I’ve lost track of the time. I know I could figure it out if I looked at a calendar, but off the top of my head I have no idea how long I’ve been back at work.
It’s a strange feeling. Strange, but actually — surprisingly — pretty good.
I feel energized. Well, not today. Today I feel tired but that’s because I was so energized last night, so happy with life, I couldn’t get to sleep and when I did, I dreamed of massive tidal storms washing me away. I’m sure that means nothing, though. Ok, maybe it means something. Dream experts would say it means I feel overwhelmed. And it’s true there is a certain relentlessness to life now that I actually have to get myself to work each day. But once I’m there, I actually feel good.
Yes. I did say that.
And I did say I feel happy with life. Even at work. Actually, partially because of being back at work.
I don’t feel like I never left. I was worried I would. I was worried all those old habits and tendencies and all that old stress would slowly take me over again. But, no, not so far anyway. I feel different than I did when I was here before. Now I grit my teeth and clench my stomach out of habit rather than for any real reason. But I understand this, which is half the battle.
And I like my little cubicle — I finally moved and have some privacy now. It is, dare I say, almost cozy, filled as it is with my former plants, family photographs and my son’s artwork. It is a place I can sit, ponder, catch my breath and work steadily from one task to the next. It is the little corner with my favourite files I had hoped and wished for for months before I took my stress leave.
I feel lucky.
I know I’m lucky.
And the assault on the senses of being back in an office full of people and sounds has, for the most part, become routine. I like my colleagues. I like the “good mornings” and the “have a good evenings” and the chats in the kitchen. As crazy as it sounds, I even like the filthy kitchen. How could that be?
Well, I’ll tell you. It’s the routine. It’s the knowing what I am doing, who I am and what my roles and responsibilities are. This is the reason, other than writing, that I originally wanted to work in an office setting. I know myself. I know that what I need more than anything is predictability. Sure, I’m more creative when I’m spontaneous, but I’m an anxious person by nature and in between the brief bursts of creative spontaneity, what I really need is a boring, predictable routine.
My husband used to tease me as he tried to encourage me to climb the ranks. He’d say, “but you’re just a cog in the wheel.” And he was right. Is right. But the thing is, a cog is fine for me. I like my place in the wheel. I know my place in the wheel. I like my work. I am happy.
What more could I possibly ask for?