2016 Wrap-Up: Hardship & Changes

By the SIL Blog Staff

We’ve told you we built a support system in part one. We’ve told how with each other’s support we tried new things in part two. Part three in our year-end wrap up is all about hardship and change. Yeah. At this point, you’re either on #TeamStruggle or #TeamSchadenfreude when it comes to 2016. Did you know that there is an American Institute of Stress?  That is where you can find the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory list.This list assigns point values to 43 different life stressors, add the scores up and you have an indicator of the chance of a major health event in the coming years. Just peruse the list and you can see that we are well beyond the traditional view of Death, Divorce, Job Loss, Moving, Major Illness as being the only MAJOR stressors.  Check it out, but don’t get all WebMD weird about it.

A while ago we noticed that among our SIL support group we each had at least one thing on the Holmes-Rahe list. Was that unique to our friend circle? Do we need to get exorcised or something? Did your friend group also have everyone dealing with something at any given moment? LET US KNOW ABOUT IT.

Today’s post asks what changes/hardships we faced and what helped us through it. We also take stock of how we think we did, and let you know what was the most helpful to us. These may still be works in progress, as life lends itself to being, but we hope the tools and the fact that we are still standing (some of us barely) offers you some comfort. #YouCanDoIt

silblog2016wu

 

What was your big change / hardship in 2016 and what tools did you use/are using to work through them?

Mey:

My big change in 2016 was to leave BigLaw and go in-house. It was one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made – and I still look back at that crossroad from time to time. I am not sure why I still struggle with that decision. It has nothing to do with how much I love my current job.  I think it has to do with the fact that I wanted to make partner in BigLaw for a long time – and I put in SO much work and sacrificed so much happiness to do so – and it is hard not to see it as a “failure” – to not make it (even if I took myself out).  I will always wonder if I had it in me.  Another part of why I struggle is that I feel a little bit like a sellout (being a minority female and not making sure I made partner before I left).

O is certainly not a thing or a tool, but she helps me through it. She makes life worth living. She reminds me that there is more to life 
than work.  And the hubs is certainly not a tool, but he helps by reminding me / reassuring me that I made the right choice.  Just this past Saturday, O and I took our time getting out of bed, lounging and playing.  Jason reminded me that when I was in BigLaw, every moment was planned, and there was no leisure or time for spontaneity because I had to bill.

Sneha:

My biggest hardship in 2016 was facing reality and coming to terms with the fact that some things are not meant to be; no matter how hard you work. Changing a career mid-life with a mountain of debt is not where I imagined i’d be. Besides lots of praying, I’m so blessed to have an army of family and friends who show their love and support thru endless emails, texts, lunches and phone calls! They are and will continue to be my best “tools!”

Laura:

I had a happy, healthy baby girl. My pregnancy was tougher emotionally than I expected and the roller coaster of reactions during and after were almost traumatic. My toolbox is mostly made up of time & patience. My god they get thin though. It turns out I have a tremendous support ‘staff’ of family and friends that provided physical and emotional help even when they didn’t know it (hint hint SIL bloggers).

Nancy:

Cities. Constantly reminding myself that this was MY decision and what I wanted to do. There are still days I question my decision. I have so many people rooting for me I have to keep my head up.

Puja:

My father died. Suddenly and quickly. My father, who I did not have the best relationship with, died before I could fix that. I waited too long. And he died. The extent of the fallout is not yet determined, but so far immense guilt and pressure to uphold legacies showed up to the party. Tools for dealing with this? I don’t know. I have tools for coping with it, my family, my friends, humor, Korean Dramas, and keeping busy (often with complete foolishness). You all know my mantra is self-care. If I dropped dead tomorrow I want you to remember that I gave you permission to love yourself. Because that is all self-care is really, an expression of self-love. But not that type of self-love (don’t think of me during that, unless you are into that/me, then totally think of me). So whether it is getting that mani-pedi, embarking on a creative journey with new collaborators, or getting a puppy, if it makes you feel better, there is no need to justify it beyond that. An unusual tool I am trying out that I have never tried before? Indulging in Utter Foolishness. It ties back to the Year of Yes we must have mentioned for the 20th time this year, when else are you going to say ‘yes’ if not now?

