It’s been unexpectedly rewarding going back to working full-time hours, and a great practice choosing gratitude despite some growing pains.
What’s the most surprising is how happy I’ve been despite being exhausted and suddenly having more responsibilities.
By far the biggest adjustment has been waking up much earlier than my natural rhythm.
I’ve never been a morning person. Left to my own schedule, my waking hours are usually from ten in the late morning to three in the early morning. With the new contract, I’ve had to shift forward about four hours for a new routine that includes taking public transportation to work.
The time shift has been challenging. After several weeks however, I finally feel like I’m somewhat adjusted—and on some mornings, cheerful and even raring to go.
Another area of surprise has been public transportation.
I used to rarely take it, much preferring to drive to wherever I needed to go. Taking the bus and train every week day over the past several weeks has instilled an appreciation I didn’t have before.
Not only is public transportation more sustainable, it’s also easier and (most of the time) more enjoyable. Instead of dealing with traffic, bad drivers, and parking, I get to catch up on emails, news, and the latest chapter of a book. I’ve found taking public transport to be much more pleasant than I thought it’d be.
But there’s been a subtler yet more important change, and it has to do with mindset.
When I walked away after years of working in corporate finance, I left feeling a mixture of apathy, frustration and underappreciation. I needed a break. I was tired of spending my time working at something I no longer cared about or was interested in. That tiredness translated to a general belief that I couldn’t really be happy working at anything resembling a traditional job.
Having spent roughly the past year and a half trying out different opportunities ranging from entrepreneurial ventures, freelance work to contracts, I’ve sufficiently disproved that misguided belief.
In many ways, I’m happier right now working full-time hours than I’ve been in years.
I’ve begun to realize there’s a lesson and perhaps part of a broader reason why I’m meant to be where I am right now. It’s a period of time I need to prove to myself that as long as I’m being true to myself, I can be happy even if I’m working fifty to sixty hours a week between full-time contract work and helping my husband build his brand.
I know now it’s possible to still feel happy while working full-time plus some. I wake up on most days feeling incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunities and even the challenges I have. I’ve developed a greater trust in other people and in embracing the unknown. With that, my confidence in myself and my ability to deal with whatever comes up have increased.
The reality is there are pros and cons to every decision, and how you frame up the situation is completely up to you.
It’s really all about your mindset.
On the surface, not too much has changed between now and three years ago. I worked in a cubicle during the week for about six years prior to taking the leap. Two years after my leap, I find myself once again in a cubicle during the week.
But there’s been a major underlying change.
The difference is that I’m choosing gratitude during growing pains. In spite of any challenges, weariness or unexpected turns thrown my way, I will continue choosing gratitude.
In many ways, our mindset is the only thing we have control of. No matter what life throws your way, you have control over what you think. So for today, choose gratitude for everything in your life, even the things that aren’t quite perfect.