I Just Want To Care

by justine

Today was difficult.

This morning as I walked the dog, I could feel the weight of panic press down, all those competing thoughts arguing in my head. After morning pages and some email, I felt better. Then, I caught a mistake. Kind of a huge mistake – one that involved coordinating two other people and a delivery to fix. (Damn you Mercury Retrograde!!) Amazingly, I didn’t panic. I even joked that I should screw up my job more often because putting out this fire took up most of my day. Like, I should create problems just to solve them.

Because I want something that will make me feel important that badly.

I continued on, doing what I could and waiting to address the big blunder. Boyfriend and I skated with the dog over to Jamba Juice for a mid-day snack – perfect break. Later on, I ate lunch and chatted with my sister. All the pieces fell into place and magically crises were averted (so far at least)…and I still felt good.

Then it was 3pm and the daily ranting call came in. And there I went, sucked into the drama and negativity of the situation, the office, the whole freakin’ mess of it all. It’s basically a hopeless situation – one that has felt like freakin’ pulling teeth since I started. I feel unsupported, confused as to what my role is, worried that I should be doing more work, and now, after many daily calls, I’m worried about my actual JOB.

I run through all of these possibilities daily:

  • Use this job to just relax, enjoy my life, take classes, do something fun
  • Use this job to float myself while I find another job
  • Use this job to float myself while I build a side-business that I can then ease into full time (or even have a doubled income for a while)
  • Stick out this job until it disappears or changes
  • Quit this job immediately and find something better


Now that’s a lot to consider for anyone, but for me they’re really not considerations – full out Pros and Cons – but more just panic thoughts that graze the surface of the reality of each choice and the planning (and uncomfortable transition) involved in each.

I can’t sort it out.

G and I spoke about committing. How I can’t be fully absorbed in something if my brain isn’t 100% committed? I didn’t realize I do this, but I do. I half-ass commit.

I came across the quote below in Seth Godin’s book “The Dip”:

“Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and drop out. You don’t want to
be out there saying, Well gee, my leg hurts, I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and its cold 
and windy. And talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on how you feel at 
that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.” ~ Dick Collins

That never occurred to me before. Decide parameters BEFORE you start?! Go into it knowing you may reach a point where enough’s enough? When I told G that maybe I need to let go of the panic of changing jobs and just set a deadline – like, check-in with myself around December, see how the Spring is shaping up, and then make a decision – she thought it was a great idea. Like setting expectations in a relationship: “If it’s not where I want it to be in 6 months, then I’ll decide if I’m leaving, but until then, I’ll see how it goes”. What? This is an option…?

But of course it is and of course I never thought of it. How can one see options in the gray area when all is so black and white? I mean, I feel I either need to quit in the next month or stick it out another year. I feel like I need to do a million things to improve it or throw up my hands and give up completely.

And the daily calls do not help. I was feeling good when the call came in and my mood sunk from then on. When we talk, the situation becomes dire, I start to wallow in how bored and unchallenged I feel, and then I develop this feeling that somehow my finding a new job and leaving is the only way I can help their situation. That somehow, me leaving is the key to everyone else feeling better. But what about me?

And then after we got off the phone and I could feel all the “What ifs?” and “Should I’s” piling up, I worked with Boyfriend to figure out some bills. Not a good idea. I saw I owed more than I wanted and just felt shitty.

Just completely and utterly shitty. Here I am completely unhappy with my job, sinking money into a business I am not doing, spending money on shit I don’t need, stuffing my face full of food and not going anywhere fast.

The worst part is – I don’t know what I want to be doing.

All of that can make a person feel pretty low and powerless. I cried. It started before I made it up the stairs and continued through my shower. I felt pathetic, miserable, and just f***ing stuck. Like, how the hell did I get here?! This wasn’t supposed to be my life. I was supposed to feel better by now! I have a job, a boyfriend, an apartment, a dog – a very full life – and I am so discontented on a daily basis that I really worry that something is wrong with me.

But here is the problem – or the problems:

  1. I am not passionate about anything
  2. I have nothing to work towards

G used the analogy of a ladder – that being on the 1st rung and looking up at the 10th is daunting. But if you are on the 1st rung and just look for the 2nd, yer OK. You can move up. And you can do that one after the other until you reach your destination. You can even stop on a rung to look down and see how far you’ve come – even give yourself a nice pat on the back.

I don’t do that. I don’t focus on the “next right thing”, I don’t take a break and I certainly don’t pat myself on the back. Instead, all I see is how far I have to go, how impossible that feels, and how I’ll never make it, so why.even.try?

I never learned to understand the process, let alone how to enjoy the journey.

I would like to commit the Fall to working with G to work around my job, the boredom and the lack of direction. I’d like to learn to accomplish things without totally coping out on myself and to take the pressure off. Am I able to accomplish something without putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself?

Also, I think I want to train for a race. There are lots of road races in the Fall and working towards a few would be good markers for my progress. I can run 3days per week, hit the gym another 3 and take 1 day off. Lots of ½ marathons in February 2011. The Pasadena 1/2 Marathon actually takes place on 2.20.11 – the last day I’ll be 26. Fitting…?

Also looked up volunteering at both LA and SM libraries, the LA FoodBank, TreePeople and In2Books where yer a pen pal with a 3rd-5th grade student writing about books. All of these sound really cool, but also scary. Outside of my comfort zone yes, but helping people. Interacting with people. Making a difference, however small that may be.

I just want to feel passionate, excited and in love with my own life. I just want to care.