Humble and Happy
If you look in the dictionary the definition of Humble has many different meanings. One definition that caught me: marked by meekness or modesty, not arrogant or prideful. I had always thought I was a humble person !
I grew up in a lower income family and lost my dad at sixteen. I worked hard to put myself through college and when I met my husband I swore my child would struggle less than I did, he would not have student loans and wouldn’t know what it’s like to want things we couldn’t afford.
I always worked, at 13 I got a job with the local orthodontist it was he who suggested I pursue a career as a Dental Hygienist. His words were you can be a mom and set your own hours. Immediately following high school, I decided that dental hygiene school was worth a try. I got a job right out of college and after the first year of working full time I remember the joy of booking my first ever caribbean vacation. I have worked full-time for the past 22 years and have been fortunate to travel , we joke our nine year old has more mileage on him than my husband.
Being a workaholic has always been my nature, I returned to work just 10 days after giving birth to my son. I have always been a people pleaser and loved my job as a dental hygienist but I was also embarking on breaking out of the box and taking my career into other areas of the dental world. When I returned to work I moved to a management position in my office and we were starting to make some changes to bring the practice to greater heights.
I was working full-time, being a mom , we had no financial worries and I was happy, most of the time. My stress level was obscene. Although I know I created a lot of my own stress. I mean, I am a bit of a control freak. In my line of work it’s a good thing . My employer knew I would get the job done, she would have less stress and I made good money. My son was able to have whatever he wanted and not necessarily needed. We bought a home, went on vacation , had tangible items , money wasn’t an issue and after many failed secondary fertility attempts realized that we were blessed.
One day about a year ago an old friend and co-worker said to me you are not the same person you were when we worked together years ago. I was confused , baffled and looked at her with a question mark. She looked at me and said you lost who you were, you are not always smiling, your always running , your snide to people and you brag. Stunned I brushed her off and sort of severed ties with her, after all I was the same person or so I thought.
Fast forward to this past winter, After months of stress and being unhappy at work my husband and I decided that as much as I loved what I did it was time to move on. The decision was not an easy one, My salary contributed to the running of the house and our extras. We decided we could make it work, I would work on building my own business and go back to clinical hygiene. Until it all fell into place, our lifestyle would change. Was I ready for it? I don’t think one is ever ready to make life altering choices but I finally realized the stress was going to kill me. I was working hard so my son didn’t have a want or need, but if the stress killed me no one could buy him a new mother.
About three weeks after I left my job I received a call from my friend she wanted to meet for lunch. I was elated to hear from her as I missed our friendship but was to stubborn as was she to reach out prior. She had heard what happened and wanted to make sure I was alright. After having been home for 3 weeks , I had already started to make adjustments to our way of life. After a delightful lunch date, she looked at me and said I see traces of who you used to be . I looked at her and laughed and said I have been Humbled!
I won’t lie that the past 3 months have been a hard adjustment. We live on a budget, my son doesn’t get everything he wants, and I am still looking for work. In the past 22 years I have never had to worry about finances , the past 9 years I have never had to say NO to our son!
This past week we were invited to Delaware with my sister and her family. We had an amazing vacation. Family, Fun, Sun, Sand and lots of laughs. For the first time in weeks I didn’t cry. For the past few months I would cry over money, cry thinking I should have lived with the stress, cry that I am letting my son and husband down. As I sat the last day on the beach I tried to think what besides my feet in the sand could have changed this past week, my concerns were all still there. Then it hit me…
For the first time in 9 years I was actually on vacation. I wasn’t on vacation and on call. I wasn’t checking messages or stopping by the office for mail. I didn’t have to worry which Dr I would call since both were out of town. I didn’t have to worry about payroll getting done, I was on vacation and I didn’t have to carry my phone incase the service called. I didn’t have to worry about anything but spending time with my family! For that I have realized I am Humble and Happy!