Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What I Struggle With

This is one of those posts that should have a subtitle of "keepin' it real."  I read several other posts like this from other bloggers last year, like Caroline's post last fall and really appreciated the honesty of the posts. 

Most of us tend to focus on the good and positive aspects of our life but it can sometimes paint an unrealistic picture of an effortless, issue-free life. Yes, I love my life and am very happy with where I am today, but that doesn't mean there aren't things I struggle with...  So in an effort give you the full story of my life, here are some things that I struggle with.

1.  Saying yes to the right amount of things.  Hi, my name is Lisa and I am an over-planner.  I over-planned my life this fall to the extent that I wasn't really enjoying the plans I was making which defeats the purpose of making plans at all.  I have a hard time saying no to things because it makes me feel guilty and selfish.  I am very fortunate to have so many opportunities to say yes to as I have a diverse group of friends (college friends, work friends from past and current jobs, grad school friends, run club friends, Phil's friends, blog friends, etc) but I have to figure out how to say yes to less so I don't feel bogged down by my schedule.  This has become more challenging now that I am in a relationship as in my single days I would make plans to see friends 3+ days a week and that was fine, but now that Phil is in my life, I want and need to carve out time for the two of us and I also need some alone time on top of all of that. 

2.  Being in a different stage of life than most of my friends.  Let me preface this struggle by saying that I am so very happy that my friends lives have taken the direction they have. But sometimes it is hard to be in such a different place in life than most of my friends (i.e. most are married and have children).  We have less that we are able to relate to in each others lives because the source of our struggles are different and we probably each romanticize what the other person's life is like.  All this is not to say that it's not possible to have close friendships with people who are in a different stage of life, because I do not think that is the case at all...  It has just gotten more challenging for me as I get older and the gap between our day-to-day life experiences widens.

3.  Figuring out my career.  I've worked so hard over the last 8+ years to get my MBA and become a CFA Charterholder. But sometimes (OK, many days lately) I wonder why I worked so hard to arrive on a career path that has left me feeling unfulfilled lately.  I'm not going to give up on a career in finance as I know that some of my dissatisfaction I've felt in my last couple of roles has been strongly influenced by the work environment, but I am struggling to figure out where exactly I fit in the finance world. 

4. Not comparing my relationship to others.  Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when she said, "comparison is the thief of joy."  For the most part, no good comes of comparing our lives to others but it's something I am guilty of, especially when it comes to relationships.  It isn't a healthy exercise because each relationship is as unique as the two people that form the relationship. 

I could go on and include other things like sleep, being patient with others and myself, being in situations where I'm not in control, and the list goes on and on.

It's hard to write posts like this as they make a person feel vulnerable but I think it's important to mix in a dose of reality because I'd hate for anyone to read my blog and come away thinking that I live an easy life or have it all figured out because that is so far from the truth!

What do you struggle with?

25 comments:

CharisFaith said...

I'm with you on the overplanning! I'm not sure how to figure this out still bc I'm not sure what to scale back on. I also understand about being in the different life stages!!! Hugs!!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Number 4 of yours is an NA for me at this point; however, I can relate to each of your other points. I especially agree with your little end blurb about patience and control! I am not a worry wart; however, I have a hard time when I don't have ownership or control over things. This is one of the things that is especially difficult in my current job, as the lines of responsibility can some times be blurred and things can get missed along the way and then I blame myself. I like a job where my tasks are more defined and I can check them proudly off one by one, even if they are difficult.

I also can come off as pretty confident (thanks to much practice) but I really have a lot of doubt and/or guilt internally: did I make the right decision, should I have been nicer, louder, or more forceful to that person, am I fast enough, good enough, or kind enough? Many times my internal answer is much different than my outside persona!

Gracie said...

I feel you on #2 for sure - David is turning 40 this year, so his friend group tends to be older than mine - meaning several of our friends are seeing kids off to college! And we're practically still newlyweds. Even in our church, which skews younger, we are one of just a handful of couples without kids. It makes plans and events hard to make happen, for sure, but we've just adjusted our plans to end by 7 pm! Baby bedtime!

Jeanie said...

Lisa, I always appreciate posts like this because it reminds me that all of us deal with a lot of issues that are challenging and that I'm not alone.

I had to conquer the "saying yes" by getting sick and then retiring. Don't let it go that far. No one needs to know that the appointment keeping you from doing something is with yourself and it doesn't matter whether it is to ponder or write or knit or just watch trash TV and eat gluten free junk food! Making time for yourself is critical to your self-care. Sometimes we must say yes -- it's important to say yes. But other times, we think it will just be fun -- only, as you pointed out so well -- the thrill is gone. Watch out for that one!

