My wonderful wife challenges us each year to identify a word or words for the upcoming year. I have chosen my word for 2019 to be “Authentic”.
I like this word as it does not necessarily imply any change is required. For me it means to know myself and to continue or change as appropriate to be more fully true to myself! This applies to all areas: myself, family, friends, co-workers, career, strangers, and more.
I’m sure I’ll identify challenges throughout the year, but my current challenge is my career. Not my job – it really is close to perfect after my change last year. My question for myself is what do I really want to be doing, at least for the next year / phase of my life?
Maybe it is to keep doing what I am doing! Maybe I am simply feeling the doldrums of a cold and wet winter. Maybe it is the persistent tinnitus driving me crazy. Maybe I just need to find small ways to change up the way I work. To that end I am going to force myself to get up and walk more often. I need to listen to myself better to understand if I am already doing what I need to do.
What if I don’t want to do the same thing anymore? I have one idea already, which is to teach high school mathematics! I’ve done enough research to know there are possibilties. Private schools may not require a certification, and there are alternative options for public, although no guarantees either. Is this just me focusing on the one option that I’ve identified so far, or is it authentic me?
Should I stay put and just make adjustments? Or should I make a major career change? If the later, should it be what I already think about? Or are there other viable and interesting options? Why does teaching high school math keep capturing my attention? Is that being authentic to myself, or is my tinnitus and the winter just making me think I need a big change that is not authentic?
FYI to myself: I also keep hearing that I need to not get stuck in looking for the perfect answer. In the end there may be more than one right answer. Or it may change over time. And even if I get something wrong that is ok too, as I am blessed to have options.
I’ve always had higher sensitivity to some things like sounds, i.e. HSP. I even got “zapped” from holding a crystal once, so its not just sounds. I’ve also started having more tinnitus as I’ve gotten older. So I finally mentioned it to my doctor and got referred to an ENT.
They started with a hearing test – and my hearing is perfect! The test itself however was probably my first “panic attack”. The sound-proof room with no air-flow with ear-plugs and sounds was too much. I wanted to rip out the ear-plugs and run out and scream!
Next was an MRI – which showed only a deviated septum and a bit of sinus activity. That was good news since finding something would likely have been a tumor. Note that the sounds and vibrations of the MRI did not bother me at all! This surprised my wife a bit.
The first step has been to treat the sinus condition with a few meds. And after about 2 weeks of that my tinnitus increased significantly and became persistent for 2 1/2 weeks. After nearly a week back to normal it is now again persistent – so far for about a week!
I see the ENT again tomorrow and hope he has some thoughts! Maybe its stop the remaining sinus meds. I tried acupuncture twice during this time with no difference. I also went to my chiropractor once with no difference. I’ve tried a few exerices as well.
I’ve also had one of my most severe reactions to vibrations during this time. A truck was idling for a while outside my window at work. I had to leave my office and drive around til it left. I discovered this is called hyperacusis – going to mention it to my ENT also.
I do already see that my mental and physical state has a lot to do with how much I’m affected. If I’m relaxed I can nearly ignore the tinnitus, but if I’m trying to focus (work) or stressed then its worse. And its easy to get in a spiral and start to get overwhelmed.
I have called myself primarily a Problem Solver for many years. I have highlighted this attribute about myself in job interviews. And right here when I talked about my purpose and joy. Have I gotten this wrong about myself though?
I really enjoyed working in the warehouse this past month. And I actually enjoy running errands like grocery shopping. Those are certainly helpful tasks, but not problem solving. I also enjoy learning and reading and new experiences. Sometimes what I learn or read or experience can be used to solve problems. But I’m realizing that once the new-ness is over, the problem solving is often no longer interesting!
The common thread is that I long to be actively engaged. That’s usually been mental engagement for me, but clearly that isn’t essential. Instead I’m beginning to see that mental work alone is mind-numbing when its not engaging. There may still be problems to solve, but at some point they may not be interesting problems to me. Kind of fits with my recent finding that my eanagram type is “gut” instead of “head”!
I don’t want to say I need to switch jobs or careers. At least not yet. 🙂 But I have such thoughts more and more often. Part of it is I am also realizing I hate sitting at a computer for long hours. At least if I’m not properly “engaged”. But I also have other sensory oddities that I can’t assume will just go away with a change. I am thinking though for the first time in a long time about what I really should be doing!
In my last post I had just worked my first full day in the warehouse on Nov 12. I worked everyday, 8 hours a day, Monday thru Friday, since then, except Thanksgiving Day. Until yesterday – I only worked a half day yesterday, and none today. Along with the earlier 12-hour day noted, that makes 19 full-time days – right at 4 weeks except Thanksgiving Day!
Its been a great experience for me and I am so happy I had the opportunity! First, I could do it physically and mentally! I’ve thought about doing other types of work in my future before, but how do you know what you can actually do until you do it? Now I know what I can do, what things I like, and what things I’m not a big fan of doing. And I feel great!
I was of course blessed to not have to work overtime or weekends, unlike real workers. I feel more now for other people and the work they have do to make a living. They rarely see their family during seasonal peaks, yet they need the extra money. They willingly make this sacrifice – and even thank folks like me that help while giving much less!
Its also been a great break from sitting at my desk and programming all day. I felt good physically and mentally! If anything, I now wonder if I will be content to go back now that I’ve had a taste. It’s really got me thinking a lot more about my future. What do I really want to do? How much money do I need to make? And what can I put up with?
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