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.
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.