Category Archives: Mental Illness

So I did a probably very stupid thing and asked for my performance review to be changed.

I don’t know why I do things that will cause more harm than good, but at this point I know I’m mere days or maybe months away from getting fired and if I can’t remind those in charge about my positive contributions to the organization I really ought to have more than just one foot out the door at the moment.

I fee like absolute shit. Because even though my role has changed, I face the same challenges that had me failing in the last one. Only this time I interact with slightly less people so maybe that’s the point. Keep me in a bubble where I can do what I do best and try to limit any opportunity for growth or engaging with others in the org. It just feels like I’m being pushed out slowly. Maybe that’s the natural method in big companies. I’m used to small ones. They can’t take away my comp outside of firing me, and they can’t fire me without risking legal issues at the moment given I’m fresh off maternity leave, so they just send me ALL the signals and wait… either I take the hint or I wait until a major fuck up or next performance review season (whichever comes first) then I’m out.

I know I ought to just stay quiet and try to be invisible. That’s the smart thing to do. What I did has no real positive outcome, other than letting the big boss know about what I’ve done that’s actually good, since I’m guessing all he saw was that I got a low score and that I’m causing problems on the team and that I probably should be fired ASAP. So my message was more — hey, I agree I’m not a leader, I agree I suck at communication, I agree I’m pretty shitty in a lot of ways, but also here’s a quick list of all the good stuff I’ve done nonetheless. I don’t know. It was probably remarkably dumb like everything dumb I do so maybe not so remarkable for me. Just, typical. I’m sure my former boss is pissed and annoyed, and her side of the story would be she’s not changing the score and she’s going to fire me as soon HR will let her. I’m hoping that’s not until the end of the year if I just get shit done on time and try to communicate to the best of my ability which is never good enough.

Yea this was a dumb move. Maybe. It’s my second bad review in a row so it’s not like I have anything to stand on. She’s probably wishing she fired me last year. I get it. She probably should have. I’m grateful that she didn’t.

I don’t really feel so motivated by this review, though. More hopeless. What do I do to improve? I don’t know. A lobotomy? Perhaps. My general strategy is to stay silent but I seem to be horrible at that. The lobotomy sounds like a good idea. Perhaps complete excising of the brain. What a useless pile of mush.

I don’t yet regret sending this email, but I do regret what led up to getting the bad review. I regret that I’m incapable of consistency even though I’m capable of occasional spurts of fucking awesome work. Which doesn’t matter. People want reliability not sometimes exceptionally awesome. So. Here we go again. Down the drain spinning spinning spinning.

Did I just accelerate this flush? I guess I’ll find out soon.

To the next 23 years.

It’s nice to think I’ll live to 100, but it’s doubtful. I still plan financially for a long life “just in case” but the reality is my health is already headed downward. I can improve my health by exercising and eating healthy (which I am trying to do now slowly as I get back into thing after having a baby) but right now with my newly-diagnosed blood clotting disorder and potentially unrelated headache symptoms that have now gone on for days since getting the second covid shot, I just feel like my body at 37 is already starting to fail. So I’m giving myself 23 years. That’s how long I have until I’m 60. Anything after that, unfortunately, is gravy. I mean, my morbidly-obese cancer-stricken father made it to 67, but 60 seems like a good goal for now.

Twenty three years isn’t long at all. And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what matters to me in this life. I try to avoid thinking about death as I’m terrified of it, even though it’s inevitable, but instead I try to focus on, ok, I’ve got 23 years, or six “four year vesting periods” before I am at high risk for a variety of illnesses, should I even make it that long.

One thing I know for sure — I love being a mom. I do want a third child, but I’m not sure my body can handle it. My plan was/is to do IVF and try to have a girl (*I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this as I think gender is a social construct but it’s also a “real” social construct and a mother and her daughter tend to have a different kind of relationship compared to a mother and her sons), but as of yesterday I’m wondering if I should just let nature do her thing and if I get pregnant again I get pregnant again and if it’s a boy I should be happy with that outcome as three brothers can be nice as well. Going the natural route, as long as I can lose weight quickly, would enable me to get pregnant sooner (if I can) versus waiting to wean and start IVF. With my clotting disorder it seems like IVF may be too risky overall. I need to talk to a doctor about it. If I can’t get pregnant naturally (at 38) then we could always do IVF then, but I don’t have to make that my first option. It’s always possibly baby 3 could end up being a girl by chance, although it just as likely could end up being another boy.

And who knows if my health will allow me to safely get pregnant again anyway.  I need to lose weight, but I’m struggling a lot this time. I don’t feel like I’ve been eating a ton lately yet the scale is stuck at 188-192 and it keeps bouncing back up. I’m avoiding most sugars and have really improved my diet yet here I am. I need under 180 fast to relieve what my weight is doing to my body and then continue to work to get it down much further. If I do get pregnant again, I want to start the pregnancy at or as close to a healthy BMI as possible (which means losing 50lbs!) which given I’m struggling to lose .5lb a week will take, uh, forever. I do remember last baby I didn’t lose a lot of weight until a year in when baby started eating food and breastfeeding less. Then the weight started to come off. And I dropped 10lbs in March last year but that’s because I either had COVID or pandemic-induced anxiety and didn’t eat much in a month and was walking miles a day. I need to start walking that much again and I’d like to be able to lose weight while still eating (healthfully.)

This headache situation is no fun right now though. It’s honestly scaring me. I’m hoping it’s just long-term side effects from the vaccine and will go away soon. It’s been this on and off stabbing pain throughout the left side of my head. I took Excedrin this morning and it transformed into a huge amount of pressure, then my left arm and face felt heavy. I’ve been lying down and feel a little better, but afraid to get up. I’m slightly nauseous. I just want to feel myself again.

The stress of going back to work isn’t helping. I’m trying to refrain from getting stressed as it seems to be a trigger for my recent uptick in medical issues but I just have more and more anxiety by the day. It’s not like my old-time anxiety that I hand somewhat a handle on. I just feel like the weight of the world and so many things is crippling. I’m behind on EVERYTHING. So, gosh, why do I want another kid? Well, the only thing in my life that feels right at the moment is being a mom. And I think I’m a pretty good mom thus far. I can be a pretty good mom to two children but to me family is really everything and there isn’t much of one out here on the west coast so I need to rebuild that. Hopefully I’ll live longer than those 23 years and I can enjoy many years with my children and maybe even their children too. It’s crazy to think how old I’ll be (if I’m still around) when they might have kids. Makes me wish I had my children younger, I just wasn’t thinking about “the other side of it” when putting off having my kids until my mid 30s. I’m glad I had my 20s but it wouldn’t have hurt much to start having kids in my earlier 30s. My dad would have even gotten to meet my firstborn and to this day it kills me that he wasn’t able to meet his grandchild, when I know that would have really made him so happy. And he’ll never know about his second grandson or whoever else might come next. I remain heartbroken.

I want a family. A big-ish one. I want to turn this house into a home somehow. It doesn’t feel like one yet. Or maybe sell this house and buy another place that feels more like a home one day. This place is just a bunch of boxes. Rooms that are all the wrong size and put in an odd layout. I can fix it up but probably never will. The bathroom remodel took a toll with all the decisions. Probably better to sell and move. To the city where I wanted to buy. Though houses go for $1000+ a square foot there, more in the areas we’d want to be. It’s insane. And I don’t see myself moving into a well-paid role… ever again. I can’t handle the pressure. I need something that is more stable and lower stress. For my health. It was fine when it just impacted my mental health but now that it’s putting me at risk for an early death or other issues that could disable me I just want to part in that game. I’m hanging on for dear life for the next eight months to get the last of my stock but after that I’m reevaluating everything. I just want time. The most precious resource of all.