Rashee:

Like I mentioned yesterday, I moved out, left my marriage and became a single mother. My tools are a strong support system: my family, my friends, my nanny, my dog, my amazing employer, my therapist and the wildcard – my personal trainer. I have been living in “power save mode” (entire post to follow on this) running only my essential “apps.” My support system underwrites my entire life: mental health by family, friends, therapist, dog; physical health by a weekly session with my personal trainer; my son by his loving weekday mama, our nanny. I focus on the problems I can fix (my challenging new job) and try to be the best I can be every day. That is all I have the time and energy for right now. It won’t always be this way, but it is right now. And I’m okay with this short term solution.

 

How do you think did in the face of this and what, if any, lessons did you come away with?

Mey:

This one is hard. I guess I’m alright.  I don’t know if I’m necessarily exponentially happier, but my husband is and I do love that I have more time with O. I think I have always and will always need affirmation – thus why I don’t know how I did.  I confess that I need someone to tell me. That’s sad, isn’t it? That my tendency to lose myself in my work and stay late and work during times I should be off is a part of me and that having a job that has corporate hours is helpful but at the end of the day, I need to work on setting boundaries for my family. And figure out who I am, outside of work (shoutout Sneha).

Sneha:

Oh, I did horribly, at first.  But as I slowly and painfully thought about it and re-evaluated my life I realized that my mantra: “everything happens for a reason” will lead me to something better.  It’s not easy and no where near over but the experience has taught me to be patient and not a control freak. To keep faith and trust myself.

Laura:

I don’t think I failed. I mean, she’s healthy. Her delivery was uncomplicated. My recovery was physically uncomplicated. But I know I disappointed myself, my husband, and my son repeatedly. My son hopefully won’t remember, but his crestfallen face and tears are etched in my memory.
I am learning that my son is resilient. He wants someone to play with & sit and read or be silly with. The crusty floor can wait 10 more minutes but he can’t. He won’t stay this cute forever.
And when it gets too bad, take 15 minutes and then go back in.

 

Nancy:

I think it’s still to be determined. I’ve been trying to be better at solo adventures though it’s been hard. I realized that making new friends and connections in a new city is harder as I’m older. It takes a lot to nuture new relationships and at times I just don’t have the energy.

Puja:

I am really trying not to become a cliche and since that is my worry, I guess I am whiffing it. But this is a question we can’t really know the answer to right at this moment isn’t it? We can’t write from an open wound (shout out Rashee). Right now I think I am barely getting started on dealing with this, I haven’t even decided that I want to beyond ‘death happens to everyone and you aren’t special.’ I guess the biggest lesson is if you can keep going, you keep going. I feel like such a fraud when people tell me I am strong or resilient because inside I am falling apart almost daily. When it gets too much, I just let it happen, pull myself back together and keep it moving. What choice do I have? My family (this includes those friends who are family) are important, my career is somewhat important (I should really figure out what’s going on there), fighting orangemort is important. That leads me to lesson number two: find out what’s important. Start focusing on things that don’t make you feel like shit (hence, self-care, self-worth and hell even selfies). Someone break your heart? Guess what, you don’t have time for that on top of this…unless you prioritize, or stick a pin in it and hope to carve out time to come back to it. Why do I feel like Sisyphus?

Rashee:

I am on a brutiful spiritual journey. “Brutiful” is Glennon Doyle Melton‘s mash-up of brutal + beautiful. “Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real.”  So I keep showing up for the journey. Like I said, it is often with zero visibility and often on an unpaved road, but I keep showing up and keep trying. I get knocked down a lot and I am still in the middle of it, so it’s hard to crystallize the lesson. But so far I can say that giving up is not an option. Don’t ever give up. Don’t lose your compassion or your empathy. Don’t lose yourself. Be your own compass and learn to trust your inner guidance.


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The score for the SIL Blog Staff on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory: 271.

Prognosis?  Per the scale provided, 150-300 points implies  a 50% chance of a major health breakdown in the next two (2) years. So now the only questions left are is it going to be one, a few, or all of us? And which one breaks first?

Trick questions, We. Don’t. Break.

Looks like we may have some openings for regular bloggers when we mysteriously disappear for “sabbaticals” though. Are you interested in being regular or some time contributor? Email us, hit us up on the social media platform of your choice, or fill out and submit the form below (the Table for One Girls says they will accept stripagrams, but you really shouldn’t feed the animals – they will blog about it).

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