This week I’m celebrating an anniversary. “Celebrate” may not be the right word but I’m not sure what it is so we’ll go with it for now.
A year ago this week, I broke. In almost every way possible, I broke.
2017 was the highest earning year of my career. I surpassed the 6-figure mark. Now, before you call asking for money, remember I’m a small-business owner so after expenses and taxes (and I mean LOTS of taxes), I wasn’t even close to netting 6-figures but I grossed it so I’m counting it.
Some people hit this mark years ago and that’s amazing! But, as a Hispanic, first-generation American woman neither of whose parents are college-graduates, who’s spent 20 years in corporate letting other people decide how much she was worth…this was a big moment for me.
And now, like Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”
I was working 80-100 hours/week teaching five classes and working full-time and trying to be a mom. My body was screaming at me with chronic headaches, nightmares, grinding teeth, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, sleep deprivation, and severe dehydration. Don’t judge. You’ve ignored it too.
The week before Christmas, it all came crashing down. My body said, “f$%^ you, we can’t keep doing this” and shut down. I broke.
I won’t go into the details because it’s hard to describe (just ask my friends who saw my downward spiral firsthand) and honestly, it makes me uncomfortable to fully admit my vulnerability.
But here’s what I’ll share – I could barely function. Driving was difficult, sleeping was difficult, working was difficult, and being a mom was sooo difficult. Very few people knew the extent of my brokenness because who the hell wants to tell people that you’re weak and struggling and failing at life? Uhhhh, not me. Yes I know that’s not true but that’s how it felt.
So, I did the only thing I could. I pared my life down to bare bones. I walked away from a big chunk of business, taught fewer classes, declined invites to speak, canceled trips, cut out all networking functions, and shrank my circle of friends.
I still worked but only on projects I was deeply passionate about and essentially I became a semi-SAHM*. Which is hilarious. Me as a SAHM? I’m as ambitious and career-driven as they come. When C was born, I wanted to end my maternity leave early because I missed work. Seriously…go ahead and join me in shaking your head at that.
It’s taken nearly a year to mostly recover.
There’s something about burning yourself to the ground that shifts your perspective. To be clear, I do NOT recommend it but if you do (because some of you will), there’s an upside.
While lying there as a pile of smoldering ash unsure of WTH I was going to do next, I got really clear on some things:
- I’m not SAHM material but being a part-time one has made me more present with my girl at an age when she really needs it. Amen.
- Money isn’t everything. Took me 40+ years to learn that and I still need reminding.
- Talking honestly about being vulnerable is not my forte but writing about it just may be.
- I’m not invincible. Damn it.
Celebrate – verb (used with object), cel·e·brat·e to honor or acknowledge a significant event or to make known publicly.
Maybe celebrate is the right word after all. Happy anniversary to me.
*SAHM is the cool kid way of saying stay-at-home-mom