I’m scared, too, that a manic episode will return. I’m so far removed now from the one I had in 2019. My therapist won’t believe me about it, she thinks I’m just depressed. It’s terrifying when you lose control over what you say and do. For the most part the whole time period was quite benign, but I definitely regret some things I said. I don’t know who I was then. I was someone else. It’s sad that I felt GOOD then, like I was entertaining and charismatic and all the things I want to be in my vat of awkwardness. Clearly I wasn’t any of that at the time, but I felt that way. Now I’m on the other end of it, I guess. I don’t even know if I’m depressed. I’m just tired. Tired of chasing after — proving that I can “do this” whatever this is. “Not failing.” Making money. Growing that money. Buying a house. Keeping the house. Being an adult. Supporting a family. I’m grateful for it all and know I don’t deserve any of it. Yet it’s still hard to hold on. I power through the days. I count down the weeks. I watch the clock pass by until it’s night again and I can close my eyes to sleep for 6 hours straight if lucky. And yet I know one day I’ll look back at these moments and miss them too. Isn’t that funny. These are the best days. I want to start feeling like they are.

The Least Qualified Candidate of All

You want to know why the thought of downing one too many pills crosses my mind every time I read job postings? They are just another jarring reminder that I have absolutely no employable skills and I’m pretty much fucked at this point. It feels incredibly lonely to be in this, well, alone. My husband doesn’t seem to get it— he knows I lose my job over and over again but he also sees me somehow pick up with another role and better pay somewhere else. But it won’t happen this time. No, this time I am actually screwed.

If I knew how to gain relevant experience I would leap at the opportunity but I have no idea how to learn things that would actually get me a job. You want to know where I fail?

1. Great communication skills – nah, I suck at communication—both spoken and written. Next.

2. Ability to influence others and work well with many different types of people. No. Everyone pretty much hates me or thinks I’m a joke.

3. Management experience. Being real here — I am overwhelmed managing people because hello – I can’t even manage myself.

4. Data skills – ok so I could learn some data skills, but which ones? And I can’t actually apply them at my job since no one seems to care about my work’s ROI so how do I have an actual story to tell on KPIs and all that?

I just feel so defeated. People think I’m exaggerating but it is that bad. My new role makes no sense. Any other role like this one at another company would require technical skills and pay a lot less. But I can’t get hired in my old role because I was never qualified for it in the first place. I’ve never been qualified for any of the jobs I’ve had since I graduated from college 15 years ago. I don’t know anything useful. I make it all up. I guess sometimes making it up works but not over time and certainly not at companies that have their shit together.

I look at my kids and feel like a complete and utter failure. How can I sustain this? I am crying all the time because I’m scared. Not yet that we will lose the house — I have savings to cover that for a while. But I may lose the tiny bit of sanity that I have left.

I just want to be good at my job. Is that so much to ask? But If my job involves interacting with other humans it doesn’t seem to go all that well.

There are roles out there I think I would enjoy — but I messed up by not being an engineering major 20 years ago, and by not paying attention in math class in second grade. Maybe it’s possible to change careers, but it absolutely feels too late for most of my dreams.

The career I’m interested in that may be possible has starting salaries of about 85k if my lucky. Here that isn’t much. Maybe it would be a path to liking my job eventually? It’s hard to give up on jobs that pay $200k-$300k for one that pays $85k or less but — I need a change. I need a path where maybe in a few years I can feel halfway decent. I need a job where I can work and be promoted, not demoted. But can we make it work on less salary? And even then I’ll be compared to other who are far more talented than I am. Younger and more talented. Who would hire me anyway? The job postings say “clearly nobody.”

So what do I do? Yes I ride this job out a while longer. I go back and save as much as possible. I set aside a large emergency fund. Then what? I want to provide for my family. I also want to sell this $7k a month house and move to the middle of nowhere—but my husband won’t have that conversation until I’ve exhausted all options and likely have ended up in a mental hospital. If he could earn more it would help but then he wouldn’t be able to watch the kids and he would be stressed which would make it all harder too. In many ways I like being the breadwinner and having a husband who can watch the kids and go on vacation whenever makes sense (not that we ever do.) I know I can’t have it all and i do want to work I just want to feel like I’m suited for my career and I’m not constantly falling on my face — but also that I can save for retirement and my kid’s futures with my income. So where does that leave me? Do I just keep pretending… 2 years here, 3 years there… until my working life is over? How long can I really do this for? One more year. If that.

Looking Ahead to What’s Next and Getting Through the What’s Now

I really, really, really want to stay in my job until at least the end of this year. I know it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t make it that far (even a few months into the year and I’ll have earned more than every single prior year of my life with the exception of 2020) — but, BUT… I really want to do this. I want to somehow, in the middle of a pandemic, in the first year as a mom to my second child, while trying to ignore the gnawing sensation of my ego being constantly ripped apart by a boss who has banished me from any semblance of leadership and telling me, flat out, that I will never, ever be a leader, hold on and get through it without any more wounds along the way.

But I’m also–exhausted. Sad. Upset with myself but also at the system that’s just… against working parents and especially new moms. I’ve got too many issues, I guess. If my mental health alone wasn’t enough to destroy my hopes of job stability, then we add in my having children. I don’t regret having children. But it does make it harder. Having to wake up every few hours to feed my child with my own body, well, that makes it harder. And I wish I could have stood up for myself more–but I’m not sure how that would have helped. Does anyone care why I’ve struggled? That’s just more reason to say I’ll never be a leader. So what if I tend to babble more on my worst days? I babble enough on my best ones. I’m not a leader. Not this type of a leader. Maybe not any type. I don’t have that kind of energy. I’m not consistent. I’m a ball of energy that can come in and explode and then need time to pick up the pieces and inflate again.

Maybe there could have been a little more support? I don’t know. On one hand, I’m completely to blame. I don’t expect anyone to hand hold here. On the other, some companies went out of their way to support working parents. To cancel performance reviews for the year. To provide time off and flexible hours. Others, like mine, expected us to just keep up. When I failed to meet a deadline there was no discussion of how I’m doing the best I can in a global pandemic while parenting a toddler and dealing with the exhaustion of pregnancy. I mean, who cares, right? I missed the fucking deadline. That I set. So, that’s on me. All of it’s on me. I shouldn’t have set an unrealistic deadline. And any deadline would have been unrealistic because my anxiety made it impossible to get the work done until I already was late and had failed. I can only do good work when failure is not only imminent, but it’s a sure thing. I can’t blame anyone but myself for that.

I don’t think the work was good anyway. But I guess it wasn’t bad. It seems some people thought it was ok. It doesn’t matter. I’m a never leader. And I cry about this every fucking day. Because she’s right. Because I can’t hold it together.

But my problem isn’t that I’m a never leader. Well, it’s that. But it’s more I can’t be relied on to do anything when anyone else is relying on me. That’s not a leadership issue, that’s an ability to keep a job issue. That’s an issue that has plagued me since I was fired from my first job as an admin assistant to every single job where I found myself too panicked to get work done. Why? I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t feel confident in the quality of my work. It wasn’t perfectionism, it was being embarrassed by how bad I was at my job because I didn’t know what I was doing. Sometimes I put out good work but in the grande scheme of things I never know what the fuck I’m doing. I don’t have the confidence or ability to fake confidence so people lose trust in me. They move on. They aren’t on my side, they’re against it. They say shit about me behind my back. They wonder why I’m still employed. Until I’m not.

This is a problem.

I could have been good at this job, too. I mean, I’m a never leader but at the very least I had some decent ideas, if anyone cared to listen. I had my hands tied. I tried to be collaborative, as I was told I was working in a silo and this was bad. Then I was told I was too collaborative, which is not leadership either.

It’s hard enough trying to navigate all this not as a tired pregnant mom in the middle of a pandemic, you know?

Is this an excuse or reality or a little bit of both? How much harder could I have worked? There was too much spinning and I was spun out. Off to “lead” a function that no one wants to fund properly and I must wait to be told what to do. And even in this role I managed to already mess up in a meeting where my former boss basically was on the verge of firing me at the end of it because I was a babbling mess.

I don’t think it’s this job. I think it’s my inability to do well in any job. So I need to fix that. But how? I have no fucking idea.

Junior level jobs still require you to be good at communication. Get shit done on time. The basic things I am bad at. What I’m good at is strategy and planning. But you don’t get to do a lot of that at the junior level. I just wish I knew what the fuck I was doing. Will I ever? Not when I’m this tired.

I go back to work in 2 months. That’s a world away but then it will be here in the blink of an eye. It all goes so fast. If I’m as tired then as I am now then I don’t know how I will make it. If I’m WFH that’s a good thing as I don’t have to drive half asleep commuting to the office but I do have to keep my eyes open on long zoom calls and try to appear alive when I’m clearly not. At least I’ll be too tired to physically appear jealous or sad or whatever when my work friend who is now in my former job is saying shit in a way that shows just how good someone can be at sounding like a leader as a reminder how I’ll never ever ever be that.

She’s right.

I don’t know what I’m good at. If anything. I just know I’m tired. Tired of constantly walking smack into walls. Tired of living on little sleep. Tired of being tired. Tired of reading articles about how working moms are not supported in society and feeling all righteous and angry for every other working mom out there but then when I turn to myself I feel guilty for absorbing any of that anger against “The Man” for me because I don’t deserve any of that pity or sympathy or empathy or whatever support should come with it, right? Other moms, they deserve to be provided something to get them through this but me? I’m failing for some other reason. My own reason. My own messed up issues that aren’t going away even when the pandemic is long gone and my kids are grown. I can’t ask for help because I don’t know what would help anyway other than maybe a personal cheer squad that tells me my work isn’t shit so I can just get onto the next thing and the next. Is it shit? I don’t know.

And I was on a performance plan a year ago and my boss clearly did that as a safe way to get me out and then I briefly was doing ok and that saved me for a short while and she was all excited that I managed to turn things around until I turned into a pile of shit sandwich on the floor. I feel and about it. I wanted to prove her wrong. Instead, I proved her right.

So I’m sad. And tired. And what’s new?

Wanting a Life That Isn’t About Making It to the Next Vest.

My spreadsheet has some good news — if I can hold out four more vesting periods, I’ll be able to afford taking a job with lower pay for a few years while I sort out a better career path. “All I have to do is just survive until 2022, and then… things will be better. Somehow. Or, at least different.” I think this to myself over and over again as my fast-growing toddler and infant cling to me and I realize that a year from now my infant and toddler will be, well, a year older–a big year of changes and growth that I don’t want to miss. I don’t want to “just survive.”

Then–there’s the fact that I’m almost 40. Fuck. How’d that happen? 40. It is just another year and yet it is–fucking forty. That’s old. No offense to my readers who are 40 or much older. Because there’s nothing wrong with being old. And certainly when you’re 70, 40 seems young. It’s a matter of perspective. But it’s one of those ages that when you’re a kid and when you’re 21 you think is old. Not to be morbid, but random people start to die at 40. Not a lot of people. And it happens before 40. And others live to 110. But you hear things like… just today actor Dustin Diamond died at 44. Cancer. He found out about it 3 weeks ago and just like that, he’s gone.

I don’t think I’ll die in my 40s just because I’m turning 40–but I certainly feel my mortality in a way I didn’t in my 20s or 30s. Time is always finite, but it is–finiter. And being 37 thinking “man, I just want to survive until I’m 39” doesn’t sit right, even if it means I’ll have (maybe) $500k more in my bank account. It’s fine to want to get through the year and do a good job at work to earn my keep and then some, but I’m so so so tired of spending my life waking up every day thinking how do I get to the next X. Friday. Vest date. Year end.

I’ve lost all passion for living. Not that I had a ton, ever. But I used to look forward to things in the short term. I don’t know how to anymore. Occasionally I look up and see my toddler cuddling with my husband and I feel like I’m watching my life as if it were a movie. How cute they look. What a perfect father and son. A little boy who is no longer a little infant who is no longer a combination of DNA in my belly. A little boy who soon will be a big boy and then a man with little time in between to even notice the transformation unless I’m paying close attention. And here I am, waking up each day thinking how I’ll survive to 2022.

I’m not going to change this mentality any time soon. Surviving until 2022 is still a major goal of mine. As I’ve mentioned before many times, it is the winning lottery ticket that I just need to keep in my hands for a short time via quality and on-time work and then the proceeds can significantly impact the stability of my family’s future. I just want to figure out how to stop playing my life like it’s a game and just start living it. But how?

I don’t know if this is depression or if it’s just what happens when you’re an adult who has lost her way. I don’t know if I take some pills to boost my dopamine that I’ll suddenly feel “in” my life again. Like, is this actually chemical? Is this why in periods of mania and/or depression I find myself craving chaos, something that shocks the system and provides a different sense of time. I get that from some healthy things… like starting a new job, for the first few months. Those early wins. The first months where unconscious bias of your hiring manager gives you the benefit of the doubt and tells themself you can do no wrong — after all, they hired you and you must be great. Your work proves them right.  You’re a shining star, picking things up so quickly. Impressively so. Until you’re not. Until everything great is expected of you, and anything less than excellent causes grave concern and achieving success becomes a higher hill to climb each time. The novelty is gone. It’s just another job. And you’re just another employee.

There’s seeking that thrill in work, there’s not finding it there and accidentally chasing it in real life. There’s stepping back and slapping yourself in the face with a big reality check and a reminder that your life isn’t meant to be some crazy adventure. Stability is good. Enjoying the little moments is what it’s all about. There is no plot. No  winning. No game. Well, the only winning is–actual survival. The health of your family. Helping your kids solve challenges. Inspiring them to do so on their own. Changing their many diapers. Getting them ready to face adulthood a little (or a lot) better than you did. Watching them grow. Spending time with your parents and other family members as long as they have left. Talking about meaningless whatevers. Disagreeing and debating for the sake of social entertainment. That’s life. That’s what maters.

Survival is pathetic. It’s basically a form of long-term suicide. Just watching the months and years go by. Experiencing all of it from the outside. Afraid and uncomfortable. Unable to say the right things but somehow perfectly capable of saying all the wrong ones. So you just get through it all. You kick yourself, constantly, for all the things you’ve said wrong. You wish to start over. You run from your past, even if your past was just a few minutes ago. Your life is survival and escape. And you’re so tired of it. You want to be normal. Happy? Maybe. At least just living for the moment instead of trying to get through the moment. It may be a pill is needed to make that possible.  A pill to fill my mind with the chemicals needed to wake the fuck up and fall in love with life before it’s too late. Hopefully there’s plenty of time life. But there’s never enough. So why waste it wishing the days disappear as fast as they appear? No good reason. This has to change. It must.

 

36 Weeks Pregnant and Maybe a Less Depressing Post

Sorry for all the depressing posts lately. I just feel super overwhelmed. I’m looking forward to meeting my new baby. Lots of things are going well in my life. I just wish I could find a way to be happy with what I have. I know I have SO MUCH but nothing feels right, if that makes any sense. I don’t feel settled. This house isn’t helping. It certainly doesn’t feel like home. I probably could make it feel like home with enough purchases and remodeling, but the costs to do that are so high I feel like, why bother until I have, like $5M saved up. Then… maybe I can splurge a bit. Beyond the $75k splurge of remodeling one bathroom and putting in AC and a new electric panel and functional garage door.

