Land Mines

I felt like part of the world yesterday. Getting up, getting on a train to Back Bay, having brunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple months, ambling around Harvard Square without any “hurry” or “busy-ness” attached to it. The surreality of the experience was so vivid that at several points I had to stop and question if I was dreaming or actually having that mythic “normal day”.

In retrospect, it seems insane to me that having a normal day should be so noteworthy. That instead of feeling like a series of crises parading through the reality that makes up my life, I’m feeling this strange sense of “empty fullness” (if that makes any sense). As if instead of zipping around trying to tame every dragon, command every demon, and to destroy every monster, I can now see that it wasn’t just fruitless, but without sanity. I can wake up in the mornings on the weekends and not have this feeling of impending doom hanging over me, and even that sensation still feels bizarre and alien.

In knowing that the situations that persisted for so long were partially of my own making in the sense that I emotionally over-extended myself in both investment and expectation is pretty damning. A lot of the time, I had pinned my self-worth on visibility and approval at work and as a result of a what I felt to be a very extreme lack of visibility and impact with the people I worked with, I became desperate. I threw myself on proverbial grenades, swords, and land mines in an effort to be visible and appreciated. I burned myself out on the most minor things and as a result made it impossible to spend any real time on personal or professional growth. I spent so much time burning the wax trying to look good for everyone else that I had no energy left for myself.

I recognized it only far too late. I found that a lot of the time no one really cared. The issue wasn’t that I wasn’t investing enough time or energy, the real issue was that I was investing time and energy in things that were better left to be prioritized and handled by people hired to do exactly that. The fact that no one had the time or energy to invest or spend on prioritizing the problems, assign them to the people best suited to resolve them, and to help mentor and ultimately lead the people they were supposedly managing directly contributed to my departure.

And now, here I am. Sitting in a coffee bar, typing up a blog post on a fairly lazy Sunday morning, a cup of coffee sitting faithfully to my right and my climbing gear stowed in the truck waiting for me to get to training. Thinking about how best to I can spend my downtime before starting the next big chapter in my professional life and being okay with the thought of spending it reading tech blogs, watching Marvel movies, and listening (unashamedly) to acoustic folk music.

Productivity can sometimes be painfully overrated, visibility the worst of japes. I’m learning much too late in the process that acceptance of my own worth, evaluating my own progression, and being honest about my goals and productivity are of paramount importance.

Screw the grenades, swords, and land mines. Let somebody else jump on them.

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