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Defining Stress

I’m back from a 2 1/2 week vacation abroad and nearly 3 1/2 weeks off work, and the last thing I’m ready to come back to is stress. Coming home means coming back to responsibilities with house, family, and the day job, not to mention trying to make time for all of the creative tasks I’d like to tackle in my life. Taken individually, those responsibilities are typically fairly easy and often quite enjoyable. Taken as a whole… well, let’s just say that little stressors love to group up like mean kids at a party and together they can ruin all the fun.

I had a great quote sitting in my inbox when I returned home from traveling. “Stress is the difference between who you think you need to be and who you actually are.” (Please click here to be linked to the original article quoted.)

Wow. Wake up call.

think I need to manage everything by myself. I’m responsible for keeping my house magazine-perfect both in cleanliness and style. I am responsible for creating and maintaining a perfect system of organization for everything in my house, both physical and digital. I’m responsible for always having an idea of what to cook for dinner, for always keeping bills in perfect order, and for somehow still spoiling everyone in my life on top of it.

I’m also responsible for finding plenty of time around all of that to read, write, blog, submit my work, and do other creative things like photography, scrapbooking, studying language, and more. I should have time to play the piano and harp (both of which I own and neither of which I’m amazing at largely due to lack of practice). I should also have time to keep up on all of my favorite television shows; it seems everyone else manages to do so. I should have time for networking online, both for fun and for writing (hopefully one day professionally). And I should have time for all of that and more around my 40 hours a week sitting in an insurance office keeping customers happy and maintaining a long list of ‘all the little things’ that run in the background as is expected of an office manager. And I don’t even have kids!

I wonder why stress likes to chase me down…

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Now let’s look at who I am. Continue reading

The Allowance for Hobbies and Dreams

Last week I was in a continuing education class for my day job in insurance. The class held perhaps 25 individuals from the area. Before the class began, the instructor asked that we introduce ourselves, state how long we’d been in the industry, the company we currently worked for, and what our hobbies were.

More than one person had no hobby. They either worked too much or lost themselves in the wants and needs of their family enough that they didn’t know what they liked as an individual.

One woman even said, “Hobby? I’ve forgotten what that is.” Continue reading

Writing is Work

Last week a started a new job. Sort of.

I never exactly set out to be an insurance agent. First I was a hostess for 3 1/2 years, then a photo lab tech/drug store stocker for 2 years. After that it sort of fell into my lap that I got my insurance license for personal lines (think home and auto insurance) and for the last 5 1/2 years that’s where I’ve been.

It’s been alright. I have more good days than bad, and it’s been a good job to me in most scenarios, so I’ve put down roots. I am not a creature who enjoys change. I prefer to stay where I am if at all possible.

Last week, however, things changed… at least somewhat. I still work in the same office, I’m still the office manager (and the ONLY consistent person in the last 6 years), but I work for a new boss. The office was sold to a new agent and we’re starting over from scratch. This is incredibly nerve-wracking as we’ve hired new people, started tons of new ‘processes’ to run the office, and questioned and second-guessed nearly everything I do.

But now, 11 days into the month, I can see that this change will be for the good. The past week and a half have been a non-stop messy roller coaster for me and I feel as though surely I have worked at least three weeks already, but it is good. Once things settle down after another month or so, I believe my bad days will be fewer and my stress will be lower.

I never intended for insurance to be my career. Even though I don’t see me leaving the profession any time soon, I still don’t intend for it to be my career. But the recent flurry of new-found structure in an office-setting has me rethinking what I want out of writing. Continue reading