Most of all, I just want to figure out the storage situation in this house. Christmas was lovely yesterday, but now my son’s new toys (complete with about 100 new parts) are all over our family room floor. Because we moved from a 1 bedroom apartment we just don’t have that much furniture. I know I can buy IKEA or used stuff, but I want to have “nice things” in my home to make it feel more like a home. Not designer pieces or anything… but sturdy, nicely made cabinets and such. I don’t want to buy crap because I know we’ll keep it forever as we did with our prior broken pieces.

So I’m trying to strategize on what to buy when, but it’s just overwhelming. We do need a kitchen table, so that’s probably first. But there’s also just so much space in this house that is wasted and I want to use it for storage. The hallway, for example, is extra wide, while the bedrooms are small. It seems ripe for putting in some good storage. But then, it will cost a lot…

And I’m really feeling like this isn’t our forever home. Maybe I’ll change my mind on that in a few years, but it’s just boxy and has no character. It works. It’s fine. Our bedroom is in the living room and after spending $1.7M on a house I still feel like I’m living like someone who just graduated from college. I guess that is probably what is bothering me the most. I bought this place because it has potential… but who can afford to make potential what it can be in the Bay Area? Maybe I should have spent more. Or at least bought in the city where I feel at home. Why did I buy here? Well, I was running from things as per usual. It was a bit more affordable as well, but really… I just wanted to move far from my job so I have NO EXCUSES when it comes to looking for something new in a year. I needed. change. Since I was 17 I’ve moved every 4 years or so. Or less. I felt restless. I was going crazy. New city. New everything. Except we happened to move close to some old friends which happened by accident as I’m super confused about the geography of where we live. That’s how little I know about this area.

But then I realized I’m sad I left the place where I want to be. I mean, it’s only a 40 minute drive away. And long term this area may be better for my career. Even though I’m far from certain jobs, there are a number of companies within a 15 minute drive. If I can score a position at one of them then I’ll be able to come home from work and see my kids more often (once I’m back at an office.) That’s really important to me. And the area does seem family friendly. If I can make friends with other families with young kids then that will help too. Right now it’s just impossible with the pandemic. And it’s always impossible with my awkwardness and social anxiety (people who say you just meet people through your kids don’t understand what it’s like to have crippling social anxiety) but at some point maybe I can make some friends and have some kind of a life again. Maybe I’ll end up liking it here.

Or maybe I won’t. I need to focus — eye on the prize. $3M then more.  Get to the point where I can buy furniture for my house and paint the walls a color I like and put in new flooring and revamp the landscaping so it feels like my home, not someone else’s that I’m living in temporarily. Or move. Probably move. It is stupid we didn’t just rent but — it’s ALSO good to have this home as a test run. We’re learning a lot about home ownership and what we want to buy. Unfortunately it took buying a home to do this, but we’re ready to be smart homebuyers now! Hopefully if we sell we won’t lose too much. I’m expecting to lose about $100k on this house if we sell in 3 years, which is pretty crappy but it is the price of figuring out what we want and what matters most. If I can keep earning and growing my net worth it will be ok. Sucky, but ok. And I think it will actually be fun to shop for a HOME when the pandemic is over and our oldest son is old enough to come with us and help us pick out a place. Who knows what the market will be like then, but if it’s up then my house will be worth more to sell and if it’s down then houses where I want to buy will be more affordable, maybe.

I also had a pretty major realization yesterday morning in my half-waking moments about my career path. I figured out something I could do and actually even be VP of where I probably could thrive. I was thinking about all the things I’ve done in the past few years that were successful and a light bulb went off. I really need a job where I can have a team and where I run strategy and don’t get in the weeds on the projects. The opposite of my job now! But, the good news is that my new role, while super in the weeds, is really forcing me to learn how to project manage and time manage in a way I haven’t before. My boss is REALLY good at this stuff, and I’m learning a lot from him. So I’m feeling pretty confident about landing a role that is a much better fit in a year when I start looking. This year will still be rough (and I have to get my shit together and be ON TOP of things) but I think I can do it. I need to completely ignore the stock vesting because it gives me so much anxiety to think about this lotto ticket I’m holding on to for dear life (I mean, when else in my life will I be looking at a year where it’s possible I will make $1M — or anything close to that?) Can you blame me for feeling anxious and distracted? I guess that would motivate some people. For me all I can think about is how if I fuck up I’m throwing away SO MUCH MONEY and all I have to do is NOT BE A TOTAL FUCK UP right now.

Easier said than done looking ahead at a year with a toddler and a newborn. But I’ve got a path to making it work. A year ago, being put on a PIP by my boss and basically being slowly pushed out the door, I fought for my right to stay. With nothing to lose (because I figured I was getting fired anyway) I suddenly could focus on my work. I just need that energy again. And to ignore the potential earning. It helps to think about how many people I work with are likely earning a lot more than I am (which is crazy) due to being in more senior roles or negotiating better or just joining even earlier. It is just insane. Especially in the world we live in right now where so many people are struggling and then there’s our little tech bubble where stock prices are going up and up and up. It’s bizarre. I am both grateful and terrified, and horrified.

Anyway, I’m enjoying watching the sunrise out of my window. This doesn’t feel like home but it’s still a nice place to be for now. Maybe it will grow on me. Or maybe I will grow on me and figure out a way to earn more and have a stable career so we can move back where I really want to be. I just need to figure out how to chill out and be happy with what we have for now. And enjoy the next weeks of being a mom of one and the many ahead of being a mom of two. Because life is happening whether I like it or not. And I’m tired of wasting it feeling like a complete failure and mental basket case. I’m at least not manic right now. The more that I think about it the more I realize that I am super bipolar and that makes me sad too. Because I need to deal with that at some point. Or at least figure out how to not let my moods change my personality and make me do stupid things. I mean, thank G-d I didn’t do anything too stupid, but it could have easily gone past embarrassing myself in a number of cases to total self destruction. I am still sitting here thinking WTF happened in 2019 and who was I?  And how do I avoid that happening again in the future? I know it wasn’t a one time thing. I’ve had phases of life where I’ve been more manic. Like this engine was running. Like I was just alive and connecting with others and it felt good at the time. But then… that’s fantasy world. That’s insanity. I’m glad I’m not there now. I want to erase all of it. But I also realize that whatever this is – this depression–is just as “not real” and one day I’ll come out of it, I guess. I’ll look back and wonder why I was so sad and hopeless.

It’s safer here though. The depression is a much safer place to be. I know who I am here. I maybe am hyper sensitive and irritable but I at least feel like I’m grounded in logic. Whereas mania is different. It’s… it’s taking the things I feel and think that I know are absolutely ridiculous and making them seem possible. Sometimes that is good, I guess. One can be extremely creative and productive in those periods. But then it feels like anything that isn’t attached to that heightened existence is numbing. It’s a drug and you need more of it. Like you’re always on the verge of some incredible release that can only be achieved by ripping yourself apart or being a character in a story that isn’t meant for real life. And then, I guess, at some point, you snap out of it. You come back to earth. You think — oh my god — what did I say? Who was I then? How can I look my friends and family in the eye again, if they happened to be involved in any of this craziness? You fall into this deep depression out of being embarrassed and ashamed. You wonder if/when you’ll be that person again. You try to explain this to your therapist but she doesn’t understand exactly. Or you don’t really tell her because you are that ashamed of it. You don’t really want the diagnosis. Depression is ok. It’s kind of quaint. It’s ok to hate yourself too much. But is it ok to love yourself too much? Not that loving oneself is really what mania is… it’s also a form of self hatred. But in my case, it’s just wanting to be loved with such intensity, to find some kind of outer worldly connection to something. The opposite of numb. The opposite of aging and adulting and absoluting. I see why it’s so compelling. And I am so scared of falling back into it.

