MS has got me thinking about my career and future in the workplace.
I currently have a high-stress, C-level position and like any decent California earthquake, it is beginning to forge little cracks. Cracks in my skin and in my emotional armor, but much less noticeably, cracks in my passion for working.
My parents forgot to teach me many things. The basics of laundry and how to properly apply makeup were left out of the curriculum completely, but an intense work ethic was their biggest and brightest lesson. I have been working since the age of 15 and I can honestly say I have loved it. Even the worst jobs. Waitressing until 2am for pennies, transcribing reality shows while smoking pack after pack of cigarettes in my tiny studio, performing 5am hotel wake-up calls to celebrities who scream back at you to leave them in peace. I have loved the purpose, the drive, the money, the fulfillment of doing a great job. I have loved the working.
When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at 40, I had recently lost my mother and was exceedingly grateful to bury my nose right back into my job. Decisions about surgeries and doctors and medications and MRIs could all be made in my spare time. My work has always been a solid friend. A trustworthy companion of distraction.
But now, taking a moment to reminisce over this past year, I wonder. This year of 2020 – a trash heap of stress and anxiety and fear and anger and rage and loathing and all of the emotions I normally give little to no energy… I wonder. Do I still love working? Was the time spent pouring over Excel sheets and management reports a good and purposeful distraction?
There are a few women in my MS support group who have quit working and are on disability. They seem… happy. And I see my future, peaking around the corner, full of many things that are not Excel sheets and tps reports. I can see a glimmer of disability and for me, this feels like a gift.
Meditation provides time in silence; a gift of nothing to do but be. When I do decide to gently exit the workforce, I look forward to the slow, careful unwrapping of that most unusual present. There might be travel inside or a return to performing with outdoor theater companies or writing a book. Or maybe just a lot of wonderful rest.
Whatever is to be found, MS has taught me all gifts are meant to be opened and loved and this will certainly be no exception.