You are also wise to look at your career now and explore options that you will find fulfilling, rather than waiting until you are "trapped." Doesn't mean you have to act. It means you explore, think, consider options. Sometimes work just isn't fulfilling. I see wisdom as you are able to separate work from circumstance and conditions. But both matter.

My struggles are fewer these days. Saying "no" is still a problem, but there is more time to say yes. Focus is my big issue, and actually getting things done, not being swept away by the fun thing. And really, that's not a horrible problem to have!

A said...

I struggle with basically all the same things you struggle with -- except I'm comparing relationships to my lack of relationship (which is extra fun)! I've also been struggling with workouts since my knee injury (can't seem to find my groove) and a very constant fear that I'm not happy enough (I don't know what enough is and I wish there was a measure).

Nora said...

I think we are brain twins; I have a post like this planned for tomorrow.

I struggle with... jealousy/comparison. Being a step mom. Balancing being a wife with my own needs (as in, time for myself to read, just be, etc.)

And I 100% understand what you mean about friends in different places in their lives. Out of our local STL friends, we are the last ones to jump on the kid bandwagon (full time, anyway) and it makes life... interesting/challenging :)

katielookingforward said...

AMEN. All my friends are married with babies (or at least it feels like it). And I don't want to rob them of their joy, but I would like to be going down that path also (with the right guy, I'm not crazy enough to go down the path with just anyone).

And I completely understand the disillusion from a career path. I don't have a graduate degree, but this year I would like to make some kind of change, I just don't know what kind of change would be best. Do I move to the cities or duluth and get a corporate job? Do I go back to school and have a part time job? I have no clue.

Linda said...

Not comparing my professional life to others is a big one for me.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I can so so relate to this post, especially numbers 1 and 2. I am ALWAYS trying to get better at not planning to much and I want to do things, but I swear some days any plans at all seems like too much because I am just so exhausted. But then, when I do nothing, I become a super grump because I feel like I should be doing something productive but then don't... and it's just a vicious cycle of absurdity.
The different life stages thing is hard for me too... on the other side. I do have friends with kids, but I tend to not see them off because we are all crazed with kids. As for our families, there are no kids. Max's bday party will include one other kid (my best friend's 2 year old)- in our immediate families there are no kids and that can be really hard sometimes... especially because I was sort of a reluctant parent all along ha ha. <-- hopefully you know what I mean by that, cuz I love Max ha ha.
So, all I can say is I get it. Let me know if you learn how to solve #1 at least, because I think #2 is not possible to solve.

Carolina John said...

I struggle comparing my stuff with other people's stuff. Like people who make less money than me but have a house that costs 4x as much. and the flip side, feeling bad for people who are making car payments for a nicer car when mine is older, not depreciating as much, and paid for in cash.

Amber said...

I feel you on the comparison game, both with relationships and life in general. "Well she can fit in 5 yoga classes a week and going to the gym, why can't I?" "They have a beautiful new big house with a garage and I feel like we'll never afford that!" I often have to remind myself that we don't know what goes on behind closed doors and everyone's life and financial situations and boundaries are different. I struggle a bit with the kid thing myself as SO MANY of my friends are pregnant or having babies right now and then I'm wondering if we should have a family and then I have to ask myself do we *really* want that or do we just think it's time because that's what society is telling us? It's hard for sure. This is a great post though that I'm sure lots of people will really relate to!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This is a GREAT post, Lisa. It most definitely feels vulnerable to talk about our struggles. But, it also seems like others always can relate in one way or another, which validates our struggles, too.

I feel ya on #1 - after coming off a few weeks of too much, I felt incredible guilt when I made plans for this weekend when we otherwise have nothing on the calendar.

#2 - When I got married, I also realized that divide with some of my single friends (although, when I was single, I never had problems being friends with others who were married and/or who had kids). Anyway, I think that divide shows maybe who you have more in common with. I mean, a friendship that can survive great life differences is impressive, right?! So, why not focus on the strengths of those friendships, rather than the weaknesses that let other friendships dissolve?!?

Emilie said...

I really love these posts because I definitely compare myself too others WAY too much and it's a nice reminder to know we are all human. I can really relate to #4. I have always compared my relationship to others and for whatever reason I've always felt inferior and I don't even know why! For example, with Pete's sister: she's been with her current boyfriend for 6 months or so yet I still feel inferior like I still have to prove that Pete and I are in a serious relationship, even though we've been together 2.5 years and have known each other nearly 10.

