Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weight Part 10

I think I may need a new title for this string because it's less and less about my weight and more and more about who I am and want to be.

I do not want to work so hard any more -- there, I said it. I want to have time to swim longer. I want to be able to go to dinner with friends once in awhile. I am desperate -- desperate -- for a vacation. I do not want this life. It is sucking me dry.

I love the work, most of the time. I hate when people get nasty because I cannot solve their problem, and since I cannot be all things to all people, there are going to be problems I can't solve. I hate fundraising and I don't think I'm very good at it, try as I might. I've worked with a professional grant writer to get some lessons, but the biggest problem seems to be how small we are. How can we get bigger unless someone takes a chance on us? How can someone take a chance on us while we are so small? Circular.

This all kind of became clear to me when I wrote last time that the only time I lost weight without being sick was when I lived in Miami, taught a manageable schedule, swam a lot, and had fun. I know I can't get there today with the job I have. There is no room for health in my life. And that is emphatically not okay.

I don't want to leave Advocacy for Patients -- and let's be real -- if I left right now, there would be no more Advocacy for Patients. I'd hate to blow the strides I've made. I'd hate to leave people without someone to help them. But if I took a vacation right now, it would be tantamount to committing malpractice -- I have too many cases close to deadlines, in which I'm begging doctors for medical records. I'm trying to teach Nicole and Echo to do some of that sort of routine work, but nobody's at the point yet of being able to equal me in knowledge and output. And if I weren't as fast as I am, there's no way I would be able to stay on top of the mountain of work we have.

And since at least some of our Board thinks I could be doing more if I were healthier, I don't know how they are going to react to me telling them I want to do less. I may have to take a pay cut. I may have to hire someone more experienced than Nicole to come on board, and figure out how to pay that person. I don't know. But I do know that I have no life, that I can't get healthy working 15+ hours a day.

And so I am practicing what I have to say: I do not want to work this hard any more. I do not. What the Board will do about that is at least partly out of my hands. But I have made my decision. It's not about working at home. It's not about hiring staff. It's about me and my health and my state of mind. I do not want my life to revolve around work any more. I've given the last 25 years of my life to work. It's time I took some of that life back.

I'm scared to death. Work has defined me for so long. I don't know who I'll be without it. But I know I have to find out. Jennifer


  1. Jennifer,

    Who will you be without your work defining you? Fundamentally the same person you are now. Caring, reaching out to others, looking for ways to improve life....not just for yourself but still for others.

    What will be different is that you will once again be passionate about life. You will feel better and be healthier.

    All of those who love and admire you for what you do wouldn't want it any other way.


  2. Dear Jennifer,
    That defines you.
    It is in your DNA to work hard. I think you just want to work differently. Knowing you the way that I do, even if you cut your hours, I know in those hours you would work hard. It is how we are wired.
    Make a list of what you want: do it fearlessly and in a way that honors you. You will then be making not only authentic decisions about your personal life, but also about your professional one as well.
    When you change, people change. They cannot help it. One evolves, we all evolve. It's rather fun to watch it happen.
    Take that vacation.
    Know that the world will not fall apart.
    Know that you will return soulfully replenished because you are taking care of you. We cannot take care of anything, job or other person, if we are feeling depleted..."spent". Little changes can rock your world :)
    Plus, you have all of us cheering you on who adore you~~how fabulous is that! :)
    More Hugs xo

  3. I love what the other two said in comments, so I can't add to that. I also am 100% behind your post. Praising you for being honest is not the best part - you just ARE honest.

    I think I like that you are not asking for feedback. I believe you know what you need. Knowing what we need is a 'movable feast'. Right now everything in you is RIGHT about working less for others and more for your life beyond your office. It is a great office, custom built to never let you leave ... especially because it is in your house.

    Balance. Moderation. Finding out what life is like beyond catching up on sleep. GO FOR IT. Tomorrow is not written yet. You have to follow your instinct for right now. Then the 'scales' will be defined for the best possible tomorrow.

    So much love to you, Jenni! x0x0x0x0x