I've been busy the last few weeks. Wrapping up things at work. Battling the after effects of bad burnout. Booking holidays.
While battling up and down yoyo feelings, I've managed to book a 10-day holiday in Australia. A few years ago I had a life in Australia, working and living there. So I've got a tonne of friends there and I can't wait to meet them again. It's been years since I've seen them.
I'm excited. I can't wait to do all the fun things.
But this is the oddest thing. I am facing the prospect of a 5-week career break and I feel ANXIOUS about it.
You bet I'm really puzzled by this. Logically, I should be ecstatic, over-the-top happy. But instead I'm dealing with an undercurrent of anxiety and it's confusing the heck out of me.
I can't wait to do this. Yet I'm anxious to do this. Weird.
I mean, it's rather telling that I think a 10-day holiday in Australia feels long!
I think it's a blessing that I still have 2 weeks to go before leaving the corporate workday. Currently, as I'm wrapping things up at work, my workload has gotten considerably lighter. So much so that there's a strange sense of panic, a "surely I've missed something" state of being of not being so insanely busy as before.
Now that they've parceled out my responsibilities to three people (yes, three), my workload is more than manageable. It's, infact, rather relaxing. I mean, there are days where I can slack off and do nothing ... or am actually bored. I distinctly remember being so damn busy that I don't even have time to take toilet breaks or where I would eat lunch and tap on my laptop at the same time so that I could sleep at midnight instead of 2am that day.
Oh, I still have my share of difficult stakeholders to deal with and a meeting or two to attend that I wish I didn't have to attend, but I forsee the next two weeks will be a good segue to 5 weeks of do-nothingness.
Which brings me to the panic thing.
Then I stumbled on this thread at the Money Moustache community which gave me a little glimpse at what could possibly be happening:
I think I'm decompressing from my 2.5 years of toxic jobs, finally shedding and processing the negativity and toxicity I had to endure all those years.
Also, after 2.5 years of relentless challenges at three jobs, my brain can't quite comprehend that I'm now free to relax ... and free to enjoy a different kind of life.
I have spent all these years just surviving, and being on constant work-work-work mode that I have frankly forgotten how to relax and to operate at a slower pace. I kid you not, my daily diary entries were filled with a todo list a page or two long. I didn't have "3 Most Important Things" to do - I had 10 to 15. Plus a dozen subtasks or more.
Now that I actually have a normal to easy workload, I think my brain is confused.
Relax? How the hell do you do that again?
There must be something wrong, it thinks. I'm missing something!
While the circumstances have changed, my brain has not. It's stuck in the old ways of being.
So it's always searching for signs of danger despite my more relaxed schedule. And, unfortunately, it has latched on to the idea that my new employer is tricking me by allowing me this mini-break.
"They're just buyin time to search for another candidate, then they'll fire your ass!" whispers the voice.
Welcome to the life of a chronic worrier.
Busy hustling. Busy moving. Busy surviving. Busy Busy Busy
This article, Done Detoxing by LivingaFI explains how I am currently so well:
When youíre ambitious, time is precious. You must always be working toward your ultimate goal, whatever that may be. When you idle, minutes slip away, and your dreams feel as though theyíre going up in smoke. To push back against this feeling, you strain harder.
In other words, ambition created an urgency underlying the texture of my days.
But this urgency ó this feeling of continually pushing forwardñ is a behavior, not a goal. Though Iíd reached the endgame, the TFB (Too Fucking Busy) behavior remained, the orphaned baby on the doorstep as ambition fled town.
I've technically reached my "endgame" for the season - getting out of my job and into a coveted mini break, and getting a job that I think will suit my personality and lifestyle better... but my old habits of striving and looking fearfully for dangers at the workplace (backstabbers, schemers, bully bosses, missed deadlines) still remain.
Can I throw away my TFB behaviour and transform it into something healthier in August?
Meanwhile, I've extended my 10-day holiday in Australia to 14 days. ;) A good sign, I guess!