So for now, I am better off in this sad space. It’s safe. It’s not crazy. I still can find little moments of happiness here. I hope this is where I stay through the next year at least. So I can push through this last year of vesting and reevaluate everything when I’m close to $3M net worth. It is one year. I need to hold my breath, not do anything else stupid, and get through it. I’m going to do it.

Oh, and I bought a Roomba.

Suicide Via Actual Adulthood

I decided I don’t want to die. That is, I don’t want to suffer some horrible too-soon death caused by some sort of self-inflicted attempt to put an end to awareness. I have not interest in dying if I can avoid it. However, I very much would like to disappear—and not literally either.

I’m just so tired of my mind. I’m tired of caring about things or wishing things were a certain way and always being disappointed. I’m tired of wanting anything. It gets me no where. My husband is constantly upset at me because I’m selfish and complain too much. It doesn’t actually get me anything other than a pissed off husband. So i decided in 2021, I want to kill myself—with no death involved. Hear me out.

This will be a positive in my personal and professional life. The second I stop allowing my ego to control my emotions and put 100% of my attention on making other’s happy (or at least not not happy) then people will like me more. If I have no specific goals or wants outside of supporting my family and colleagues, then I won’t be disappointed.

I am not a good person or a mentally healthy one. But I don’t have to be a bad person. I can control my emotions by accepting I do not exist for my own satisfaction. I do not need to feel like I “fit in” anywhere because I never will. It’s impossible. Yes, I’m lonely alone and lonelier around everyone else. I don’t know what to say or do or how to act around others. If I drink (when not pregnant) it gets ugly even though at the time I feel like I’m actually engaging with others successfully until I sober up and realize whatever I said was the opposite of a social success.

This is not a self pity woe is me post. This is acceptance. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to take myself out of the equation. So what if I’m not thrilled with the house we bought. It’s our house now so I should accept that and not dwell on its imperfections. I think gratitude is important as well, but you don’t even need to be grateful if you remove your ego from your life. Or, you don’t allow anyone else to see it. You fade into your skin and smile and nod and try to be that person who everyone just likes for no particular reason. You are so reliable and punctual and just have such a good, stable attitude. You aren’t funny or anything special, but you are consistent. You can keep your house clean and stick to a routine and eat healthy and exercise every day. You don’t lose your job every 1-4 years. You take credit for nothing because you exist to keep things moving forward without any recognition or reward. That is, the reward is never being disappointed because you never want anything at all. And you simplify everything so you don’t lose things or break things that have any significance. As long as your family is healthy then that is all that matters. That is the best way to be.

So as I look ahead to 2021, I’m saying goodbye. Goodbye from the person I was and hello from the person I desperately need to become. I think it’s possible. And necessary.  Because I have no ability to be happy without being special somehow, which isn’t healthy. Instead, I need to accept that being like everyone else is victory. It will lead to a much better life.

 

 

Moving Week. So Long Apartment. Hello House of Holes. (This isn’t a post about porn.)

Sorry to disappoint, but House of Holes is not the title of the new porno I’m staring in–it’s what the house I’m moving into looks like at the moment.

Despite our hopes to have all construction work done before moving in and before having a baby, in actuality we’re moving into a house with a circuit busted, holes just about everywhere (my favorite is the giant dark gaping hole… into the crawl space of doom where the furnace used to be) and my electric panel to replace the one that apparently self combusts without notice is going to make it in sometime around the second week of January, despite contracting for it back in mid November. Oh, and my bathroom is, well, it looks like the early stages of a home remodeling show at the second. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t take 30 minutes to transform from drab to fab.

My biggest concern about all the work still needing to be done is not the holes or lack of lighting. It’s that now we have to live in a house with people coming in and out in the height of the pandemic. We are setting it up so our bed will be in the living room on one end of the house away from most of the construction and hoping between that and going out on the days people are doing work, we can avoid getting sick.

Speaking of getting sick, my husband’s grandmother, age 96, caught COVID at her nursing home this week. The window visit to see her yesterday was scary and surreal. So far she’s doing “ok” in the sense that she was moved to a larger nursing home and is sitting up and communicating, but she got a positive diagnosis just 4 days ago (her entire group home got sick – ugh!) so at this point, who knows. I thought the window visit would be regulated somehow… I mean, it was probably fine, but after nearly a year of being so careful to avoid humans who might have COVID, it felt strange to walk a path around the nursing home past windows (hopefully all closed) with my husband and son (wearing our masks of course) to a window in the back that they opened for the visit. She sat 6 feet away, supposedly. She seemed happy to see us and my son. We haven’t seen her in nearly a year. The group home where she was went into complete lock down in March, or so we were told. I can’t even imagine what the last months were like for her. We’re not close or anything (she doesn’t talk much and is quite introverted) but still… what a sad life–already a sad life being a widow in your 90s stuck in a small house waiting to die. And then corona comes along and you can’t even see your family. Horrible.

She is 96 which is pretty incredible and I’ve read people over 95 tend to actually fare better with COVID because they have really good genes, so we’re hopeful. We, of course, don’t want to lose great grandma, and certainly not to COVID, but on top of all this–when my husband’s grandmother does pass away, it will set off a domino effect of logistical nightmare for my husband and his mother, as his mother lives in her mother’s house which is filled with half a century or more of thrift store hoarder heaven. Undoubtedly the brother who is managing his mother’s care will be quick to want to sell the house, which means it will need to be emptied and we will need to find a place for my husband’s mother to live. That alone will be a huge stress and mess whenever it happens. If it happens to happen the week my second child is born (which would be perfectly on schedule for my curse, by the way–my grandma died 4 days after my wedding, dad died 7 days after my first son was. born) then, well, it’s going to be what it is but I know my husband, faced with the reality of this situation happening now is having a heart attack every few minutes at the moment, besides being devastated that his grandma caught COVID just weeks before a vaccine availability for people her age.

I was not feeling optimistic about her situation until seeing her yesterday, and now feel a bit more hopeful. We talked to a guy who works at the nursing home (he was wearing a mask and we were outside but he got close to us to take our temperature which I found kind of crazy as if WE had COVID we weren’t going to give it to anyone during a visit where we stood outside, and HE was clearly around COVID patients all day and got, you know, within 3 feet of us to take our forehead temps. I held my breath when he took it but of course my 2 year old son did not know how to do that (he was wearing a mask, but I’m not sure how effective masks are when you’re that close.) So I’m feeling more optimistic about my husband’s grandmother recovering from Coronavirus and less optimistic of me not having Coronavirus when I go into labor. Even if I didn’t go to visit her, my husband was going, and he wanted to take our son, and it was outside (and his grandmother was sitting inside 6 feet away and we were all wearing masks), but I just feel uneasy about that whole situation. California is going to shit when it comes to our Coronavirus numbers, but in this case we chose to go near a facility with known patients. In my 35th week of pregnancy. With a husband who has high blood pressure. And a 2 year old who would probably be fine if he caught Corona unless he had a horrible reaction to it, but who knows what it does to kids over the long term?

