The first week of a new job reminds me of the first week of every semester in college. The first day brought excitement and hope. By Wednesday, I am crying in the corner and think I have made a serious mistake in life choice. Then Friday comes with the gift of two days off to try to get my shit together again.
In college, the first week is when I would receive all of my syllabi for each class. My organized self would promptly add EVERY task to a calendar. By the end of the week, I was losing my mind with panic feeling like there was no way in the world I could get all of those tests and projects completed and actually get to class on time. I would be completely overwhelmed, tearful and feel awful. That is when my Dad would just happen to call to check in on me. He certainly got an earful of words that could barely be understood through the tears. With his very logical mind, he would talk me off the ledge of quitting college and remind me of my worth. At the end of the call, I would feel better, for my parents were the people I want (ed) to be proud of me. Mom and Dad would tell me how much they loved me and reassured me I could finish the tasks since they were spread out over 3 months not 3 days!
We would laugh about these phone calls after I made it out of college. That first-week hell is probably one reason why I never wanted to go back to school. I was determined to work my ass off the first time around so I never had to feel the way the first Friday of every semester felt.
I have a ridiculously high expectation of myself. I want to be efficient, productive, helpful and certainly not a burden to anyone. Once I achieve that level in anything, I work very hard to stay on top of everything so life flows as smooth as possible even in the face of change. I have not felt that first Friday of college feeling in such a long time, I forgot how crippling unreason self-expectations can be; until this week.
I started my second assignment in my traveling OT life. By the end of the 2nd day, I was on that familiar ledge of college. I went to a local exercise class (Yoga sculpt by AMT) that is certain to have me sweat out everything I have in me in order to help reset. It worked the day before, why wouldn’t it work on this day? Well, that is not how it went. The instructor shared a message about being enough as you are in this moment. The tears started to build behind my eyes. Then she played a song where the singer told a story of wanting to stop by someone’s house to tell them how much he loved them and believed in them. That was it for me. The person at that moment I wanted (needed) to stop by and talk with me was my dad. Much like those first Fridays of each semester, I needed to know that I was doing a good job, that I am loved, and that I will do well in the end as long as I give myself a break.
Sadly, I could not have that conversation with him except in my head, for he passed in December. It always surprises me when I miss him the most.