Dear Cabin Diaries,
I'm stuck in a funk. I've been working in my career field for going on 6 years now, and my current job in this field offers me amazing benefits that I couldn't get anywhere else. The problem? It's a very negative and stressful environment, both from the people and from the nature of the job. I've considered leaving this career field for a while now, but I've stuck around my job because the benefits give me time to spend with my family that most corporate jobs don't, and the pay is fairly competitive too, so I can set aside for the future (both financially and mentally). I know that this isn't my "forever job", but the more time goes on the more it seems like my "almost forever job". What can I do to shake this feeling and remind myself that it's only temporary, and that I'm saving up for something better later on down the line?
Dreaming of Something Different
Dear Dreaming of Something Different,
Thank you for writing in. I applaud you on voicing your truth, and a fear that many people will face at some point in their life: this isn't what I want, but it's what I have. It can be utterly terrifying to really look at that sometimes, a certain dissatisfaction with where we've ended up.
What stands out most to me in this letter is that you say it is a very negative and stressful environment. To balance out the negativity, however, you have great benefits and a decent salary, meaning that you can be safe and also have "savings" for an unseen future. You also get time with your family, which is, of course, priceless. But is the balance feeling balanced?
You also ask, what can I do to shake this feeling and remind myself that it's only temporary, and that I'm saving up for something better later on down the line?
This is where things get tough, Dreaming of Something Different. Is it only temporary? How long did you anticipate being in a temporary job before you got your "forever" job? Do you want a forever job? Is the line of work in line with your heart and with your happiness? Do the benefits give you enough time with your family, or are you still missing them and lacking a sense of peace at home?
Although in life it sometimes seems like we don't have many choices, we often have more choices than we perceive. It sounds to me like you could benefit from some exercises with a pen and some paper. I recommend creating some quiet time for yourself and writing down a few things so that you can sort out your thoughts. This will take longer than a day. If you can, buy a special journal just for writing about this—about your job, your future, your happiness. When you look at that future of yours, what do you see? What are you saving that money for? Security? A house? A trip? Etc. Write it down.
More important than writing down your future vision is writing down a few things about the present moment and where you are at in your life right now. How do you want to feel in your life? Each day, I mean. What is the primary feeling you want to embody and emit to the world? How does your work contribute to your current state of being?
When it all comes down to it, all you have is the present moment. If you are unhappy in a not-forever-but-maybe-forever job and you think that the future holds something better, it's time to shake things up a bit and look at the cold hard facts: the future is actually now. Any changes to your future start today. The future doesn't happen without you taking firm hold of the present. No one says this better than Queen Oprah herself (the important part of the video starts around 40 seconds). Bottom line is, you are responsible for your own life.
In order to shake your feeling of stagnation, my dear, I think it's time to start making some changes. Start working toward that shimmering future that you hold so dear. You can start small, very small. But each day, do something to start changing your life. Spice up that rèsumè, have a friend proof read it, send it to a few places. Start journaling daily. Set some goals, really clear ones, about what you want, why you're saving, and where you want to be in 6 more years. Time happens, no matter what you decide to do, so you might as well get in the flow along with it. All of these small practices will start getting your energy moving, and then who knows what will unfold after that.
Last thing: be good to yourself. Allow yourself to feel good. You deserve it. Treat yourself kindly, and ask that others do the same. The more that you can begin to have boundaries around negativity, the more clear your own path to positivity will become.
Dear Cabin Diaries,
First off I'm very thankful for the cabin diaries and that you are here to inspire, motivate, educate, empower, and guide women.
Now that we are in a new year (yay!), I have decided my resolution is to love myself more, have a beautiful wedding, start a family and further my career. I will be experiencing some exciting but scary changes this year. First off, this summer my fiance and I will be having our roommates move out so we can renovate our home and make it our sanctuary. We have never lived with just the two of us, we've always had roommates. We will be getting married this Fall, and while I'm excited about all of this, I'm also a bit scared. All I want is for us to have a home we can call ours and have our love be stronger then ever.
My question is how can I fully embrace these changes? I'm ready for this next chapter in my life but I'm also feeling nervous.
New Year Woman
Dear New Year Woman,
Thank you for the kind words. And congratulations on all the exciting changes in your life and for your upcoming wedding. You must be excited indeed. There is so much powerful ritual in creating a sanctuary with someone we love. The process is full of cooperation, visioning, collaboration, and building. It is a wonderful way to build a tiny piece of a collective future with someone you love. I think going through this process with your sweetheart will make you feel more rooted in the larger changes that are yet to come.
You ask me how you can fully embrace these changes. This is a tough one. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to embrace changes, even when they are the changes we so desperately want. The best advice I can give you here is this: Do not think about the outcome, dwell only on what surrounds you right now.
Change is a process. It is a period of time, a slow unfolding and revealing. If we spend too much time focusing on the "final outcome" (which is a myth anyway') of certain changes, we effectively remove ourselves from experiencing the change fully and digesting it.
A lot of this comes down to faith and trust and letting go. A lot of your nervousness, I'm guessing, is coming from anticipation about the future and how it will all play out. Will you like living together and without roommates? How will the wedding be? When will you start a family? And so on.
But for now, none of that matters. You must take it one day at a time, making sure that each day you live in love and that you act in love and compassion. I found this quote that feels appropriate:
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” (C. JoyBell C.)
So you see, New Year Woman, the time has come not to land anywhere in particular, but simply to unfold your wings. Fearing change is natural. As long as you don't let it deter you, it can be good. Embrace the fear as part of the process. Don't feel bad about it, and don't push it away. Just acknowledge it, and continue building your sanctuary. One step at a time, and the answers will all reveal themselves.
Best of luck as the winds of change blow in. I hope you enjoy the ride.