So that just adds another layer to everything right now, everything which has so many layers I’m just letting them build up at this point and not attempting to peal them. I can’t. It’s too much. Even my upcoming performance review (which was now moved to January since I’ve opted to work a bit longer after finding out how much money I’ll be losing if I take off the extra 2-3 weeks before my delivery date) is barely registering with me, despite the occasional mental loop about how my boss and my former boss with (possibly) cautiously tell me about my demotion and how I’ll never be a leader and carefully document all of my mistakes last year so they can throw me out as soon as I get back to work after maternity leave and pass whatever HR qualified period is required to not fire a woman who just had a baby. Of course, I’ll do what it takes to be GREAT for as long as I can when I get back (which is difficult when you just had a baby and do not sleep–my first PIP came a week after I got back from maternity leave and I was losing my mind, so who knows what will happen this time.) I don’t know. I have a lot of money on the line right now. And I feel like my new role is actually good for me in that I can get the work done to an acceptable level. Maybe that’s what my former boss is thinking too. She is actually a nice person and seems to like me enough and she knows how much $ I have on the line and if she wanted to she could have fired me last year (I gave her quite the runway between the PIP and announcing that I’m pregnant so she didn’t have to feel like she was stuck with me) and she decided to keep me, or decided to not make it a priority to get rid of me at the time. Because I did do some good work. She even said so. I was doing really well the first half of the year. Then I had 3 bad months. Then I was demoted and told I’ll never be a leader.

Anyway, maybe it’s true. Or maybe I’m just going through a lot in my personal life right now and it’s not the time to lead. I just wish I could have a job where I didn’t have to constantly worry about getting fired. Layoffs happen and can’t be avoided, but I don’t want my performance to ever be part of the equation. I look at my friend who is just so confident and always gets his work done, despite his work not being too complex yet, and how that led to his promotion into my former role. Now, said friend is seemingly really good at strategy for this specific position, and he deserves to move up in his career and have a shot at running the show. Still, I’m unclear how the work I’ve done (and what I’ve put out) is so horrible over what he might do. People just have a negative perception of me because I’m a bad project manager, but all of my contributions have been solid as far as I know. I just missed a few deadlines (which for the most part didn’t even push out project launches, just internal deadlines that were set too aggressively in the first place.)

Where I really failed was in not focusing on a strategy that tied to my boss’s plans close enough. But even that was pretty difficult to do as those plans changed and there was no strategic guidance. So I came up with a plan based on whatever it was I picked up on working remote from the various teams and people seemed happy with it at the time. I tried to execute on that plan and I did execute on it, but not in the way I should have. I should have made things simple, delegated work to lots of people, and lead in making other people do things so things got done and everyone was aligned and excited and motivated and everyone was like, damn gurrrrlll, you are the best leader ever. Instead I came up with a plan (collaboratively, mind you) and then tried to get the work done by reaching out to people across the organization vs mostly on my team. Stuff was pretty complicated and I wanted to make sure I put out things that were accurate so it took me too long. I set unrealistic deadlines, but for me deadlines are always unrealistic because I have a mental flaw where I can’t actually focus on work until the last minute, and then somehow the brain block opens and suddenly I am doing work that would take someone 2 weeks in one night. And no one knows the difference. Except when I’m so anxious about the situation that I can’t even get that one night. Or a bunch of people review the work and change their minds after they told me one thing, so I have to change it again. And I don’t know how to say “this is done” because I want to make everyone happy.

Anyway, wasn’t this a house about those dark holes in my house? The point was, I’m just not super focused on my job situation right now in that I have little time to dwell on it outside of hoping that whatever this review is, I’m given some sort of opportunity to take the rest of the next year to do my new job and am not given an actual demotion yet. Even if my title drops to the next tier, if I can keep the same pay and vesting schedule I would lose out only on a percentage of my bonus next year. Which would be sad but not the end of the world. I don’t know if they can take back any stock grants at this point, even with a demotion, so hopefully I can hold on to that.

Maybe after I’ve moved to my new house, set up an actual office (vs working for the past year FROM MY BED in my ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT) and have gotten past the first few sleepless months of having a baby, I can actually do a decent job. Decent meaning I unlock the mystery of making plans for a project that everyone is aligned with, from starting ideation to launch and beyond, and every single project I manage is so perfectly executed that no one can say a  negative word about me. There is absolutely nothing I can do to move up in this organization again, but that is not my goal. I have 15 months of survival, and then I can evaluate where I’m at. In 15 months, I hope to have this job, a healthy baby (in addition to my healthy toddler), a healthy husband, a vaccinated family, a house that hasn’t burnt down (and hopefully is free of holes outside of the purposeful ones in the plumbing and entryways), and then I can stop and figure out the rest of life. Do we stay a few more years? Do we move? Do I get a new job? Do I keep this one if I’m actually good at it (despite no room for advancement?) I can figure that all out then. Right now, this is a month-by-month, week-by-week, day-by-day survival game.

The current level involves figuring out how to hire a GOOD handyman to fill in the 3×3 hole into the vortex of doom in my closet (not to mention a matching portal into the attic), and how to fix the electric circuit that my bathroom remodelers say they didn’t break (they probably did but they claim the HVAC people did this, despite us knowing it was working the night of the HVAC work being complete), and all the other things that will undoubtedly go wrong once we move in. I’m trying to just embrace this all as the sitcom of my life, because when you just accept that you’re living in a comedy, even the most tragic can be spun up with hilarity to get you through it. I’ve found no amount of money can protect you from the chaos that is life. Or maybe, with some ridiculous amount you can cushion yourself from it a bit (at some point you can have an electrician living with you in your contractor’s quarters) but generally speaking, life is shit for everyone. It’s good it is, I guess. It’s more shit for some people but everyone suffers at some point, $100M in the bank or not. So I embrace my varying levels of suffering, from my first world problems of a hole-ly house to those that are a bit more substantially shitty, such as when my father died a week after my son was born in a rehab facility that I’m still convinced was negligent/not where he should have been in his condition.

Right now, I don’t know how many more bad things I can take. Birth is scary as fuck and so many things can go wrong. We don’t hear about them because we’re told as long as mom and baby are healthy/alive, then things went well. That’s not really true. Lots of things can go wrong and mom/baby survive. My first birth was not horrific compared to ones I’ve read about since having my son (you know, compared to woman who had emergency C sections where the numbing meds didn’t work AND THEY FELT EVERYTHING) or those who hemorrhaged and blacked out after giving birth and aren’t sure how they’re alive) so I’m a bit terrified of what could happen… but for the most part births are pretty standard and women have their babies come out one way or another and either way is fairly safe and babies don’t typically come out not breathing and have to go to the NICU like my son and even if they do they eventually adapt to the world and thrive like my son is doing now.

But it’s hard not to worry, especially 5 weeks (or much less) until I do this all over again. I’m both oddly looking forward to it (a redemption birth, a glorious smooth birth where baby comes out and is placed on my chest and crawls to my breast and latches with no problem and we just have that beautiful, peaceful moment I hear so much about) and terrified out of my mind about all the things that could go wrong. And then just thinking through the logistics of how to make sure my son is safe while we go to the hospital… we have somewhat of a plan but it isn’t perfect. If I’m induced, it would be a bit more controlled (pick up my MIL, bring her to our house, set her and my son up for a few days of safe living) but if I go into spontaneous labor (which is the hope) then it will look more like driving 30 minutes to the hospital while I’m screaming in pain, dropping me off, either picking her up after and driving her back to my house (another 45 minutes) then driving back to the hospital and parking (another 45 minutes) until my husband gets back to be with me (leaving me alone for a good 2 hours+ while in active labor) or he drops my son off at her house which is fine for a day but not safe for an overnight, which is going to happen if it seems like I’m about to pop (I think that’s more realistic… we book it up to her house, drop my son off and continue on to the hospital together. It would be about 45 minutes from home to the hospital at that point, with the stop.) Then once I’m in recovery and given the all clear, my husband can head out and drive my son and his mother to our house, and then at some point come back to be with me and baby at the hospital. Or if I’m doing exceptionally well he can stay home with my son and his mom and get some rest while I manage baby at the hospital overnight, and then get picked up to go home in a day or two and come home to a husband who isn’t out-of-his-mind exhausted (this may be the best scenario.)

