Lately, I've been saying that I don't feel like being a grown up. I don't think it's really that, I think somewhere along the line between my job, my family and the constant feeling of uncomfortableness that is living in VA, I've lost my edge.
There's always been something a little different about me. When I was a teenager I secretly (or not so secretly) wished to fit in, to just be like everyone else in my class. When I was in college I embraced my differences outwardly while all the while still wishing I could just blend in. I often wondered to myself why I couldn't just shut up and be agreeable.
I've always been outspoken, opinionated, and I've always treated authority figures as equals, demanded respect as if I was entitled to it because I grew up around other women who did the same. I have changed a lot in the past 5 or 6 years and I see most of the change in myself as a good thing. But lately... I feel like I've lost a part of me. Instead of being the one person saying out loud what everyone else is to afraid to, I find myself constantly walking on egg shells, constantly trying to make everyone else happy. Especially at work.
Now, I know how to be a professional, and I know I can't just say whatever I want whenever I feel like it, and that I have a lot to learn from some of the great people I work with. But, I'm not sure when I became such a pushover. Recently a situation has arisen at work that makes me feel totally helpless and like I'm stuck in a cone of silence screaming my head off but no one is listening. Have you ever had an experience in which you could see right through someone's exterior to the useless, arrogant, whiny person they really are? It is so obvious, but you start to feel like you're crazy because no one else seems to notice?
When I look back on the past few years, I think about all the bullshit I have put up with and I ask myself why? I say, I can't afford to quit, it's not that bad, everyone has to work their way up, at least I have the funniest work stories. All true, but I think the real reason I stay is because I secretly really care about the work we are doing. Big sigh. It's always hard for me to just let my guard down and show that I care about something. It makes me feel vulnerable, like I might really fail. And it makes it all that much harder to admit that I don't think I'm making a difference in this job. I don't think anything I'm doing really matters.
When I was 16 or 19 or 21 I would have never let anyone get the best of me. I wouldn't hesitate to tell anyone exactly what I thought. Now 9 times out of 10 when I think someone is being stupid or crazy or selfish and inconsiderate, I just say nothing. I really miss the old me sometimes, although I don't think anyone else does.
Also, who cares this much about a job? This is nuts. Maybe when you're job starts to make you this stressed it's just time to call it a day. If only I didn't have student loans, rent, credit card bills, wedding bills, the list goes on. We are definitely living comfortably, and I can't complain, but I also can't afford to have some kind of personal identity crisis and quit a perfectly adequate job.