The social media commenter started off with an aggressive, hot take: “If you’re not first, you’re last.” I read the post and read it again and then read it a third time. I thought it might be the poster’s way of inspiring readers to push to be number one.
Instead, the poster explained how she struggled to maintain her health and wellbeing. She was burned out from work and the pandemic. She went on to say that she had lost herself in the process.
I thought a lot about those words. I was reminded of a time when I was working late and then getting up early to drive my daughter to school and then running off to work. I was burning the candle at both ends, maybe getting a few hours sleep if I was lucky. On top of it, my boss was needy and needed to have her hand held every second of the day. If I gave her the Hope Diamond, she wanted five more. I can’t say if I lost myself in the process, but I couldn’t tell you if I was coming or going. I was trying to be everywhere.
A number of years removed from that situation, I see the other side now. I see that I’ve changed in many respects. I was just trying to keep pace. I didn’t want to miss anything, work, or home.
I still care about work now, but I don’t play games anymore. I’m not interested in rising to the highest levels of the firm. If someone comes calling, fine, but it’s on my own terms. I’m happy where I’m at.
I’ve discovered who I am and what matters to me. If someone can’t see that value, then shame on them. To be clear, I still work my damnedest to do a great job, but I’m not the first person in the office, the first person to jump on every call. I don’t mind watching the first pitch go through the strike zone. I know that I’ll get more opportunities. I know too that a walk is as good as a hit. I don’t need to hit a home run at every at bat. A single back up the middle, still scores the man on second and is worth its weight in gold.
I’m interested instead in being there for my wife and my kids. I’m interested in their lives. Oh, it’s an up and hill jaunt. I still have my moments. Ole man envy still makes an appearance every once in a while. I want this or that. I still chase certain goals that will do me more harm than good. And yes, I still get too close to the ledge at times, but I find ways to pull myself back.
I see the value in doing the small things. I see the value in being true to my heart.