Learning to value me
I took Thursday and Friday off work, not because I had any big vacation plans but because I have only taken 3 days off my finance job this whole year. My perspective is skewed because I have been working from home since March. But work is still demanding and stressful some days, so I do need some time to relax and recharge.
I can’t believe that I haven’t been on a plane or taken a vacation this whole year. My daughter and I had a trip to New York City and Paris planned in May for her graduation that we had to cancel because of the pandemic. In May, I moved our New York City trip to Christmas thinking that things would be back to normal by then, but now it looks as if I will cancel that also.
My days off went fast, and now it is already Saturday. I am going to Newport Beach today to have lunch with my best friend from college who lives in Laguna Beach. It will be a nice change of pace from Redondo Beach, but only an hour or so away. Travel further than that seems stressful to me. I am glad we live close to each other. I have more of an appreciation for long time friends nowadays.
It is nearing the end of 2020, which I can’t believe. I wonder what 2021 will bring? If the pandemic gets under control, I am sure there will be a spike in travel plans for everyone as people have cabin fever. Our whole country, and the world, has been on lockdown, and a ‘wait and see’ order. I feel like I am just listening to the news to see who else gets infected with Covid, then I close my door again and stay in for another few weeks. I don’t want to get sick.
My office is reopening on Monday, and my coworkers that feel more comfortable working there will return. But we can still work from home if we choose. I am going to stay home because there are too many unknowns and it is stressful to me. At home, I can control my environment and it is my choice who I come in contact with. But not so much if I am in the office all day. Even though I do miss the day to day contact with people.
Sure, I get lonely. I live alone. I have my french bulldog to keep my company that I got in June. He never leaves my side. He gives and gets lots of love. I do miss companionship though. I miss putting my legs on someone’s lap and watching a movie. I miss hugging someone and having someone do things for me, like ‘Hey grab me a sweater’. Those things that I can do in a relationship are what I miss the most. I would like to experience taking my dog out for a walk early in the morning with someone special. I love it when it is quiet, there is still a layer of fog over the ocean, and there is an expectant feeling in the air of a new day.
I haven’t met anyone special yet, and I sometimes wonder if I would have if it wasn’t for the pandemic. What would my life be like right now, a year after arriving in Los Angeles, if the pandemic didn’t happen? I would have kept doing my art shows, I would have met a lot more people, I would have spent a lot more time in West Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. I wouldn’t have got my dog. Would my life be better right now? Or worse? I will never know.
Spending so much time alone these past few months though has really forced me to confront and process a lot of emotions I had from leaving my marriage. It has made me comes to terms with decisions I made about my life and the opinions I had about myself that were hard to look at. I used to start every day with a sigh of exhaustion and a prayer. I used to grab on to any kind word or nod of encouragement like it was gold, because I was so starved for it. I see now how my mind worked so hard to convince myself for so long that things would get better, when I had no evidence for that belief. So much of my energy was wasted on trying to make sense of the confusion about why things were so hard, when they didn’t need to be.
It is hard to admit that I didn’t value myself enough to leave a toxic situation earlier, and that I was too scared. Even now, I doubt my value sometimes, and put up with behavior from people that is disrespectful to me. I am getting better, but not completely there yet.
My inner compass is off right now. I have filtered and made excuses in my life for so long, that it is my go-to in conflict. I am working on gaining my center back, speaking my mind, and defending my boundaries. It is a lot of work. It is so much easier just to give in and stay quiet. But I know I can’t do that anymore. I can’t let my imagination fill in the blanks for someone behaving badly towards me anymore. I have to see my own value, and say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks!’
This pandemic has helped me see my own value because I have had the time to spend with myself, and learn about myself. I have created a beautiful, peaceful home, that feels safe and good to me. I am generous and I like to please people, but I want to share with people that appreciate me, and not just want to take from me. And I am slowly learning to be able to tell the difference.