As I write this post, I look reflectively at my sad bank account. I’m paying my phone bill, rent, and visa bill and paying close attention to how much money remains. That is what I’m doing today. Within the last couple of months I was in Boston for a competition, Regina to visit my brother, Halifax once and Montreal twice. My weekdays are filled with supplying, training, writing, etc. So, I can very well say that I’m busy. Poor? yes. Happy? Definitely!
In June 2016 I was told that I no longer had my teaching position for the following school year. It hurt a little not being able to stay, but it made sense and I came to terms with that. Despite spending hours and hours applying for jobs for the following year after given that news, and going through multiple rounds of available jobs, something just finally clicked. I love working, I loved my job, but it left me absolutely no time for much else. I wasn’t one of those university students who could write an essay in a day – that crap took me days. At 40 years old, when I look back on my 25 year old self, would I be happy having worked hard through my 20s, or would I be happy knowing I took time for myself before establishing myself in my career? The most difficult thing is, there’s no wrong answer.
Decisions have never been easy for me, but this one was especially hard. Not taking another long term position meant setting myself back in my career. I was very lucky to land my last position, so not pursuing my career from there on was basically a big ‘FU’ to many people. It became even harder when I was offered a job. And of course, it grew near impossible when my old position finally went back on the market. I talked to my parents, my friends, my boy friend, pretty much anyone who would listen. Funny enough, most people (mostly climbers, of course) pushed me to taking a year off. I started to feel better knowing other people thought it was a good idea too.
However, I wrestle with this because we are often told conflicting things: our generation is over-worked, but we need to work hard for our success. So, how do I stop being over-worked to focus on my needs, but also maintain a career? I suppose this question is quite easy or irrelevant for most people to answer, and perhaps I am just an anomaly. But, the spare time I had after a hard working day simply did not leave me enough time to breathe. I was at a point in my life when I just had too many things I wanted to do, that I felt restless with my career. I know this feeling is not permanent. Time and circumstance will absolutely change what I want or need out of life.
However, presently I want to travel, focus on competitive climbing, and write. I’m tired of constantly convincing myself that I made the right decision and feeling guilty for not following the path I set for myself. I see my friends becoming so successful in their careers that it makes me feel like I’m lazy. But, I have to keep reminding myself that I am not lazy – I just want different things right now. Sacrifices have been made; for example, I want to own a house, but I’ve made choices that will delay that for a few more years. I’m O.K. with that. I’ve come to terms with it. As soon as I made that decision in the summer to hold off for at least another year with the career, I felt a load of stress literally drift away. I knew right then I had made the right decision.
Don’t do this if you like spending money, because you will have none! (haha) I supply teach, have a decent savings, and have made some promising investments. I try to be smart with money as well, so that helps, but I’m certainly not raking in the dough.
I’ve re-allocated the efforts I would have placed on my career to training, not stressing about when we leave or head home from a weekend road trip, and of course to this blog. I’m not 100% behind my choice yet, but I know I will be. I’ve always longed for external approval to make sure I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but I have to think about it this way: I have to live with my decisions, and as long as I’m taking care of myself and the people around me, I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.
I know many of you are reading this whilst eye rolling at such a strange confession. Rightfully so – I know loads of people who can crush at their job, and be out of town by Friday evening living out their weekend warrior lifestyles. That is absolutely fantastic – I applaud that you can do that! Seriously, I’m jealous. But if you find yourself needing a break too, no one says you have to be traditional – do what makes you happy. You have lots of time to get back on track, so why not take a little detour? If you’re contemplating something similar, look at it from different angles: if you did take time off from your career, what will you do to supplement your time? Will these things make you happier? Are you happy with your career and already have enough time to do what you want with your life? Figure out what it is you really want out of your day to day life. If you feel like something is missing, take the time to figure out what that is. It doesn’t necessarily have to be taking time from your career. Whatever it is, it deserves to be sought after. 🙂
Climb on xx