It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I am where I belong

(This post was inspired by this one.)

For a time, I was not satisfied with my career. For a period of several years, I was restless. I’d enjoyed it hugely at first, but after a few years, I began to wonder. Maybe this wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. Maybe I could be doing something else, something more. More lucrative, more professional, more… recognized. I explored a few options, for a time working a job and a half, testing out that other possibility.

Which remains a possibility but, I discovered, not yet. And at first that bothered me. I was stuck here because I couldn’t afford to be elsewhere. I was stuck here because I’d wasted years when I could have been pursuing a Career, and now, to step out into that world, I’d be so far behind…

But then I began to look at my work, to look at my days, to see the match between who I am and what I do, and I realized this is what I should be doing. This is where I belong. That the career that I chose at a friend’s suggestion at a very difficult time of my life, is perfect. That my life is pretty much 100% as I’d have it be. Sure, I’d like more money (or perhaps more accurately, freedom from worry about the damned stuff). There are details that I’d like to tweak, I have my worries and there are always those things I strive to improve, but the basic, fundamental shape of my life? It is who I am, and me, I am content.

Being content in your life comes more readily to some people than others, and it certainly isn’t something encouraged by our culture. Strivers are valued. Contentment is equated with complacency, with settling for second-best, with inertia. Even if you feel that it’s a worthy place to be, it’s hard to achieve in a risk-phobic culture, where everything is potentially dangerous, where toxins are lurking in the most unlikely places, where psychological damage is a virtual certainty, where you are encouraged (particularly in parenting) to second-guess every tiny thing you do, think, and feel.

Bah, humbug, say I.

I am content. Except for my teens and the truly miserable years preceding my divorce, I have been content most of my life.

But the contentment I feel now is deeper and richer than anything I’ve experienced before. I think that had I been married to a different man, I’d have been this satisfied during my SAHM years, which I loved, loved, loved… except for the increasingly unavoidable fact that I was with the wrong man. That’ll take the glow off a girl…

But now?

I’m happy in my marriage. My husband (of two years; together for twelve or so) is absolutely perfect for me. We fit together seamlessly, we resolve conflict the same way, we view conversation the same way (and love it), we’re emotionally aware and communicative, we understand each other. Goodbye kisses at the door still take a good five or ten or even fifteen seconds. Every morning. (If that doesn’t sound like much, try it next time you have occasion to kiss your significant other.)

I’m happy with the way my kids are turning out. I have three: one a fully-fledged adult, one a fledgling adult, and one a teen living at home. All three have caused me no end of worry from time to time, have kept me up at night (as infants and as teens!), have made me cry tears of misery and of rage… and all three have made me laugh, have made me cry tears of joy, have challenged and stimulated me, have increased the depth and richness of the tapestry of my life in a way I just can’t see getting from anything else.

I am happy with my career. No, I’m not burning my way up some corporate heirarchy, I’m not raking in the impressive salary, I don’t have the job title that makes people’s eyes light up.

I’m not even going to say that I have an Important Job, and that I Make a Difference (though I believe both those things are absolutely, inarguably true).

It is just that this job, this career, it suits me down to the ground. It allows me to express and explore my strengths, it challenges me where I need it, it causes me to grow as a person. These small people fill my life with laughter and love, their parents (when they’re not driving me crazy) have brought friendship and variety into my life.

This is how I feel. Others may not. I can recall more than one social event, when answering the question of what I did for a living, having the other person say, “Oh,” pause… and walk away.

Really.

I have had people close to me suggest — meaning only the best — that I am not making the best use of my talents, that I am wasting my education (a couple of bachelor’s degrees), that I should think of doing something different, more professional.

And sometimes I have wanted to have the job title that would get a different reaction from strangers, that would reassure my well-intentioned but concerned well-wishers… until I consider that if I had the title, I’d have to have the job… and it woudn’t be this one.

I like working with these little people.
I like seeing them grow, learn, develop and mature.
I like knowing that their lives are richer because of me.
I like the challenge presented by developmental quirks and downright wretched behaviour.
I like that my job demands creativity — creative thinking, creative hands.
I like being my own boss.
I like working from my own home.
I like the level of job security I have.
I like having the time to cook dinner for my family.
I like organizing my home.
I like being on the spot for those times when my kids need to spill something crucial.
I like being the hub and fulcrum of my family.

This is where I belong. I am grateful. I am content.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | daycare | , | 13 Comments