We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

20 November 2006

Love & work

I've been back here in England for two years now, hard to believe that much time has passed. That means unemployed for two years..for the first time in my life really. But I don't actually consider myself 'unemployed', I am a full-time mother. My daughter was born early this year, but prior to that I decided to be at home, homeschooling my son.

My husband stayed home for the four years we lived as a family in America, and I had a flexible job that allowed me to work mostly from home. It was still a challenge though. I enjoyed my career as a real estate appraiser, which I pursued throughout my twenties. I love houses and architecture and the job allowed me inside some 3,000 homes, from the shell of a house, to one where nearly every room was full of knee-deep rubbish (not joking, unfortunately), to a replica of Thomas Jefferson's 'Monticello'--in the suburbs of Chicago, no less! But after my son was born, it always required me to divide myself. This is the struggle women face when they decide to become a mother and maintain a career.

Not working in the paid world is difficult for me though. I have always done it, since I was 16. I worked my way through college, and overworked most of the time in my twenties. Must be the 'protestant work ethic' instilled in me. It is also about being able to support myself, feeling that no one should have to support me. My husband says I still need 'American Dream' deprogramming.

I have spent this last week reconsidering my plans, ideas and priorities. A job opportunity came up that seemed well suited to my experience as well as taking me into the publishing world. At first I thought it was meant for me to do, and therefore, should do it. Part time. However, after reworking my resume, and endless thinking and meditating I realised that my reasons for considering a job were based on my ego mainly, and didn't have much soul purpose. I believe work is important, as well as necessary for the most part. But I also feel that when faced with choices, we need to consider them carefully, consider the consequences of such choices.

The truth is, I don't need to work for money right now. The extra money would be nice, sure. It means we struggle a bit (sometimes more than others), and don't have a car, don't have a large house, and some other creature comforts, but when I weigh that against the time to be home with my kids, to nurture and educate them, to watch them grow, to develop a different range of skills for myself, then I find, I really don't want to divide myself afterall. I am learning to accept that love is also about being supported, allowing my husband to play his part in extending himself for the family. I am extending myself as a mother and homemaker (that word sounds so old-fashioned!) and as hard as it may be not to, it can't be looked at in monetary terms. Its bigger than that.

I have the simple life that I have been striving for since I was 28 or so and discovered the concept..or rather, longed for the concept after being stressed out, overworked and overloaded in general. Sometimes we don't even realise when we've achieved one of our goals, especially if we are too busy looking into the future or at the next goal. But I have it, I have two beautiful children, I'm living in a great village, the kids don't go without, I'm not in debt, I'm healthy and working on contentment-- or being in the present moment as much as possible. Instead of thinking about what I don't have, I remind myself of what I do have, what I have accomplished and that I am exactly where I am meant to be.

No comments: