Despite the high I felt after this week’s successful ESL (English as a Second Language) conversation class and the fun I had laughing and talking with friends, connecting with an amiga who is a Spanish teacher willing to help me keep up with my conversation skills, buying sweet, sweet strawberries the size of my fist, and going on a little jaunt out of town, I felt increasingly stressed as the week went on. My body always recognizes the stress even as my head is denying that there could be any possibility. After all, it would be completely irrational for a reasonable person with few serious responsibilities, lots of free time, and many social connections, to feel anything but joy, especially when she looks out the window and sees gorgeous flowers, blue sky and sunshine everywhere.
I thought about this last evening, after returning from a dinner with work friends. I admitted to myself that one obvious reason for the stress was that I must return to work next week to train my replacement, but I decided there had to be more. I reflected on the last three days, which contained three lunches, two dinners, and a long car ride with friends who had a connection to or interest in my former employment. There was a continual buzz about who’s new on the job, who has left, speculation as to why they left, what has changed, who has changed, what the situation will be like in the future, and on and on. It’s not as if I sat by silently while the conversations went on; I always carried my weight. But last night I realized that these discussions were having an effect on me, and I knew that I needed to start focusing my attention on other things to get more enjoyment and less stress during this almost thrilling period in my life. I slept a lot better last night than I had all week.
You put that so well! I still — a decade later — have friends from work who immediately begin tales of who, what, when and where about the ol’ workplace; conversations that once put me right back into the thick of things. Rest assured, there will come a time when during one of those visits, your eyes start to glaze over, your mind will wander to some good book you’ve read or a flower in some garden and as the work tale continues you’ll find a point where you say, “Who? (or what) . . .I don’t know that person (or situation). . .” Or even better, you will know them, and you won’t care!