Under Construction: From work to worth

I’ve been playing a lot of games of solitaire recently.

I enjoy everything about the game: The familiar shape and sound of the cards stacking up. The seemingly infinite ways one can win a game. The quiet meditation the game requires, concentration away from any screen.

I think I’ve been drawn to the game recently because it’s an exercise in micro-decisions. To move the red 9 there, or there? To draw the Spade King, or make him sit it out?

And lately, I’ve been struggling to make some important “micro” decisions for myself.

To stay or leave Columbus? To try for grad school this year, or later? To get a new job, or to stay with the part-time position I have?

Like a pathway split in two, the end of last year felt like I was turning into a fork in the road.

There was the old me: the school-obsessed, workaholic with a passion for performance and perfection. Then, there was the new(er) me: joy-filled, happy-go-lucky, traveler without a care in the world.

Can she really have the love and happiness of today, and the motivation and passion of yesterday? 
Can she really be, and have, both versions of herself?

“The Burnout” on Body Mind Bella 12/07/18

And now, having decided to postpone graduate school and any other immediate plans I had at the start of last year, I am at my own crossroads.


I feel like I’ve trained my whole life to be one version of myself that simply isn’t true anymore.

Goal-oriented. Driven. Hard worker. Dependable. Unflinching. Unfeeling.

It’s a little disorienting to look back on the persona I carried around, even just 12 months ago. I completed tasks only to help me reach a larger goal. I read only for what would benefit me immediately, or what would help me tomorrow. I created a rigid exercise regime to keep me lean and fit. Met only with strategic people. Cultivated a careful, mindful reputation.

It was like I was playing a game of solitaire only to win.

My self-worth — I realize, too — I tied directly to the work I was able to produce.

My breathtaking, back-breaking speed of production was my own meter for self-worth. I was only happy if I could write, or read, or meet up with, or plan for, an infinitely unquantifiable number of tasks.

If I wasn’t working, I wasn’t producing. And if I wasn’t producing — what good was I?

I didn’t take the time to read for me, to play for me, to laugh for me, to create random friendships for me. I didn’t think it was necessary. I didn’t think that would help me “change the world.”

Now, that’s all changed. I am learning, and loving, in the present moment — despite this constant state of flux I feel stuck in.

Am I really stuck in the life I’m living, or am I still stuck in the life that’s no longer meant for me?

To all of the expectations I had about myself: I am under construction.

I am tearing down all the bricks I walled around my insecurities and my fears, and I’m learning to live and love without borders.

To all of the tasks I thought I would accomplish in this last year: I am in a state of transition.

Like a butterfly has to wait for her wings, I am not moving as quickly in the direction of “my future” as I initially intended. There will be no first-place, first-finish for this girl.

I am shifting my self-worth from work to wholeness, my perception from perfection to messy coloring outside the lines.

I stopped climbing the mountain that I made for me, and instead I’m walking in the direction where I think I need to go next — and aren’t we all?


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