Do you ever have a sequence of days where you feel that you're out of touch with just about everyone? I'm there. It's probably just hormones (that age old problem, and, since my doctor says I don't have enough of them, you'd think it wouldn't be a problem, but there you go) - anyway, I'm having a rough few days.
It came to a head yesterday. I had to attend a bridal shower for a co-worker. Should have been a nice occasion, and it certainly was. It was perfection, and the company was good, the food was beautiful - until the question came up at our table: What would you do if you didn't have to work? Virtually every woman at the table said they would work anyway: it defined who they were, they loved what they did, they wouldn't know what to do without it, blah, blah. I sat there feeling very foolish, and not a little uncomfortable. Why? Because I don't want to work, and I wouldn't if I didn't have to. Don't get me wrong - I like my job, and I enjoy the people I work with, but my job is just that to me: a job. A paycheck. Good insurance. I wouldn't in a million years call it "who I am" or have it define me in any way. In fact, most everything that I am even sort of good at has nothing to do with what I do at work every day.
Well, it put me in a funk - a bad mood, if you will, and I spent the rest of the evening brooding about it. I've always been so easily affected by how I'm perceived by others, and that bothers me too. I'd much rather be like my kids, who can adopt a reckless "who cares" attitude. Not me. I brood. Finally, some time in the wee hours, I had an epiphany - perhaps in my sleep, because I can't remember when it came to me. These other women at my table were all SOMETHING: most were nurses, one was a sales rep. All had careers they'd worked very hard at. I have a job. And I never even wanted that. Therein lies the difference.
My real career was raising my kids, and I never wanted anything more than to do that. I took pride in it, I tried to perfect it, I worked at it. And I think I did a pretty good job, all things considered. I love my kids so much. My true career was hindered by having, at a certain point, to get a job. It was harder then, and a lot of the good I had to offer went by the wayside, as I tried to fit into a world I wasn't really equipped to enter. Water under the bridge.
So what would I do now, if I didn't have to work? I would definately make lots of time for my three (THREE! YAY!) grandchildren. They're all far away, but I'd find ways to connect with them in every way I could. I have such a desire to be a really, really, good grandma - the kind my mom and grandmother are. I can do that now, and I try, but after 8 hours at work, creativity and energy are low. What else? I would take up painting again, and no, not with a roller brush. Real, fine art kind of painting. Perfect what I know, take classes to learn more. Perfect that. Play the piano (well, first I'd have to repair the piano... I'll do that while I still make a paycheck). I've had 12 years of instruction, I've played for judges, and I've let it go for years now, other than little stabs here and there. Pitiful. I'd have a garden: flowers and vegetables. I've always liked to do that, but have let that go as well over the years. I would cook more, and entertain more. I notice that when I'm on vacation, I cook a lot, and I really enjoy it - just like I used to. Again, after a day at work, all I want to do is grab a hunk of cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Thank goodness for LaMar, who finds cooking is a good way to unwind from the day. He saves me from myself. I would write: can you tell I like to write? I love how pithy and smart I am when I'm writing. (I am smiling)
So there you are. I think I'm a sort of Renaissance Woman: good at many things, probably master of none, but with curiosity about almost everything. (I get the curiosity part from my dad.) I can probably best categorize myself as not particularly ambitious career-wise (unless I perceive that you think I can't do something, then I'll prove to you that I can), but very intelligent (thus giving me the keen awareness that some around me in the work world see me as a bit of a slacker for only achieving the status of "Administrative Assistant." - or maybe it's just my own voice telling me so. It's the bottom of the barrel, and I know it. I hate that. This leads me back to the ambitious part again (I will be the best admin EVER), but not to the point where I'd actually go back to school at 55 to do anything else, and so you can see where this cycle gets me. Basically nowhere.)
I think the only really good skill I bring to the table at work is that I am good with people. It's a good mom skill - see, now we're back to my comfort zone. I've had that trait always. Every report card I ever had said so: "Karen plays well with others." I like people, love to be around them, love to get to know them. I just need to be more comfortable in my own skin - learn to be proud of who I am, and what I can do, and, most of all, what I want to do. I'm going to work on that. Because that would be an education worth having.
There, I feel better now.
"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity... Never lose a holy curiosity." - Albert Einstein