Big people

11 Nov

Lately, my mind has been occupied by very “adult” things.  Responsibility, our house, schooling, money.  Honestly, it’s no fun!  I would so much rather be thinking about Hollywood gossip or a nice pair of black boots.  But I suppose that after getting married, buying a house and having 2 kids, it might finally be time to grow up.

One of my closest childhood friends and I would often have long conversations about how we don’t want to become “big people”.

Shoot, maybe we were wrong!?

I think the most significant place that this has revealed itself is in my professional life. Or lack thereof.
I have avoided situations that would advance me in any career like the plague. I made up a million excuses but for the majority of my life I coasted in retail jobs or “assistant” positions. Always praised by my employers, I made sure to do a great job, but never so great that it would mean I should be striving for more. Of course, part of this is my low self-esteem and maybe even a bit of laziness, but I’ll save the psychoanalysis for a shrink.

Finally, 5 years ago, I made a very conscious and responsible decision. I wanted to raise my kids. I wanted to be fully present and accountable for these lives that I am helping to develop. It has been the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Truly a personal and professional decision that I feel great about. But one that naturally creates a financial burden. So, as I blogged before, I set out to find a part-time job. And I found one. Not one that I had hoped for, and in fact, one that I feel extremely conflicted about (no, not phone sex) but it’s an income nevertheless. However, this has made my mind churn with the angst of wasted opportunities and wasted time. I should have spent my 20’s building a meaningful professional future. Instead, I spent that time worrying about growing up. Now that I am grown up, I am stuck working with a bunch of 20 year olds, for minimum wage, at a job for which I am simply overqualified. My university degree, my dreams of doing something meaningful, my life experience…not of any consequence. And it’s entirely my fault.

Now, this is not to say that I would rather be working than raising my children (Also work, of course!). On the contrary, no matter what career decision I would have made, I feel strongly about my husband and I doing the majority of parenting. However, I do feel that had I allowed myself to become a grown-up a little earlier, I would now have a more fulfilling part-time job. One that I could be proud of and that I could grow with.

Ironically, I am experiencing the part of “big people” that I feared the most: having to give up your beliefs and ideals, no matter how superficial, in order to make a dollar and be part of the system. But to add another layer to it, I supposed being a grown-up means sucking it up and looking at the big picture. Like the fact that the money will provide a better future for my kids. It’s a tangled web.


2 Responses to “Big people”

  1. Michelle 11Nov10 at 21:29 #

    The phone sex job was okay though wasn’t it? LOL. Kidding.

  2. Debbie 11Nov10 at 22:32 #

    Interesting topic. As a youth, I had a definite vision for my life as a “big person” – high status advertising career, generous salary, stylish condo/apartment, and revolutionizing the ad industry.

    My post-university life path seems the exact opposite to yours. I climbed and climbed my way to senior positions with comfortable salaries, only to find myself stressed out and unfulfilled.

    I am happier now in my low-paying service job than I almost ever was in my “professional career”.

    Along with thinking about mortgages and childrearing and the like, I think “big people” also ponder values, priorities and direction. Then we continue to reassess as we age and grow. That to me, is part of being grown up.

    I wish you wouldn’t think of your 20’s as wasted time. I don’t see mine that way (wasted money for sure, but not time ha ha). Everything I chose, and everything I learned has helped lead me to the place I’m in now. All those days, all those months, all those years dear Virgo, have shaped the person you are now and prepared you for where you are ready to go!

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