When you’re young and ambitious, and living in a major city, it is easy to feel anxious. When you have a sense of what you want to achieve and who you want to be, it is a reflection of an identity you are crafting for yourself. However, when others disagree with these aspects of the life you want to build then it becomes a criticism about that identity. And that is where the anxiety starts.
I’ve been n a transitional period for a while and I have been feeling rather stuck. I’ve been on the job hunt for a few years and while I have had a few close calls in advancing my career, I haven’t been able to make that change. I’m gainfully employed now but it is with a company I don’t care about. They don’t even care about me. Just this week, when I told my boss that I haven’t been getting much direction in my role, he said he hadn’t been leveraging me as much as he could’ve because he was hoping I would’ve left on my own already. And while I have been looking for an opportunity to check out, I might as well do the best job I can while I’m still where I’m at.
The constant rejection one feels while looking for a job, and especially if that search has lasted such a long time, feels like an admonishment of the identity you are trying to create for yourself. It suggests that the image you have of yourself is not shared by others. And a lot of doubt sets in as a result.
Largely, I don’t have many complaints. My life is pretty nice. I get to do the things I want, have nice and supportive friends, and I am able to live alone and be financially independent in a large city. Many others are not as fortunate, so I should count my blessings. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to others, whether they be more or less fortunate than me, but sometimes it is difficult not to. When I see my friends and colleagues advancing so quickly in their careers, I think about what I’m doing wrong. I think about is wrong with me. Someone somewhere is buying into their identity. What is my identity worth?
In the last few years, I have really developed some great grounding exercises to help me break out of negative thinking cycles. And I have really benefitted from them. Though, sometimes, it isn’t easy to break out of that cycle. So you just have to sit with the anxiety, acknowledge its existence, and try to let it pass naturally with exacerbating the situation by dwelling and stewing.
I sometimes think of drastic things that I think will help my situation. Most of the time, it is me thinking about moving to a different city. A smaller, and perhaps less competitive city that would love to hire someone who survived and (sometimes) thrived in the big city of Chicago. But, let’s face it. Do these problems really just go away that quickly? Do I really think my problems will go away if I move? Likely not.
I have a strong sense of self. I am ambitious and I don’t give up. It is hard sometimes, but I’m someone who keeps trying. I have a lot of good in my life and I recognize areas that need further improvement or development. And I work hard in those areas. It isn’t easy and most people feel the way I do or are experiencing the same things as me. Though I feel like it sometimes, I am not alone.
I’m ready for a big change. I’m ready to cross the threshold and take on new responsibilities and have new experiences and learn new lessons. I’ve always been about growth, both personal and professional, and I’m ready to stretch out because I’ve outgrown certain aspects of my current life. In the meantime, I just have to be patient. I feel stuck, but I must remember it isn’t forever.
For this week’s song blog post, I just wanted something youthful and angry that reflected my feelings on feeling stuck. Something cathartic that allowed me to dance away the negativity. And I feel that with The Gories, a garage band from Detroit that blends garage aesthetic with blues. On their 1990 studio album I Know You Fine, But How You Doin’ features the song “Stranded”, a song that illustrates that power can come from anger. Lead singer yells “Right now, I just want to get the hell out.” You and me both, brother.