This day, this job, this YOU is only temporary.

this you is only temporary

Thanun Buranapong via Unsplash

I was sick this week.  It started with a head cold and turned into a nasty stomach bug that left me totally incapacitated for 24 hours.  At the worst of it, I remember feeling like I had been sick forever and that I would likely never NOT be sick again.  This would be my world, forever and always.  Obviously, exhaustion and discomfort were skewing reason and my sense of proportion.  But I think there’s also a bigger psychological effect at play.

We humans, as a whole, assume that the person we are today is the person we will be for the rest of our lives.  Researchers call it the “end of history illusion”.  We see the present as the culmination of everything that led up to it (which, I suppose, technically it is) but, more significantly, we tend to underestimate how much we will change in the future.  As a result, TODAY always seems more significant and more permanent than any other day.

This is why early in our careers (or at any stage, really) a bad job can be so gut-wrenchingly painful.  If everything we’ve done to date has gotten us here, and here kind of sucks, what does that say about our lives?  It can feel like everything has been a waste.  And, because it’s so hard to imagine how much we will change in the future, we don’t see the way out and beat ourselves up for not having met our full potential.

Why do we do this to ourselves??  We don’t look around us and berate our friends because they haven’t found their dream jobs.  We accept that they just haven’t found the right fit yet and we still see the potential in their future.  But do we offer ourselves that same kindness?  Rarely.

So how do we get past it?  We remind ourselves that this “now” is simply an experience that will create the next “now” and the “now” after that.  We remain driven and intentional about the future, but give ourselves a break when we get stuck.  This day, this job, this YOU is merely one plot point in the whole story, not the final page of the book.



4 thoughts on “This day, this job, this YOU is only temporary.

  1. robertlfs

    Great thoughts and important as well.

    I encourage folks to do this reflection – Think of their life situation, of today, and then project back five years. Could they have in any way predicted their circumstances of today five years ago? Then keep doing that backwards in time reflection. At the ripe old age of 63, If I project back any five year period to the time I was about 30, my career and many other circumstances of my existence I could not have predicted. Of importance, each of those five-year increments have led to a more rewarding existence where I am living more into my true self. Based on that assessment, I can only be optimistic about the future.

    Two of my takeaways from the above are that:
    This too shall pass
    Life is a process and not an event

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  3. Natalie

    Thank you for the great reminder! As someone who has been unemployed for sometime now, it’s hard to believe that I will ever be living my dream career. But you are right – this state is just temporary!

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