You're Right Dear. Again.

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Why do others always see what isn't working in your life before you do? I find it particularly annoying, I mean really!

In my case, the person who always sees what's going to blow up in my face way before I'm willing to see it is my husband. He's always right in the end, but he's not pushy about it or judgmental (yes, he's a saint). He's happy to let me fall flat on my face (when I deserve it) and offers advice when I seek his counsel.

Here are a few examples:

1. That job was awful. I should have quit!

My first job after my MBA was an utter disaster. I should not have been there. It was obvious after the first week that I was brought in to try to displace an arrogant jerk. He knew it and I didn't and on day one he made a point of telling me who was boss and how displeased he was I was there. Within a few days my husband suggested I quit and he was absolutely right. For an entire year I was kept out of meetings, bullied and ridiculed. It was hell. And the worst part? In the end, I was the one who was asked to leave.

Lesson #1: Trust your gut. It's OK to walk away. If it looks like a disaster right from the start, it's not likely to get better.

2. I was letting my career run my life.

I used to spend 12+ hours a day at work. There was so much work to be done and sometimes every deadline seemed a matter of life and death. I was frustrated, tired and becoming a downright nasty person. My husband questioned my behaviour, my schedule and my attitude now and then, but gave me space, lots of space. Did I mention he's a saint?

During this time, my personal compass took a beating. I began to think that people who did not live for their jobs were not committed or productive and that time with family and friends was overrated. I was one of "those people" who didn't partake in casual conversation and walked in a hurry to get everywhere, likely being rude and impatient in the process.

I also didn't take care of me. My weight ballooned, adding 20lbs on a 5'2" frame and my back would seize up on a regular basis due to the added weight and lack of exercise (no, typing doesn't count as exercise). My husband repeatedly asked me to consider my choices as he witnessed my deteriorating physical and psychological health. He said I was getting out of bed like an 80-year old woman. Right again.

Lesson #2: No job is worth your health or your family & friends, no matter the level of compensation or status it provides.

It took me 15 years to learn that my time and my health are worth more than professional and material pursuits. Funny thing is, I knew these things when I was a teenager and somehow lost my way. I guess I've come full circle.

What took me so long to (re)learn, he knew all along. I guess he was just waiting for me to "reboot". Patient guy...

  • Patient as I went and bought useless crap and spent foolhardily as a way to numb or soothe that "empty feeling".
  • Patient as I missed time with friends and family to be at work.
  • Patient as I spent hours on the couch too tired to do anything after work.
  • Patient as I disturbed his sleep when I regularly got up at an ungodly hour to get an early start on the day.
  • Patient as I pursued the almighty dollar above all else, almost as though it defined my worth as a person.

Despite having taken my sweet old time, I think I've finally arrived. I "get it" now and I've mentioned to him many times that I wish I'd understood—or not forgotten—what seemed innate to him. I guess I need to learn things the hard way, probably because I'm stubborn as hell. I'm just glad he stuck with me through those lows. Looking back, there are periods where my behaviour did not merit his love and understanding. 

We can only learn lessons when we're ready to hear them; when we're ready to change. At least that's what I tell myself. I certainly don't have it all figured out and I wonder what the next big lightbulb moment will be for me. Given his track record, he might already know...

Do you have a spouse or friend that can see things unfold for you before you do? Someone who helps you evaluate situations in your life objectively? If so, do you listen?