This time of year for me is always a time of deep reflection and planning for the year ahead; it is both the end of the calendar year and soon will mark the passing of another chronological year for me. However this year I must confess I am in a bit of a funk as I struggle to find that balance between my passion, reality and growing up.
In many ways, I put too much pressure on myself and now it has backfired on me and I don’t know what to do with the resulting mess that is plastered all over my emotional walls. Looking back to a decade ago when I was on the brink of turning 30, I had such high hopes for myself, so many things I hoped to accomplish, so many dreams. Instead my 30’s ushered in real adult life, starting with my mom’s cancer diagnosis not long after turning 30 and her death six weeks after I turned 31. Don’t get me wrong the past decade hasn’t been an entire bust; I finished graduate school and earned my master’s degree which for someone who dropped out of high school isn’t too shabby. Thanks to the generosity of loved ones, the man unit and I were able to become homeowners which it turns out sounds far better in theory than reality when you have two left fingers and find The Home Depot to be a dreary and depressing place. We added a beautiful daughter to our family, I saw my son grow into being a fine young man. I have work that is meaningful and passionate; my childhood dream of becoming a real writer came true.
The reality is that on the checklist of goals I had at 30, I have hit most of the goals except for one that I have continued to ignore but am realizing is no longer possible to ignore. Financial security has eluded me and continues to elude me and it’s starting to bother me. From a financial perspective my 30’s were basically a continuation of my 20’s, except that health insurance was no longer a given.
This morning I woke up thinking of my father who is getting older and basically living hand to mouth and the fact that in the next decade he will probably retire and with no retirement plan, the reality is that my brother and I will have to help him out. His own fragile financial stability was shattered with my mom’s death and resulting bills and thanks to the worldwide economic crisis and his age; he has never regained his footing.
Then there is that pesky reality that hell, I don’t even have a plan for my own retirement one day, so basically I will be working until I die. That thought scares me to death; it scares me to think that I could end up being that little old lady trying to eat cat food to survive. Or burdening my own kids due to my desire to follow my bliss and passion.
It’s in these moments that I realize that I am still quite young enough that I can change the financial course of my life and that history doesn’t have to repeat itself. The problem is that to change the course of my life essentially means leaving the work that I love and the work/life balance that I have that allows me time to indulge my creative side. Earlier this year I received a call from a headhunter about a position that was amazing on paper with an attractive six figure salary and lovely benefits; the only problem is the job would have taken my soul. It was the type of administrative position that I am well qualified to do, but despise the thought of. After my initial excitement about the idea of being in the running for such a high profile position, my soul cried out, don’t do it!!! I listened to my soul as I have done in the past and now am starting to realize that maybe it’s now time to seek out such positions.
I have always loved that the man unit and I have crafted a life that we live on our terms but lately that money thing is weighing heavy on me as yet another year passes and I was unable to visit with family. My seven year old has relatives she has never met, she only just met my brother on Thanksgiving when he came out here and she is seven years old! Sadly it is our turn to visit family since they all last visited us but living life on our terms never seems to allow for travel and it’s starting to scare me how fast the years are flying by.
So as I do the dance of struggle in these dark days of December I grapple with the question of what next? I do know that if I move on to a different type of job the demands pretty much will take away the simple joys such as being able to write publicly to the extent that I do. There will be a cost to my family, but what really what costs more? Living joyously and presently with just enough or making the sacrifice and doing the adult thing and dedicating myself fully and maybe even miserably to achieve the dream of financial stability. Of course I sometimes wonder is financial stability in this ever changing world even accessible to the masses.
Deep thoughts and much planning lay ahead for me.
3 thoughts on “Dancing in the dark…bliss versus reality”
I love that post! And you know I have had to come to terms with my have and have not while trying to make a a proper life in Maine. Luckily enough for me, I can hope in the car and make it to NY in five hours but if I couldn’t my family better bring their asses up here or pay for the dog kennel. I’m not tripping anymore about running around and seeing everyone. They have to make time as well. And if not get on Skype and call it day. When you get those six figure jobs, they also take their pound in flesh and I for one want all my flesh-it’s not worth it. I will also probably work until I die, I don’t care really (hopefully I’ll be a baker and run a center like you), as a matter of fact I don’t worry it. It’s just too far into the future. And if my kids have to help me when I get older, then sothefuckbeit, I got stretch marks because of them, I feel its an even trade. Life is way to short and unpredictable to not do the things that bring you bliss.
D, that is how I feel often but I with my nearest family member 1100 miles away, I know that visiting family members is a two way street and everyone has last come to see us. Going so far in the past to actually buy us tickets. But you live here so you how it is, traveling anywhere is costly.
That said, I really don’t know how much I can willingly give up, I like my work, I love the flexibility I have but it all comes at a cost. I would love to think I can have a job similar to what I have and make oodles of money, but for what I do, that is simply chasing a unicorn. LOL
A friend posted this on FB. I immediately thought of you:
An elderly man in Mumbai calls his son in New York and says,
‘I hate to ruin your day son, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are getting a divorce; 35 years of marriage… and that much misery is enough!’
‘Dad, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.
‘We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,’ the old man says.
‘We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Hong Kong and tell her!’
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.
‘Like heck they’re getting divorced,’ she shouts, ‘I’ll take care of this.’
She calls Mumbai immediately, and screams at the old man, ‘You are not getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then , don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR??’ and she hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. ‘Okay’, he says, ‘It’s all set. They’re both coming for our anniversary and paying their own airfare!!’
No man / woman is busy in this world all 365 days.
The sky is not going to fall down if you take few days LEAVE and meet your dear ones.
OFFICE WORK IS NOT EVERYTHING IN LIFE and MONEY MAKING IS NOT EVERYTHING IN LIFE.
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