Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life Lessons

As the years go by I am increasingly thankful for that little thing called life. It doesn't have to be the best life. It doesn't have to be the richest life. My life does not have to be 'better' than the Jones' down the street. It just has to be the life I am living. So many of us use our entire lives to worry about what we don't have and what we should have been doing. I have spent many years of my adult life thinking of these things, but as the years go by I have begun to think that my life is just fine and I really am happy just the way things are and have been.

I spent 11 years home with the children being a mother and wife and manager of the household. When the children started school I decided it was time for me to get out there and start making a 'real contribution' to family so I got a job. I first started part-time then got greedy liking the money I could take to the mall and waste on meaningless items I did not need. I was always a very competitive and ambitious person, so when the thought of my useless B.S. degree in HR Management came to mind it made me think that I had to go out there and get some return on my education investment. A second thought was my mother who always wanted her children to do great things in life. She did not even finish high school although you would never know because she is one of the most insightful and intelligent women I know. So you can very well understand her aspirations for me as the daughter of an immigrant who struggled as a single parent, sending a few dollars home to her children left behind while she created a better life for us all. I have trudged along now for 10 years employed. Each day I wake up and drive up the road to work I am thinking 'why am I doing this?'. My husband makes a good living and certainly makes enough for us to have a comfortable home and lifestyle. He has always indicated that my need to work is unnecessary and may even be silly because my job will not make us rich; it just makes us spend more. True enough although my jobs have also allowed me to build up our savings quite well.

This brings me to the recent economic downturn and all the research on the economy that my dear spouse has been engulfed in for quite some time. He was able to tell me what was going to happen and when enabling me to move things around to minimize loss. I could go on but that's a subject best left for him. I watched all these jobs disappear. I watched all these people become unemployed. I saw so many homes fall under foreclosure and poor families living in tents. It made me think again about my job dilemma. All these people thought their extra income gave them that little step into a new income bracket so therefore they needed the car, house and clothes to go with it. Here go the Jones' again. And I had fallen into the same trap although I thought I was above all that nonsense. That extra income seems to have done more harm than good for many families as they tried to attain a certain stature, a certain place in the economic ladder. That silly little word called greed. So I began to I working to fulfill my mother's dreams? Am I working to fulfill my dream of having an important position I can flaunt? Am I working to better my family's finances? But more importantly...does my working add anything to my overall happiness or the satisfaction of my family? This much I now know--being a mother and a wife was the best job I ever had and I truly loved it. So why did I so willingly push it to second place?

I flip back to my daily trek down the road to work. I dread it. I almost hate it. It does not make me happy, satisfied or content. I cannot stop thinking that there is something else...that there is more to life and it is passing me by. What am I missing? What am I giving up? I am home right now recuperating from a hospital stay and it is really hard for me to think about going back to work. Can I walk away and choose the happier route? Time will tell as I continue to ponder my future.