I am amazed at the difference a few months can make. I feel like 2010 has been and continues to be the fastest year of my life so far and one of the most pertinent to my personal growth.
I just woke up from a nap and I feel really grateful for the opportunity to catch up on sleep. This week has absolutely kicked my butt and handed it to me. Some of the activities that I lent my energy to this week were chosen (such as going out after work to catch up with friends, getting some time in at the driving range, spending time with my roommate) while others were necessary (such as filling in for one of my co-workers during my third week on the job with little instruction, introducing new changes to the way we process purchase orders, meeting with salesmen to locate and predict shipment times for parts, communicating with vendors), but in total, they were exhausting (albeit fun/exciting)!
Exhaustion now holds a very different connotation than exhaustion then. During my internship experiences (then), I was constantly exhausted. I resented work for holding me back from excitement and for stealing all of my energy; I couldn’t comprehend how anyone could log so many hours in one place and not loathe it as I did. Luckily, I made a huge effort in my last internship to be positive despite feeling stifled. I didn’t want people to know because I didn’t want to bring them down. I wanted everyone to think that I was happy and could hang in during the toughest weeks. It wasn’t easy. But it was all I had.
Now, I still feel held back (concert, travel, or outdoor opportunities have come my way since accepting this job of which I would love to have been a part), but it’s no longer stifling. I think the change in interpretation has to do with several things and has definitely been influenced by my attitude adjustment, but I think that it’s glaringly obvious that accounting did not match up with my personality or desires in any of the key ways a career must. I learned a lot during my internships with public accounting and I carry some of the structure and ways of analyzing situations with me into my new position, but in total – it just didn’t fit.
I think that was a huge drain on me during college. I wanted so badly to discover my calling (and hadn’t yet read “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung). I couldn’t see past school or the roles that were held in high esteem for Grand Valley graduates with accounting degrees. I thought I was trapped and it felt hopeless. My senior year (with one left to go), I can still vividly picture it, I broke down in my little two-person condo with my boyfriend at the time bawling at the thought of being stuck in accounting for the rest of my life. He tried to assure me that it would be okay or that I could change my major if I felt stuck, as he had done himself, but I couldn’t see it. I knew I needed to graduate and I thought that graduating with accounting meant that I was going to be a public accountant. I never could’ve predicted being a production coordinator. Life has a funny way of opening your eyes and allowing you to grow in ways you hadn’t imagined.
So I went in to work today to create the necessary documents to send out some parts. I delivered them to Fedex. When I got home, I napped. I’m not angry that I couldn’t go to the Blueberry Festival with my friends (disappointed, yes – but it doesn’t set the tone of my day). I’m not mad that I wasted hours of my weekend at work and sleeping because they weren’t wasted. I’m glad the parts got out the door and I’m so grateful for caught up sleep. And I’m in no way feeling resentful.
I think that it can be difficult for people who have just met me to accept me where I am. I am an idealist when it comes to personal growth and I’m always striving to live in a more positive direction these days. But that wasn’t always the case. I spent too much time being complacent, being afraid, being angry or rude, sad and even depressed. I focused on negatives or neutrals. There’s a disconnect that exists between the two and someone who meets me now doesn’t understand that; they don’t understand how it can be very difficult to match my idealist words with my very humanly flawed actions.
And so it has been the occasion recently in the past year that people meet me and jump right on board with my quest for personal growth. I think they think they discovered a light in me that perhaps they want to share or watch develop or think is more developed than it is. It’s happened more than once now that a person has come into my life, jumped in with my progress, and ended up expecting more of me than I could give, pushing me further than I want to be pushed, and completely misjudged my situation. The thing about personal growth, it’s entirely personal. It cannot be guided with a hand from behind or led with a hand in front. It can’t even be faced arm-in-arm.
Don’t take my things and make them yours. It’s like any relationship, if you spend too much time with the other person you begin to lose sight of yourself. The saddest thing is that I thought I had learned the warnings signs, but I hadn’t. When I saw my words being picked and chosen to form this ideal image of me, I wasn’t firm enough in voicing the most important things:
- I need to take things at my own pace.
- I am in the midst of a growing period.
- That growing period began in the most painful period of life that I have experienced.
- That growing period continues; I am not there yet.
- The pain has subsided, it has not been erased and it is still very real.
I hope that had I voiced these things with clarity in communication, I wouldn’t be in the same position as I am with these people. Their judgements and ease of communicating disappointment are mind-blowing to me. You don’t know what it’s like to be me. If I have learned anything about people, it is that we experience the same things differently. You voice your opinions and you don’t know their damaging nature or irrelevance or ignorance. You’ve no right to speak so freely about things you know little of.
Sometimes, I am convinced that my mom is the only person who understands what I have experienced and accomplished in the past year. I know this because when I try to tell her, she doesn’t respond with a similar story of her own, but she cries because she understands that she cannot understand. And I think that is the most comfort anyone can give me. Accept that you do not know and celebrate my joys with me but do not judge what you cannot know.
For that, I would like to thank my beautiful mother.