Elizabeth said...

These moments of struggle are where most of the depth of life seems to be made and growth occurs I believe. Good on you for sharing the less-than-perfect parts, as it just makes you more human :) Sometimes I think the mutual struggle is where the true connection can occur. I think most my struggles from the last few years are out there, but there are lots of other struggles I too don't usually post about. Good food for thought here Lisa. :)

Becky said...

This post was awesome - thanks for sharing it! I think one of the things I struggle with is checking in with (local) friends. I try to be good about that with long-distance friends, but sometimes I don't put in as much effort as I think I should with people who are nearby.

Erin said...

Great post! I definitely can relate to a lot of things you said. #1 is something I've become a lot better about, but I still struggle. Sometimes when I say "no" and people make it clear they are upset by my "no", it really bothers me. I'm just not someone who can shake things off easily.
The comparison thing is something that plagued me a lot in 2014 and I actually just made some peace with it on my recent road trip. I've realized that I don't have to have everything everyone else has to feel like I'm succeeding in life. I've been working on a post covering this topic.

Thanks for a real post like this! Both you and Nora have been really great for me lately--with your truthfulness about life's struggles :)

Love ya girl!

Shoshanah said...

Funny enough I have the opposite problem with most of my friends. Out of most I'm the only one married, and out of my close friends I'm really the only one with a baby. Obviously I'm still new to a lot of this, but I'm sure it will be interesting to see how these relationships change in the future.

Stephany said...

The comparison thing is what gets me ALL the time. It's so hard not to compare my professional life, my personal life, my own self to what others are me are doing. People who seem to have it more "together" than me. I struggle with reaching out to friends... not even when I'm hurting, just even to ask to go out to coffee or something (I don't want to inconvenience them!). I struggle with wanting to be better with my finances, but also not wanting to miss out on fun opportunities around me (why does everything cost money?!) This is such an important post topic and reading through the comments, it has resonated with so many people!

megabrooke said...

Lisa, I appreciate posts like this a lot because they're real and genuine and honest. A lot of the things you struggle with I can really relate to. Ironically I wrote about at least two of them in my recent post too. You are not alone! I totally hear you on so many of them. I think it's good to recognize what we struggle with, and take stock of it. That way we can focus our attention on working on those things. I hope sharing yours here and getting all this awesome feedback made you feel a little more comfortable knowing that you are in good company!

Leigh said...

I read this post on my phone and totally forgot to comment. My memory stinks these days ;) I struggle with saying yes to things. I'm such a homebody and introvert that it takes a lot for me to say yes to something that is out of my comfort zone

Abby said...

This is a great post. I think it is healthy and important for all of us to be honest about our struggles. You're absolutely right, we live in a world where people typically only paint this perfect beautiful picture of life - which lives others feeling inferior because of their own personal struggles. But we all have our struggles and weaknesses in life!

I know that over planning is something you struggle with - and it is really hard to say no. I have gone through phases where I over-plan, and then end up totally "locking down" for a few weeks - and feel guilty. But sometimes we just need that.

I hope you can find the right career that brings you joy and makes you happy. Finding that balance is not an easy thing!


Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

What a great post!

I struggled for a long time with saying "yes" to everything, but I am so much happier now that I don't do that.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I struggle with keeping my house organized. I need my spouse to be on the same page as me in wanting a cleaing person!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Comparison in general is a HUGE issue for me. I just can't help but feel inferior to those who have successful careers, make good money, have beautiful homes, etc. when I feel like I'm so waffling and in this time of uncertainty and confusion. Even in the midst of schooling, I'm not certain it's what I should really be doing. Ugh!

BUT, I am trying to remind myself that we have our own unique situation so I really can't compare myself to others. We are trying to do all of this at once because we want a family NOW rather than later, even if it does mean the next few years might be brutal in some senses.

I am also totally with you on the career confusion. I can see why you'd like to find your right fit, especially after the various work environments you've had and the investment you've made in your career. Just keep seeking! It is out there. I'm wondering if there are any finance networking groups that might be valuable for you to look into (not that you need more to do)?

Marlys said...

Great honest post! Life is a journey and we all have our struggles even though in other's eyes, that may not seem to be the case! I hope this year will bring some satisfaction in your working environment! That would ease some of your stress I am sure!