Choose your stress

Over the past few weeks I have been in a state of flux. Some days are up and some are down. When I told my therapist, that since the trauma exposure therapy, I feel like my tolerance to stress has been reduced to losing my shit just when an email hits my inbox and I don’t like the subject. She reframed that and asked if it was a lower tolerance to stress, or the desire to perhaps doing more of what fills my cup.

I always wondered what I would do with my time if I didn’t work. For the longest time I wasted my time; my most valued commodity, on series and Facebook. Honestly, I have watched more TV in the last few years than any other time. When a series finished I questioned the value of my life and what I would do with the time. I have since rediscovered my love for writing, I have started to experiment making soaps and body butters and now aromatherapy air sprays… It is honestly so empowering to be able to make those things. Getting recipe’s right is like a science! But those are the things I want to have more time for. I want to take more photo’s and evolve creatively somehow. And I could certainly have more time for all that; but I realised that there is always a trade off.

What stress would I rather have? George and I spoke about this yesterday and he was actually the one that helped me reached the choice I would make. It was so binary in my head, but then he gave me a different lens to look through. I was adamant that I am being deprived of a simple life, but in reality, I was the one complicating it.

So I looked at two options. Which option would be most stressful given all the simplicity I was after…

Stress Option one: Stop working where I am and find a less stressful job, one that is a few hours a day while Kelso is at school. Or just start selling soaps and butters and aromatherapy elixirs. Maybe start taking some photo’s to sell. I would be doing all the things that feed my soul. But I would stress about making mortgage payments, limiting heating in winter and wondering if we will be able to feed our growing teenager. We wouldn’t be able to help him nurture his talent in music either. Many people do this and I haven’t always been a good financial position. There was a time I was living day to day. Wondering if you can meet your basic needs of shelter, security and food every day is stressful. Is that the stress I want? Would I actually have the time to fill my cup, or would I always be hustling?

Stress Option two: Stick to what I am doing. Even though it doesn’t give me all the joy. It pays well. It pays well enough for me to not worry about mortgage payments, keeping the house warm all winter and always having enough food for the growing teenager. Said teenager is also afforded all the musical opportunities to grow his talent and fulfil his passion. This is the same salary that buys all my potion and lotion ingredients to play with. I don’t work long hours, I just get frustrated. I still am able to put my family and my health first and when I tend to let those drop to second, that is actually on me, so I actually shouldn’t be complaining.

I have what many people want; a good salary, a warm home and there are always fully belly’s. I need nothing. I have all my basic needs met; to the point of where I am now looking for that self actualisation. I have it so good that I feel ridiculous for feeling hard done by.

I needed to feel hard done by in order to reflect. I needed the time to reflect. I also needed to reflect on why I find my job stressful and why I can dislike it sometimes. I felt resentful for putting a deposit down on an apartment because it meant I would have to maintain this kind of work to meet the additional expenses that another property would bring. The more I type the more ridiculous it sounds, but honestly, I love simplicity. I save more than I spend, I don’t care for material things too much and then we go and take on something like an apartment. This is our retirement plan, so I am sure I will appreciate that decision when I clock in for the last time at work.

I am choosing stress option two. Because upon reflection, the reason I haven’t been getting joy from my work is because I have been trying to please others too much. Instead of just being confident in what I know I am capable of, I have been taking in other opinions and expectations and I have felt a bit walled in. When you get told your have green fields, but then everyone wants to plant their own trees and they are not all on the same landscape, its been frustrating. Something a manager I once had said; “You do You”. And I think if I do more me, maybe I won’t have to be in this place where I am yearning for something that I actually don’t need because I have enough of it already.

The point of this is, we can’t have it all. There is always a trade off and we have to choose what that is.

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