The Endless Cycle of Outcome Attachment

We constantly hear of how people get out of the holes they are stuck in, but where in there do we hear what was actually going on with them during the process?  We only hear the beginning and the end of the story, essentially, with the selective in-between details. One in-between selective detail is: “Trust me, I had my bad days and good days” – and it ends there.

It may sound crazy to say this, but right now, I am going through a moment where I have a second chance to overcome something that did not go the way I expected.  I have the chance to do it better this time.  My hole at this point is what to genuinely do next with my career.  A year ago, I was still in that spot, but I took a wrong turn: I escaped.  I got off social media because that pit in my stomach ensued and the endless feeling of comparison with others’ (mostly skewed) happy lives seeped its nasty poison into my mind and heart.

I felt self-destructive.  I lost every bit of my confidence and felt like I had no abilities professionally.   After almost 6 months, I landed something. Happiness was back. I felt engaged in my work.  I was back on Facebook because I finally felt like I could participate in everyone else’s happiness show.  Strangely though, I didn’t seem to be posting my own “happiness show”.  I let others include me (i.e. tag me) in their own.  I didn’t even, at the very least, engage anymore on the things I used to care about. Those were the positive benefits of social media I once believed in. Who was I?

Then, one day, I was told my second job would be cut – after just 9 months. I thought. Seriously? Again?

This is clearly irrational but I kept replaying it in my head. Saba, in just two years of completing your masters, where are you going? Your resume is a joke. What will you do now? The negative self talk just spiraled out of control. My mind just couldn’t shut up. I was letting myself be trapped by the same scary outcome: I will scramble for a job, and this vicious cycle will happen yet again. I will again be stressed, but how do I deal now? I’m so fatigued that taking action feels burdensome.

All rationality is out the window. All perspective is too.

The world is so big. I know this. I have gotten to travel a lot of it, only to realize how much the life I feel stressed about is such a little part of something so big.  I know I have so many potential alternatives of what I can do next in my career, but that pit in my stomach wants to control me.

But, I won’t let it.

On another day, I sit still. I look up at the sky. I listen to all of the insects outside of my window. A little girl turns around on her seat in the metro and makes a silly face at me. Life. It’s in front of me. Whether a job or love fails again, these sights and sounds are here to stay. They don’t care about my outcomes.   They happen whether my outcomes are well-deserved, long overdue, or incredibly unfair.

That is what the “good days and bad days”, the days in between, look like. The illusory ending is still in sight.