Restless at 3 Years

19 Jul

I have come to find a pattern in myself, and also in that of a few of my colleagues.  I develop a deep seated sense of restlessness when I near the 3 year marker in any professional trajectory.  There is just something inside me that tells me it is time to move on and find my next endeavor, the next challenge, the next place to make my mark and leave a legacy.  I am there now.  I feel it in my heart, in my veins.  At the same time, I feel as though there are so many loose ends that I need to tidy up, put the final touches on some projects.  There is always more work to be done, more ways something (no, everything!) can be made better, more effective, more accurate.  But my 3 years in this endeavor are coming to a close.

I am ready, unlike ever before.  It’s not that I am unhappy.  Rather I truly enjoy the everyday challenge of my work.  I believe in the mission and find it completely satisfying.  But this transition is different than all prior, I have been cognizant that this time is coming and instead of resisting it, I have chosen to embrace it.  I have been planning for it like I never have before, maybe thats what happens when you become experienced in managing transitions?

I have found camaraderie among several colleagues in our shared sense of restlessness when he hit the 3 year threshold of a given job.  We share this inherent sense that its time to move on, to invest our time and energy in some other endeavor.  We spend the first 6 months focused on learning, absorbing the new endeavor and all its nuances, then we chart out our roadmap for how we are going to leave it better than it was when came.

This time around, the restlessness is different than it was before.  While I am excited about what lies ahead professionally, I have also made very deliberative decisions that are unlike those in the past.  I have put health and family first.  My number one priority is a better quality of life for my family and I.  That means so many things… working less; loving more; laughing more; smiling more; cooking more; painting more; making music more; running more; meditating more; and so many other things that are not traditional working.  Am I going to continue to work?  Absolutely yes!  All of the “work” I do are intellectual and creative outlets for my restless soul.  While I have achieved a much better work life balance, I have not yet gotten into the right balance.

A few guiding zen words as I move on in this transition of sorts…

  1. Do one thing at a time
  2. Do it slowly and deliberately
  3. Do it completely
  4. Do less
  5. Put space between things
  6. Develop rituals
  7. Designate time for certain things
  8. Devote time to sitting
  9. Smile and serve others
  10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation
  11. Think about what is necessary
  12. Live simply

Color photo of Peruvian child with llama

2 Responses to “Restless at 3 Years”

  1. Bill July 19, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Ah, I know the conundrum well. Follow your Zen path, it will bless you.

  2. Carolina Brenes July 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    I love this! I get this same “itch” with traveling. It’s just something I need in my life.
    I’m definitively taking you up on that advice. I need more of it in my life. 🙂

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