I grew up in a single parent household racked with financial stress. I ate, I had clothes on my back, but it wasn’t unusual to hear my parents fighting over child support or to find my mom crying over a pile of bills she wasn’t quite sure how she was going to pay. Many families live precariously on that tightrope of paycheque to paycheque, and this state of constant fear leaves some marks. One that I am currently struggling with is a bit of a surprise. I feel bad for living well.
My partner and I have made decisions, professionally and personally, that have left us financially okay. Not Scrooge McDuck, swimming in a pool of gold bullions okay, but comfortable. It has also gifted us the opportunity of choice. I don’t love my job, the one I worked hard for, and now I am at a crossroads where there is a possibility to do something else. And I feel really shitty about it.
I am getting better every moment at acknowledging this potential shift as a gift to be thankful for, but old habits are hard to break and I am having trouble believing that this is real and that it’s okay to go for it. It’s like there’s a nervous cat in my chest that keeps hissing and spitting for me to just let it alone in familiarity and security. Then there’s the rusted fork wielding troll in my head that keeps telling me that my current lifestyle and profession ticks all the boxes, and that I’m being an ungrateful cow.
So what I am supposed to do with this? I have a spastic feline in my chest and a troll in my brain, and all I really can do is make space for them as well as that wiser, kinder part of me that knows these visitors are fleeting. I can only notice when I decide to wallpaper my brain with guilt laden sticky notes marked “should”, so that maybe I can let these self-imposed expectations go. I am choosing, moment to moment, to be okay with living well.