Sorry mom, I’m not moving back home. This is a different kind of back. It’s a perspective change, a different mental state, a repentance, label it what you will. The point is my head and heart are in a place I don’t want them to be, so I’m going back to move forward.
I’ve had a rough few weeks, particularly with work. I’ve been overwhelmed, stressed out, annoyed, and my way to cope with these things is to isolate. I cut off everything around me to dig deeper into the very things that are stressing me out. Luckily, I have some smart people in my life who have helped me realize a few things:
1. I have no sense of rhythm.
As a musician, I’ve always been painfully aware of my lack of rhythm. I have to play with others who have strong rhythm to keep me on track, or completely by myself so it just doesn’t matter. What I didn’t realize until very recently, is that I have pretty poor rhythm in my life as a whole. I drive forward until my strength is depleted and I’m shot back down, rather than a gentle swing between action and rest. Like the chaos of a roller coaster instead of the steady beat of a pendulum.
2. ENTJs are not very good at relationships.
I call myself a people person. I like people for the most part. I just don’t always have the patience to deal with their feelings. So when there are lots of feelings happening, my response is either to 1) tell them to grow a pair and move on, or 2) leave the room. People don’t respond to either very well. And even worse, sometimes I really struggle to care that they don’t respond well.
There’s a personality site that articulates it perfectly: “The underlying thought running through the ENTJ mind might be something like ‘I don’t care if you call me an insensitive b*****d, as long as I remain an efficient b*****d’.”
The problem here is that, again, I end up in isolation, disconnecting myself from the people around me. As someone who genuinely cares for people and wants to have positive impact, isolation is not an option.
3. I need help.
This one scares me a bit because I’m usually unaware of it. I’ll apologize for setting a mug down on a coworker’s desk so I can open the conference room door, never considering that I might simply ask the coworker to open the door for me. Or I’ll dig myself into a rut trying to accomplish something I’ve convinced myself I should know how to do, rather than stepping back to consider I actually have no idea what I’m doing.
4. I need to shift focus.
I love my job. These issues aren’t job issues, they’re Rachel issues. The focus of every aspect of my life for the past three weeks has been my to-do list. I wake up in the morning and before even getting out of bed, I check my calendar to see what meetings I have for the day. From there, I feed the dog and start going through the list of things I have on my plate. I figure out what shirt I’m going to wear with the same jeans I wore yesterday and I start narrowing my list to what has to be accomplished today. Then, I brush my teeth and decide what between-meeting windows each task will fit into. Finally, I go to work, add more to my to-do list, check a few things off, sleep, and repeat.
My joy and satisfaction are dangerously low.
I don’t take the time to see how our new hires are acclimating. I don’t take the time to teach and refine the content writer I’m supposed to be leading. I avoid my boss in the attempt to avoid more to-dos. I grunt a “hello” and “goodnight” to my roommate as I get home each night. I struggle to connect to my neighborhood kiddos when I actually manage to spend time with them. And my poor dog has not had a good cuddle in far too long.
I’ve disconnected from the only thing that I truly care about: people (and my dog).
5. The only thing I truly care about is people.
There’s part of me that likes to believe that I don’t need people. I don’t need your help, your love, your approval, your support. But we simply weren’t created to live in isolation. We are communal beings on every level, dependent on each other for survival, for joy, for truth, for growth, for rest.
I need to pour into you and I need you to pour into me. That’s the only way we’ll be remotely happy in this ridiculous world. I miss my people. I miss serving you. I miss challenging you. I miss seeing you discover and tap into passion. I miss helping you wrestle with truth. I miss you. So I’m going back and we’re moving forward.