feeling cheated

You know that buzz you’re supposed to get from exercise? That euphoric high that accompanies and rewards your hard work? Yeah, I don’t get it. Never have. It doesn’t matter how hard I’ve pushed or the amount of sweat I’ve worked up, I’m exceedingly happy to reach the end of my workout and be done until my next.

It’s unfair that I don’t get that high that so many others feel after pushing themselves through an exceptionally hard workout. That addiction that pushes you to keep going and makes you want more. That reward for your hard work. Sometimes I see brief glimpses, but for the most part, I hate every minute of the activity known as “exercise”.

There it is, folks. My shameful admission. Because you’re supposed to like exercise, right? Or at least not detest it. Or exhibit some emotion about it other than disdain. Especially when you’ve been doing it faithfully for several months. It’s supposed to get easier. Better. Less horrible.

Some days are better than others. Today was an off day. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Drained. Had to smile and fake it through the day though. Days like this, I like to keep busy away from the house. Lots of activities, playdates, etc, to keep us actively engaged. Ballet this morning, playdate with friends, naptime at home for C, reading and (blah) exercise bike for me, a visit to the chicken park to swing and feed the chickens (swing C, not the chickens), then to Barnes and Noble to finish out the final hour before Ben came home. Yup. Busy day.

Here’s the deal. I’m having a bit of trouble getting my brain around the whole “going back to work” thing. While I feel like it’s time, I’m feeling a bit nervous about it. It’s been, what, six years since I last interviewed for a job? Since 2006. And nearly two years that I’ve been out of the work force. I realized that this is the first year since I was 16 that I haven’t gotten a W-2 form. Whoa! Where’s my piece of paper quantifying my value for the past year? Showing my contribution to society? How do I determine my worth if monetary terms are out of the equation? Certainly, the bright, delightful, sweet girl sleeping in the room next to me fills some of that gap, but in a system like ours, where qualitative measures aren’t of much use, it leaves me feeling a bit lacking. There’s no resume line item for “Worked my a$ off at home with my daughter”. No reviews to show my boxes were all marked “satisfactory”, or “exceeds expectations”. No referral I can provide for the work I’ve done over the past two years. Unfortunately, in terms of my career, it’s as if I took that time off.

So here I am. Anxious to get back on the horse, but nervous and scared at the same time. I will mourn the loss of my time with C and my flexible schedule, but will gain things like lunch hours with unlimited freedom to go wherever I want and get things done on my time frame. Oh yeah, and a paycheck.

I’ll likely still have two days a week home with her, so life as we know it will not be going away completely, but will be more complicated as we add commitments such as preschool and work to the agenda. What happens when she’s sick? What of there’s a special event I want to attend? And here’s the really, really scary question for me. What if I just can’t hack it at work? What if I’ve lost those great ideas that used to flow effortlessly to me? What if pregnancy turned my brain into mush? I know I was off my game during pregnancy, and even still during the three months I went back to work, but I chalked that up to hormones and sleep deprivation. What if that wasn’t it, though?

Although I have a few interesting job paths I could look into, I’m thinking I may ease my way back in through temp accounting work. Here’s the bad thing with that, though. Aside from the fact that jobs may be scarce as the applicant pool has ballooned, I also won’t have much flexibility if, say, C gets sick while at preschool. With a permanent job, I think such a situation would be handled with a bit more forgiveness. But when you’re already filling in for someone else who couldn’t make it? That’s probably awful form.

Job search starts next week, I think. Maybe by then I’ll have wrapped my brain around things a little better and be slightly less anxious about the whole situation.

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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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