On Being Kept
See, I worked full-time for most of my adult life. And, because I'm a caregiver, all of those jobs (teacher, medical assistant, childcare director) were of the sort where running around frantically from crisis to crisis and very occasionally actually having time to pee was the norm--even expected. I'm pretty sure that no one doing those jobs ever gets a raise if they haven't pulled out most of their own hair in desperation at some point. So, I kinda figured that going to school full-time and not working would be......an adjustment. A bit of one. And it is--you know, like a 7.8 earthquake is a little adjustment of tectonic plates...it's that kind of adjustment.
Most days I'm able to remember that I'm working towards a goal for both my husband and myself, and it's an honorable one, and so on and so on and so on and today isn't one of those days. Can you tell? It might have something to do with the fact that, between the weather and the holiday I haven't had any classes for nearly a week. I've not only done my homework, I've read the entire textbook for both on-site classes. I've knitted Dulaan hats. I've laundered every piece of clothing in the house that I could get my hands on (Mr. K would really appreciate it, though, if I waited for him to take them off next time. Big baby.) I am frightened of the fact that the following things are starting to sound good to me:
Organizing my spices alphabetically
Cleaning the grout with a toothbrush
Knitting foot warmers for the outdoor cats
Lying in front of the fire with Ed just to see if it's as good as he claims.
I've become so excited to see the mailman that I think he's going to start delivering my mail by catapault so he doesn't have to talk to me. I think I heard him mutter something the other day about wishing this house had a vicious dog instead of a crazy lady.
All of which leads to this: I had absolutely no idea how deeply ingrained in me was the idea that my value as a person stems from what I do, from my career, from my ability to offer some sort of proof that I'm earning my way in the world. I'm sure this is a growth experience for me, and that I'll somehow come out of it a stronger, better person or some other such happy crappy that people say when they really don't have the faintest idea how it feels but really want you to stop whining about it. Hell, I want me to stop whining about it. But I'm 41 years old and I'm suddenly not entirely sure who I am. I mean, I'm not crazy--I know who I am in literal terms. But the ephemeral stuff....what I present to people, what I contribute, what value I give back to the world...well, all that stuff's a bit up in the air. And I really suck at "up in the air." Ask anyone who's ever met me.
I didn't mean to get so deep today...but I think it's these feelings that are currently holding my writing muse--and my wit--in a stranglehold. This feeling that I should be doing more--hell, should be more. Because, what am I if I'm not holding the pain or lessening the burden for another person? I'm amazed to find that I don't know.
I saw a bumper sticker recently that summed this up quite well. It said "Oh, no. Another growth opportunity." And so it is, in the end. I need to pull up my big girl panties and deal with it. My thanks to all of you for putting up with my outpouring of angst. It helps to write it down. In the end, I do realize how very lucky I am. I have a great husband, I have a great opportunity, and I have you guys. That's all good stuff.
Time to go alphabetize those spices.