6.6.06

Changes

We all know that life cycles up and down. Sometimes it's little bumps and little bruises, other times you are flying free and sure nothing will ever weigh you down again. And sometimes you crash. A series of events that each seem relatively harmless when taken in isolation and could be easily handled under normal circumstances pile up and wreak havoc. The signs that trouble is brewing are easy to see in retrospect but that clarity often only comes in hindsight. And then you have to pull yourself up again before you can fly again.

I laid out a careful plan before I moved to Europe. I came here for love but I wanted it all. I wanted to keep my career. I wanted to be independent and have my own friends, learn the language so I could get around on my own and, in a nutshell, stay who I was before I came here. I have always been ambitious. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...

I loved Europe the moment I got here. Any doubts I had about making such a big move to join M. in Munich were immediately put to rest. We settled into our routine and were so happy to see each other every weekend. His friends and family welcomed me. I had found a project with my company that looked like a good fit for moving my career along. Finally, I thought I had found the balance in life I had been looking for for so long and the right person to share it with.

This past weekend, in dramatic fashion, I realized how off track I have gotten. Work has infiltrated my days and nights and the stress has run over into my personal life and one person has born the brunt of that. Beyond the stress, I have struggled to do any of the things that I had promised myself when I got here. The pressure from work was building up on the inside and my lack of commitment to anything else created a vacuum on the outside. And I finally cracked. Or downright exploded.

Ex-pats have challenges beyond the norm, especially those of us who come here as a result of a relationship. It is easy to lose yourself in all the change and also possible to strain the relationship without the support of a larger social circle but I didn't think that could happen to me because I had anticipated that and I knew to avoid it.

I wanted so much to be successful here that I sacrificed myself to an ever more demanding project. The more they asked the more I tried to give. Opportunities to spend fun weekends with M. and his friends, to get to know new acquaintances better, to learn the language and the culture, to look around at all this place has to offer and to take care of myself took a back seat to the raging inferno of work. And something not surprising happened after five months of this.

When the dust settled after this weekend, I was faced with a cold, hard fact. I am responsible for letting this happen and if I don't get my work-LIFE balance where it needs to be in the immediate future, it will not be long before I lose myself for good. And this job isn't worth that.

So this week I reclaim my life. Work can piss off. Let's just hope it's not too late.

Posted from Basel

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

the cool thing about a social life is its always there... and if its not... theres a new one ready to be explored...

good luck... i always told you to have fun and stop working so much!!!

kj

J said...

Sorry about your meltdown, but it happens to all of us from time to time. Best of luck in sorting things out.

SwissTwist said...

*hugs* As someone who moved here for love and adventure, I can completely relate. Taking a step back and taking a deep breath is the best thing you can do.
Good luck :)

rebecca said...

Breathe in. Breathe out. As j said, its happened to all of us, but you are right that the first time you spend in a new country you are very vulnerable- you loose your horizon for a while (literally) work can seem like the most familiar thing to grab on to. Glad to read you are trying to "rebalance"; some things are just more important than others and work is one of the others. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Michelle said...

All,

Thanks for your kind words. For those of you who have been through this it's nice to know I'm not alone and that you can survive :)

So far I have been doing very well - left work at a reasonable time all week and not getting bent out of shape that everything is not perfect there.

Kyle - what is up with those stinkin yankees.. i haven't seen the games but c'mon!! And where have you been?

Anonymous said...

wow a personalized message... totally loved...

I have no words for the first game... but the second -- Pauley pitched a GEM... friggin francona pulled a grady and LEFT HIM IN TOO LONG.... there was a clear point where even the YES announcers were like TAKE HIM OUT IF YOU WANT TO WIN YOU IDIOT...

anyway totally rambling...

Rain basically sucks ... or su.cks in gameday lingo...

I deleted my email... but I'll always read here... so if you need something... let me know... or find me moping about baseball... i'll always be there too...

kj