Join me, if you will, for a trip down memory lane. Please?
When my husband and I met I had a fabulous job as a fundraiser for an organization I loved. I worked, and worked, and worked some more. My accounts were sacred and I did everything humanly possible to make their dealings with me and our organization easy, valuable, and lovely. To that end, I worked all the time. I would receive (and take) calls from people within my account companies on Friday nights, Sunday mornings, and before 7am on weekdays. I returned emails at 2am as quickly as I would if the message had come in at 2pm. There was nearly nothing I wouldn’t have done to maintain my relationships.
Not only did I love my job but I was successful. The companies with which I worked raised ridiculous amounts of money for our organization and came back for more each subsequent year. The leaders within the companies were loyal to me and the organization. I got out of bed each morning with a spring in my step, drove to work with excitement and determination, and when I left each day I knew I’d spend several more hours working from my home office.
So my husband and I met at a wedding in September, enjoyed a lovely couple of months of dating, and it became clear pretty quickly that our relationship was something special. Something my husband and I shared was a serious love of work. We both worked long hours, worked really hard, and loved that about each other. At the time I was a workaholic and he loved that about me. I was ambitious and driven and had a positive attitude about mostly everything.
After our lovely few months of dating, sh-t hit the fan. We faced a lot of challenges, dealt with the heartache of sending children back and forth between two households, and our easy and fun relationship became incredibly hard. It wasn’t hard to be with each other…it was hard to deal with the bullsh-t that came along with that.
The following summer I started to struggle. I fell into depression for the first time in my life and I did not know where to start to make it better. I was an instant mom, I was now living with my husband and his two little girls in their house, and I was smack dab in the middle of a whole bunch of drama that I wanted nothing to do with. Because I wasn’t able to accurately put my finger on just what was wrong (there was so much…where do you start?) I started to resent things at work. Misplaced blame. And as time went on I started to really hate my job.
We experienced some pretty devastating tragedies, got married, and my unhappiness at work got stronger and stronger. Eventually, I started looking for another job. I found one, and probably knew deep down that it wasn’t a great fit, but I pounced on the opportunity. It didn’t take long for me to realize it really wasn’t a good fit. And I was once again miserable at work. I started to wonder if I had effectively “forgotten” how to work. Or if I’d ever be happy at work again. When I was recruited by yet another organization I again pounced at the opportunity. Well…we all know how that turned out (see my last post).
My husband was at a loss. One of the things he found so attractive in me was my love for my job. My work ethic. My drive. And to be honest, it’s been gone for a long time. He wondered if I was just unhappy with him. Or with our life. Or if I just couldn’t be happy. Every morning for the past two years, I’ve been a royal pain in the ass to deal with, because I dreaded what came next. He did his best to try to cheer me up by acting crazy, or singing loudly, or messing around with our girls, and I would look at him with disdain and irritation. I emailed him 47 times an hour during the work day with random thoughts to avoid actually working. Each evening I’d come home feeling defeated and he’d again be cheerful and I’d do my best to be in a good mood for the girls.
We kind of figured out how to work around my misery with work but it was never like it was when I loved my job and wanted to work hard. But we adapted and I learned how to keep much of my unhappiness at work to myself or for my girlfriends ears only, and he learned how to handle me.
Sooo…here’s the thing. I started a new job the week of Christmas. And then all of a sudden? I wake up in the morning without dread. I spend my mornings with the girls, allowing them to sleep-in, listening to Justin Bieber, getting ready slowly, and stopping by Starbuck’s on the way to the office. At night I either meet my family at the gym where I do yoga, or I meet them at home, or we meet for dinner. I go to bed at night without stress and without a stomach ache because I have to go to a job I hate the next day.
In addition? I hardly even email him during the day anymore. I’m too busy. There are a million things I could and should be doing. I might be able to work 12 hours a day and still not feel like I’ve accomplished everything I need to. And it feels f-cking amazing. But here’s the thing. The dynamic we’ve been working with for the past several years? It’s gone. Poof! I don’t need cheering in the morning. I don’t need to be handled with kid gloves at night. And it kind of feels like we’re starting over. Like we are in a whole new ballgame. We might need to get to know each other all over again. The girl who loves working, who constantly thinks about what she’ll do the next day to find more business, the girl who doesn’t mind working at night, the one who actually (GASP!) likes her job? She’s back. And I’m not sure my husband necessarily knows what to do with her.
Dear husband? It’s nice to meet you. I’m Carrie and not only do I love my job…but I’m going to be very very successful. Game on.
It’s going to be a good year people. Can I get an “Amen?!”
TODAY: What if as my marriage grows, and we change as people, we sometimes need to hit reset and get to know each other all over again.