One day before 35

We recently completed an employee engagement survey at work. I hate those things. Generally it doesn’t change anything but the rhetoric, and it feels like more of a chore than anything. My team had a meeting yesterday about our results, and after a lot of talk about the past and how we can move forward as a team, I spoke up.

Now, I am very happy at my job. In fact, I LOVE my job. I wake up excited more than I don’t, and I’m usually bubbly the second I walk in the door. My team is amazing, and I am proud to work where I am. Full stop. I’m in love with what I do, and where I am. I get thanked a lot for the work I do, I get a lot of compliments about my attitude and the effect it has, and I haven’t said no to a project yet. Hell. I even had a little birthday celebration yesterday, and got thanked by two directors (including my own) for overtime I put in.

I. Love. My. Job.

All of that, however, didn’t stop me from pointing out that employee engagement results tend to be difficult to implement, that I had the previous results and nothing has changed, and that I didn’t see the point of putting a lot of effort into something that wouldn’t matter anyways. I genuinely believe that effort needs to come from the top – that it’s impossible to say to jaded individuals “It will get better if you work harder!” unless you want to piss everyone off.

Given that I’m generally the happiest person in the office, that statement has raised a few questions and a few compliments from my team. Most obviously, the one I’ve heard 4 times now is comments about my positive attitude versus my opinion about employee engagement surveys.

To that, I say I choose this.

I’m turning 35 tomorrow (what the fuck), and I have to say that the lesson I’ve learned the most since last year is that your attitude defines your life. I have finally learned that I get to choose.

I choose to be happy at work, especially on Mondays, even though it would be really easy to be grumpy and disengaged.

I choose to be happy. Even when reason says I shouldn’t be, I choose lightness over darkness.

I choose hard work. Whether it’s the gym or repairing a relationship, or even cleaning a storage room, I choose to get sweaty and fight through it.

I choose to dance. Even though I’m TERRIBLE at it, even though I don’t know how, I choose to shimmy and shake and sing to honour God and myself, I choose to feel lovely as I move.

I choose love – I choose to love me in all my busted up glory, I choose to love my friends and family, I choose to believe in romantic love and a happy ever after (even though I struggle with that last). Today, especially. I choose love.

I choose to fight for the things that I want. As Sugar says, I want to fight in the muckiest muck and walk out, filthy, exhausted, but still choosing it every time.

I choose, I choose, I choose.

It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, only in real time. It’s really hard to be this way – I struggle with falling into old habits (“Why does this keep happening to me?!”) and somedays, owning my choices is really fucking difficult. But the more I do it, the easier it is.

I turn 35 tomorrow, and I choose to be happy. I choose to keep living my life without regret, I choose to keep working to being the person I want to be. If I could give you any advice, it would be to choose. Choose what’s important to you, choose to fight for the people you love and the future you want, choose yourself, choose love.

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Week 7: February parallels

This time last year, I was well into a bottle of bubbly.

I had been restructured out of my job. They pulled me into a meeting room, told me that they didn’t need a marketing and communications pro (which, to be fair, was true), tried to look sincere when they apologized, and then let me pack up my things and go. I sat in my car and screamed, cried a little…. and then came home and drank prosecco because I had no idea what I was going to do.

To be clear, this wasn’t the same as the Irish whiskey black out that happened when I left the GoA. This was a night of “well, fuck it, I don’t have to work tomorrow. Cheers!”

It’s been 365 days. And oh so much has changed. In true N style, let’s show some gratitude for that time before I get into the parallels.

I am just over 10 months into a job that blows my mind every. Single. Day. Seriously. Every day. I wake up absolutely pumped to go to work, and my boss often teases me that I must be on great drugs because I’m just thrilled every day. My reviews have come back positive, and I’ve been praised for my leadership skills. Which is awesome, because this is my first leadership role (hooray to going from a MarComms Coordinator to Communication Team Lead!). I’ve been doing things that are generally out of my comfort zone and succeeding – traveling to large scale events with no idea what I’ve been doing, interviewing for vacation positions – and I am so fucking in love with my job. I didn’t think it would ever happen.

I have the homicidal love muffin. She’s currently asleep in a shoe box (well, she’s trying to fit into a shoe box) and chirping in her sleep. I didn’t plan on adopting her. I saw a photo, and all of a sudden I had a feather chasing fuzz butt who is now 12 pounds and loves to play hide and seek.

For the first time, I dated with intention. I realized precisely how lonely I was, and started being even picky than I usually am with dating. There were some really nice guys. And now… there is just one really nice gentleman. No drama, no strings attached, just goodness.

I am slowly but surely getting healthier. Full stop. There have been slides backwards (like right now, because fuck my ankles and the flu, that’s why!) but I am always getting back up and continuing to move forward.

However, it can’t all be hunky dory. This time last year, I was steeling up the courage to go to my doctor and tell her that I wanted physio to heal my knee so that I could start running again. And now, I’m dealing with an ankle that isn’t stable that I’ve been instructed to be gentle with until it stops popping out of place. No high heels. I’m not allowed to spin until I’m done curling (repetitive motion, for the win!) so I’m generally just cranky about it. The other night I slid out of the hack, and my foot popped so loudly that I thought I’d broken it. And today, it’s all swollen.

All that said, I take a lot of peace that the only thing that is the same as last year is the idea that I need physio. How amazing is that? I’m experiencing a lot of joy, things are finally in a place where I am content and feeling happy. I don’t think I’ll ever say that I’m done improving, because I don’t know that I ever will be, but I’m so happy.