anything less than amazing bothers me. There’s not much that’s less than amazing, but enough that from time to time I get really frustrated.
Anyway, I tell myself, all the time, that nothing changes unless you make it change. And so I took a vacation, and skiied and spa’d and relaxed. And then I came back, started working out at the new gym, upped my trainer to twice a week, and registered for race training.
Here’s the big difference – at the weekend, I do whatever it is I want to do. The weekend just gone I drove to the US with a couple of friends to buy cherry coke, and then on the Sunday I did bootcamp, 90 mins cardio, spin, and went swimming. Yes, I effectively spent the whole day at the gym – I have time to do that again now. The weekend before, on the Saturday I did spin, an hours cardio, and went swimming, and on the Sunday I did spin, 2 hours skiing, 80 mins cardio, and hot yoga. That one was pretty much a whole weekend of physical activity, interspersed with meals at my favorite restaurants in town. Awesome.
It feels like last year, every weekend I was either, on a plane, lying down because I was exhausted from taking a plane, or organizing myself because I was about to get on another sodding plane. I just couldn’t do it anymore. And the change in my energy, my stress levels… it’s dramatic.
Anyway, I guess what I learned from all this is to stop looking at how happy or sad other people are and berate myself for imagined ingratitude… and just make time for the things that make me happy. My idea of an ideal Sunday isn’t everyones… but that is 100% OK.