I never realized how much I thought about work before. It’s Sunday, and I would normally be mentally planning for the week ahead: my schedule, lunches, meetings, conference calls, etc.

Fifteen years of going to work every day is a lot of programming to pause or undo. Thoughts flit in and out of my head…this or that would be a great story to tell my coworkers, do I have pants to wear tomorrow, what’s the weather going to be, did I set my alarm???

But, no. Not today.

Tomorrow is just another day of the week. 

Last week at this time, I was dreading how busy my Monday and Wednesday were going to be with the July 4th holiday on Tuesday: We’re going to be slammed both days with clients and paperwork and emails…I’ll be lucky to get a full 30 minute lunch…if anyone calls off, I’ll be furious. And on. And on. All consuming.

Now I feel the need to cleanse work from my system. It has infected my body and life like a slow-acting poison. When did my life become so centered on a job?!

My family has always been the most important thing, but I see now how much of my attention and brain time went to thinking about work. Dreading it some, even most, days. Letting it bring me down and keep me there, just enough of my head above water for air.

I did not love my job and it certainly didn’t love me back. It was more of a symbiotic relationship – it sucked the life out of me 40+ hours a week and I got a paycheck and insurance in return.  But it gave me a purpose beyond the roles of wife, mother, daughter. It filled my craving for routine and rules and set schedules.

It gave my life structure. 

I need that now, I realize. I need stability and certainty and an order to my day. I need a set schedule and will have to create my own new path. I need to do some self-care. And I need time to think.

Sunday night as I put my daughter to bed, I look at the wooden play calendar in her room, and I realize it’s only been four days since I got fired. Four short days. I’m allowed time to process this. Time to let my emotions roll and sway and crash. Time to let my brain attempt to wrap itself around my new reality. Time to pause.

Time to heal. And grieve. And breathe.