At one point this week I found myself in the middle of corporate culture. In search of a quick stop for a coffee, I walked into an office building. As I entered the lobby I looked left, then I looked right. I saw a sea of suits. Grey suits, black suits, blue suits, pant suits, skirt suits and a whole array of ties. Ties of all colours, as if they were an attempt to show some sort of individuality in a sea of conformity.
And there I was. Wearing my ugg boots, a warm vest, skinny yoga pants, a hoodie and even a baseball hat (it probably wasn’t a great combination for anywhere except a ski hill, but I was warm on a cold day and I wasn’t attending any professional meetings so I didn’t care). Seriously, I looked so out of place that it was probably comical for all the suits in the room.
Yet, what was more interesting is that I even felt out of place as I was also probably the most relaxed person in the entire foyer. The energy of the room just didn’t match my energy. I wasn’t running from one meeting to another with an arm full of paper. I wasn’t frowning. My forehead wasn’t crinkled as I tried to think through some complex problem. I was just taking a few minutes to grab a warm chai tea latte without a panic induced anxiety attack over spending 10 minutes doing something for just me without any care for what my boss will think if I’m not at my desk. I didn’t belong.
I was just me. Evidently, the new me. Some might even say I was relaxed (well not totally, that will probably never happen, but I was maybe just a little less high-strung then I used to be).
I used to be one of those rushing, busy people. I used to be one of those people who secretly loved the days my boss was away because I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble for some perceived short-coming that somehow I didn’t manage to do perfectly while working 60+ hours a week while only being paid for 40.
I used to be one of those people who wouldn’t take 10 minutes to pop into Starbucks to grab a warm drink on a cold day, because I just didn’t have time.
I used to be one of those people who had to sit in traffic worrying about how late traffic would make me for my next meeting.
I used to be the person who was petrified to go to a medical appointment because it meant leaving the office during business hours yet again for something personal. Heck, I even worked through miscarriages and returned to work the day after a D&C surgery (on more then one occasion), because I felt the pressure to be the perfect employee.
And instead, this week, as I mozied between meetings and personal activities without worry, and I couldn’t help but smile.
This new me, is kind of nice. In fact, I’m really starting to get used to my new pace of life.
I love my daily commute to work – a simple walk from our bedroom to the office, usually with a stop by the kitchen to grab a tea. I love my casual attire which consists of yoga pants / pajama pants on home days and I now even enjoy dressing up for the rare meeting that requires more then a nice pair of jeans and sweater. At one point this week when I was on my way to a meeting and ended up stopped at a car accident (I wasn’t in it, but the road was closed), I sent an email to say I’ll be late. And rather then sitting with a pit of anxiety in my stomach, I proceeded to read blogs on my cell phone while I sat in park for 20 minutes. And at another point, I straight-up cancelled a meeting because the roads were just too bad and not worth traveling on. I didn’t worry about the consequences. I even went for lunch with a friend that I haven’t seen in a few months and arrived early enough that I had a moment to run into a nearby store to pick up a Christmas gift. And at one point when a less then ideal work email popped into my inbox on evening, I said to my husband I can feel my anxiety increasing because of that email, I can notice it. But, I also know that this isn’t my problem, it needs a solution but it’s not on me to find the solution. Two years ago, I don’t think I would have been self-aware enough to notice and/or to step back and say this is out of my hands, I cannot control the outcome and move on with my day.
I know it’s not perfect. I still work too many long days and sometimes find myself working on weekends. I have even managed to give myself an ulcer during a particularly stressful project. I still have the constant consultant worry about where my next project / source of income will come from. I still struggle to balance working, walking the dog, going for a run and eating healthy meals – I am human after-all. And I know working for myself from home with absolutely no-mat leave is going to be incredibly hard when baby arrives. But today rather then worrying about something I cannot control or even influence right now, I am going to focus on the fact that we will find a way because we have the luxury of flexibility.
I realized this week that working from home, working for myself, being my own boss, it’s a great thing for me. It’s nice seeing improvements in my well-being. It’s nice to see real signs of how I am learning to put myself first. It’s nice to do thing I actually enjoy when I want to.
I am fortunate.
It’s amazing being my own boss. In fact, I think I might be the best boss I’ve ever had!
And so, today I am going to forget about the stressful work stuff and just focus on enjoying my freedom and flexibility.
Happy Friday everyone!
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