I quit my job last week. I had been doing the same thing, at the same company, for three years, and I knew I was finished with it. I was very good at my job, to the extent that my manager told me I could rejoin whenever I wanted to.
But the problem isn’t that I’m out of work. The problem is that I tend to equate my worth with my work. I had spoken about the ‘Curse of Productivity’ and I can’t seem to let it go. And our current culture obsessed with ‘hustle’ isn’t helping.
It’s unhealthy. If your self worth depends on anything external, be it your job or your relationship, you’ll never really be completely at peace. You’ll hold on to things much longer than you need to, simply because you associate your own value with it.
I acknowledge that there’s a problem. And I know I’ll really have to sit with all of these thoughts every single day to get myself out of this cycle. But I intend to do that. I don’t just want to get another job or start something new to avoid facing this.
I am consciously going to choose a slow, leisurely and laid-back life. Because it is perfectly okay to just live. Because there’s nothing glamorous about being busy.
Today, I have to remind myself that I don’t need to be productive all the time. I don’t know when I started putting this pressure on myself that I constantly need to be doing something that has meaning. I used to be the kind of girl who lived by ‘dolce far niente’. When did that change?
Actually, I know the answer. It changed when my marriage failed, and I thought I had to prove my worth to the world. By working, by having a purpose and by being busy. It was then, that I started judging other women for their lack of careers. But to be honest, I was just jealous of them. Jealous because they didn’t have to prove anything. They belonged.
Anyway, that craving to prove something just turned into a habit, over the years. And I was doing okay when life was normal and the pandemic hadn’t hit. I could go to work and just be occupied.
But, as is with every other area of my life, this year has made me reflect on this part as well. And with reflection, comes realisation. This particular realisation was not a very happy one.
In theory, I’m aware that I shouldn’t have to prove anything. But, how do I practically change something that has become a part of me? How do I tell myself I’d be enough even if all I did was breathe? Because right now I am doing everything I’m supposed to be doing-I work, I work out, I meditate and whatever else is needed. But it doesn’t feel enough.
Why can’t I just let myself be?