I can’t believe it’s five weeks away (and there is a chance my doctor won’t let me go beyond 39 weeks which, good ol math tells us is FOUR weeks away.) FOUR WEEKS until I knock on wood have ANOTHER kid. Life is so strange. I have definitely adjusted to being mom to one. My son is awesome.  I don’t see him as a little kid. I mean, I do in that he’s just innocent and honest and has those moments of pure joy that only someone without a grasp on the hours of the world can have. But he’s also just this little person with his own ideas and opinions and needs. And I love him to pieces…

And I don’t know how I’m going to love another kid but I’m told you just do. I think I can. I’m crazy and want 3 kids. I feel like at the end of the day, what matters to me most is family. I grew up with such a big extended family and now it’s really just us. My husband has some cousins nearby with older kids, but we don’t see them often (even pre COVID.) I wish I could be more social with them but they’re just rather adult and normal and I don’t know how to connect with adult and normal people. I mean now we can talk about kids, which is something to talk about, but I just feel like a teenager around them and they’re all such grown ups. I may be 37 but I get along with people who are mentally 16, which is the problem. They are super nice, but if I went to dinner or drinks alone with them (esp the two women who are in their early 40s who are both super nice but just superrrr normal) it would just be awkward. Not that I really connect with my extended family, but they’re at least east coast types who have big personalities and I feel a bit more comfortable around them. Anyway, I want to build my own family. And I can… I have. And to me, 2 kids is great and 3 is even better. Sure, there’s no guarantee my future kids will not be little demons but… I don’t know… my heart wants a fairly big family. Not huge. But 3 seems like the right number. It always has to me. I’ll get through #2 and see if I still feel this way. I’ll be 38 before I can start trying for #3, and I’m throwing around the idea of doing IVF both to minimize risk of defects at that age and also sex selection. Which is horrible in my politically correct mind where one should not care about the sex of their children but then I also really want to have a girl and I think I’d be sad if I didn’t at least try to make that happen. IVF will be expensive, so I’m saving up for it, but at 38/39 even if I didn’t want to do it for sex selection I still might need it. So that’s possibly in my future. But for now, I want to have a healthy birth and a healthy baby and get to know my new kiddo.

My heart is so ready to see my son meet his sibling. He’s 2.5 years old and seems to sort of get that a baby is coming. He knows I’m growing a baby and we watch YouTube videos of funny babies so he understands what a baby is. I tell him baby is coming in January and he says “NO! FEBRUARY!” and he often points to my stomach and says “BABY!!” I hope he does well with all the change coming up… the move next week (we’ve been bringing him to the house often and he definitely is comfortable being there, but I don’t know how he’ll feel when we no longer can come back to the apartment) and then they’ll be a new kid living with us! But in February grandpa will be moving in and that will be great for him since grandpa is his best friend. Grandpa has a fall and hasn’t been to the doctor as he apparently didn’t enroll in Medicare Part B (eventually I’ll write another post re: my learnings of Medicare’s insanity) and he also wants to avoid doctor due to COVID concerns (which I understand) so grandpa who is living with us to help with our son when we have our new baby will be less able to help and also prevent us from hiring help until vaccines come out since we can’t risk exposing him to the virus, so there’s that. At least grandma loves to watch our son as well and she never uses her time off so she can spend some time with us and  our son too, even if she doesn’t live with us. It will all work somehow. I don’t know how people do this without any help. I just want us all to survive.

I’m so ready for 2021. And filling the holes in my house and those in my heart opened during my last birth. It’s been a rough 2.5 years. Through all of it, I’ve held down a job, increased by net worth substantially, and have set my family up for a clear path to $2.5M in net worth by the end of 2021 or early 2022. We should clear $2M in the next week, once the rest of my stock vests, even after all the taxes I owe for this year. I don’t know how that doesn’t feel like an accomplishment… not long ago I was looking at $1M like… that’s never going to happen, and here we are, $2M with 1.5 kids and a mortgage and so many crawl space and attic entrances!

Things are really good, despite being also not so good. I want to see my mom again soon (even though she’s a narcissist, I still miss her), and I want to see my sister and my extended family and I want life to go back to normal. I want my husband’s grandmother to kick COVID’s ass (this woman will live to 110) and I want to have one of those childbirths that starts with contractions at home and ends with a birth at the hospital where baby comes out screaming in a good way. I can’t plan for 5 years from now or 3 years from now at this point. It is now until April 1, 2022. That is all that matters. We get through this, I keep my job, we don’t get sick, we pay our mortgage on time, we fill those house holes (maybe with the play doh we’re giving our son for Christmas), and we learn how to be adults. Maybe we too can become normal adults and I can go to dinner with my husband’s cousins (or invite them over) and discuss such things as my son’s school and how to maintain a backyard and house hole filing. Or whatever normal adults talk about.

What’s clear is that this now is life and I’m going to live it the best I can. Accept the holes as part of what makes it interesting. And survive until April 1, 2022, with 15 months of potential life-changing net worth growth ahead, I’m in such a good place to set my family up for many years of relative stability (even if we stay in a HCOL area), and for once I feel really good about making it. Not forever. But 15 months. I got this. Maybe even the holes will be filled in by then.

Will I Ever Be Good at Anything

Rough day. Husband is (rightfully) mad at me because I took a work call in our bedroom which is also his office which is also where he is currently running a massive virtual conference and apparently my voice picked up on the recording so everyone could hear me. So he is pissed. I should have done my call from the kitchen but my son was screaming in the background and I hate taking video calls from the bathroom in case the virtual background fades out at any point. I should have asked my mother in law to watch my son today but I had a bunch of meetings that popped up in the morning and I didn’t want to drive my son the 30 minutes to her house. I thought I could handle it. I couldn’t.

The juxtaposition between he feeling of seeing my total annual income to date in my paycheck account to the feeling of utter worthlessness is jarring. This time of year is always hard for me. I don’t do well with the way the air smells. My sore lungs and sheer exhaustion. I’m trying to hold on at work to just not get fired before I go on maternity leave. I’m trying and failing to stop caring about my demotion, my billionth reality check of being not smart enough or personable enough to thrive in a professional environment. I’m trying to manage contractors for the new house and have no idea what I’m doing or if I’m making wise decisions. Every decision to me is like having a tooth pulled without Novocain. And I’m 30 weeks pregnant.

My apartment is a mess. I don’t want to live like this. I tell myself when we move to the new house I’ll somehow keep things organized. I will keep the kitchen floor free of crumbs. I’ll cook healthy food so my toddler doesn’t eat crap all day. I will simply and figure it all out.

Yea, right. I’m hopeless. I can’t hire help right now because of COVID risk. Even last time when I had a baby I hired 6 months of monthly home cleaning services. Husband won’t allow that now. It’s good I’ll save money but I don’t know how to keep things from falling apart. I’m falling apart.

I really wish I wasn’t such a train wreck of a human. I mean, for being such a train wreck I’ve at least managed to save a decent amount so my family is in an ok position. Not a perfect one. But I’ve fought for this financial security. I’ll keep fighting. I am just tired of messing up constantly. Of not fitting in. Of trying to fake it but clearly failing over and over and over and over again. It’s so tiring. At least earning money and increasing my net worth makes me feel like I add some value to the world. I have a reason for existing that is positive that negates some my destructive behavior. It doesn’t feel like much. But it’s something.

I like being a mom. I wish I was better at it. That I had more energy to play with my son. I worry about the moment he realizes what crying means and he notices how sad I am. I want to hide that from him, but it’s hard to hide how lost I am. I just have to hold on and hold it all in.

The only thing I can think is that my best path forward, which I’ve been trying to do, is to disappear as much as possible. It seems things go best when I try to function as a robot and not  as a person who is overly sensitive and incapable of existing in the world. It takes so much energy to do that, if I just minimize myself it works sometime. I make a routine that is very strict and follow it. Like now on Saturday mornings I tend to clean up my son’s room and the kitchen. I need more steps like that. At home and at work. If I can just give up on this idea that I can ever be happy or proud of my work and instead really switch my mindset to focus on being liked and getting things done and having no personality I can probably be in a much better place. This really is the ultimate solution. I waste so much time lost inside my fears and anxieties and it doesn’t seem to help at all. I need to let go of chasing anything and just let it happen while not letting things fall into chaos.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’m really overwhelmed right now and it doesn’t help that I’m a horrible wife, mother, employee, everything. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. Maybe I can change. I don’t know how to. I feel sorry for my husband. Sorry for my bosses who have to put up with me and eventually fire me. Anyone who expects anything out of me.

I’m tired. So fucking tired.

We Got the Keys! And 10 Other Happy Things.

It’s time for a positivity roundup.

  1. A Home of Our Own: Yesterday, we got the keys to our house. We met our realtor after a month-long seller rent back, and she handed they keys over, and we finally were able to say goodbye to her and stay in the ouse on our own for a while without masks. It didn’t really feel likes ours yet, but it was / is ours. And even though it’s not perfect, it IS a perfect *cough*1.6M*cough* starter home. I really like the neighborhood and standing outside and watching families in houses a few blocks down and thinking about how one day my kids will have friends in the neighborhood made my heart all warm and fuzzy.
  2. Family Connections: My father-in-law, who is in his late 70s, loves spending time with my son and is helping us out a lot with him now through a very busy work period for my husband and myself. While not having to spend on childcare is very much an added bonus, it also is so great that my kid gets to bond with one set of grandparents. I hope my next kid also gets to bond with grandpa as well–and next kid should because grandpa will be living with us!
  3. Presidential Hope: While this election is a train wreck fueled by a president who thinks democracy = not counting all legally cast votes, it looks like Biden might win by winning GA and PA, even if AZ falls back to Trump. The loss of the senate is a shame, as it will give Biden little power to do much of anything, but at the very least we’ll have an adult in office again–which is really fucking important through a global pandemic. I don’t care what side of the donkey-elephant fence you’re on, having a commander-in-chief who throws temper tantrums daily on twitter and who hob nobs with dictators and makes enemies out of our top global allies will be pretty great. Knock on wood, he takes GA and PA and after realizing you can’t actually throw out legally-cast votes, he concedes and GTFO of the WH.
  4. So Far: A Healthy Baby. My pregnancy has gone relatively smoothly (knock on wood.) Sure, it’s 2am and I’m always awake these days at 2am with some sort of allergic reaction to my apartment, wide awake. But I’m healthy, I’ve made it to nearly 29 weeks now, and even if I have my baby right now its chances of survival are above 90 percent.
  5. Stocking it Up. I hit the RSU lotto at work. After years of working for startups and getting “stock options” which ultimately resulted in no value (or loss of value since one has to actually buy them when leaving the company in order to keep them), I finally was able to get hired at a fast-growth public company at just the right time for my initial stock grant to grow about 10x. While I vested a bunch before it hit this milestone (and sold along the way), I still have made a good chunk of change. If I can bite my tongue and hold out for 13 more months, I should make another 350k after tax at a minimum, not counting any saving from income/bonus/etc. This is pretty amazing in terms of a bump in my journey to FatFIRE. And it could be closer to 600k, depending on how the markets do.
  6. Career Path Fun: While my new role at work (that I had no say in) is a little scary from the long-term perspective (it will be hard to get a similar job that pays anywhere near as well at another company, which means I will need to pick up some new skills over the next year then quickly move on to maintain any sort of reasonable salary growth (and non shrinkage), I have to say my current position is kind of, well, fun. It’s not easy by any means, and I have a lot to learn, but I get to focus on one area and might actually be able to do a good job for a while. It also feels like a position I can do when I return from maternity leave without constantly feeling like I’m about to fail and be fired, so that’s good.
  7. Husband is Still Husband: I married the sweetest guy in the world and he hasn’t changed. Sure, our marriage isn’t perfect, but at the end of the day I get butterflies around hubby because he is just such a good, kind, and gentle person. He reminds me of the type of person I aspire to be. I know it’s easy to take one’s spouse for granted, and I need to put more work into my marriage esp when I have the energy to. do that again, but I’m so lucky to have found a really really good partner.
  8. Not Dead from Corona Yet: As far as I know, I haven’t had COVID yet, and no one in my family or friends circle has had it. I’m terrified and sad about the loss of certain freedoms and socialization, but the COVID world has also done some wonderful things for me. I’ve realized just how much my social anxiety negatively impacted my life by seeing what life is like when I don’t have to interact with people outside of my immediate family. I do miss friends, but I don’t miss the horrible anxiety that goes into every moment I spend time with other people, especially at work.
  9. Net Worth Growth Overall: my after tax, don’t have to touch it until I retire family net worth is about 1M. Although that isn’t enough to retire on today or for a while, it is more than most people have at my age–or any age. At my current savings rates, the next few years should be very interesting in terms of setting my middle-aged years for a lower-stress life (no more constantly worrying about what happens if I lose my job!)
  10. This Blog, and My Readers: I still get giddy when people leave me comments on here–while there’s the occasional troll, for the most part people leave incredibly helpful and thoughtful comments which help me advance and grow in many areas. I’ve been writing on this blog now for (gasp) over 15 years and it has really helped guide me towards my north start of being financially responsible and at a very good financial place going into my (gasp) late 30s. Because of that, I don’t feel that scared about bringing a second kid into the world, and a third child (something I’ve always wanted despite coming from a family of 2 and being married to an only child) is definitely still a potential reality if my body will cooperate at 39. It also may not happen, and I’m also very happy with a family of 2 kids, and I just can’t wait for my toddler can meet his little sibling and to watch them grow together, especially after this past year of my son not being able to socialize with other kids at all. It is the absolute cutest thing when he points to my belly and goes “baby growing!” I’m not sure exactly what he thinks about it, but I tell him baby is going to come live with us soon, and he seems to get it at least somewhat. So many precious memories ahead if I can just get through childbirth safely without any additional trauma (atheist g-d willing.) I am feeling really good about this upcoming birth, despite the state of everything.

So there you go, 10 things I’m super grateful for and happy about. I rarely talk about them here because I come here to complain or talk about my frustrations and concerns around all things money related, but there is a lot to celebrate here heading into 2021. By the end of 2021, my net worth should have a significant increase, I should have a healthy baby that is approaching 1 years old (and preparing my body in the healthiest way possible to conceive my third and final kiddo), and maybe even feeling at home in the house we bought. Maybe life is going better than I ever imagined it could be and I just don’t know how to handle being so damn #blessed. Yes, I said it. I hash tagged it. But it’s true. I am grateful. I have some guilt for my privilege that led me here, but it certainly wasn’t easy. I have to fight the good fight every day to not let my mental health challenges get the best of me. And, despite a few breakdowns here and there, and a few manic periods I’d really like to forget, I seem to be doing it–surviving… and thriving even. I should try to celebrate all this good while it lasts. I know nothing good lasts forever. But right now, all signs point to–hey life isn’t that bad. It’s ok. It’s good. As good as life can be after losing a parent and never being able to go back to before all that. It’s just good for what it is. For where I am. And I hope next year continues on this trend line. Maybe soon I’ll remember what it feels like to be happy again.