In the last few weeks, I've spoken with several friends I haven't heard from in years. It's been wonderful and yet, what took them so long? :)
It's hard to watch dear friends move on to bigger and brighter places, while I sometimes feel like I sit. Just sit. It's hard to hear "so, you're still doing that PM thing?" and I think, wow, shit, I am. How did that happen?
I'm still here, where I landed after college. Met my amazing Chee, bought a home. Had a child. Changed jobs and changed jobs. Continued to do a lot of the same things in those jobs. It seems so obvious that a change is needed, but it looks SO hard. It exhausts me to think of taking on a new challenge right now. I love the place where I work; the people are great, the work is interesting and changing. But there is something missing...maybe its the fact that I see most of my friends closing in on their career goals, their dreams. I feel as if I have such a hazy view of what lies ahead for me, of what I crave. I'm more than mom and wife, although I adore the roles, and hope to be a mommy of two some day. But what about the best "work" for me?
I have a friend who tells me I volunteer more than anyone she knows. I feel like a do a bit, but far, far from a lot.
Quick list over the last few years. I've walked the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk in CO (trained my ass off & screwed my knees up worse), Crewed for the 3-Day, Volunteered as the 3-Day volunteer coordinator in my city, donated lots of goods, donated blood regularly, joined a local non-profit arts organization (promotes the local visual and performing arts in my city) as a board member and became the Board Pres. Not much, really, since that was over a 6-yr span.
I need to do more, but you know, I love those parts of my life. If the 3-Day did not require the travel aspect, I'd jump at that. I've always felt I needed to do something that gives back to the community. I know a lot of people say that. And I know there is a way I can do both without sacrificing my family time or financial security - its a matter of how, and remembering that keeping up with the Joneses is not mandatory. In fact, it should be shunned. The Joneses have been known to lean bipolar and hide their manic depressive episodes as they slave over their desks every night at 8pm, instead of reading their kids bedtime stories. The same Joneses who are over-extending and have children who are left to fend for themselves, feel underappreciated and who have no idea if their parents love them, but of course, have huge playrooms full of new toys.
I plan on my kid never having a lack of mommy time. So how do I balance what I need as a woman and worker, as volunteer, as wife and mommy? It's the answer we all search for...but damn, I'm nearing my mid-thirties and not much closer to an answer than I was at 26. *sigh* Why do I feel as if I need an answer? Is it the peer pressure of seeing friends my age get PhDs, live in a foreign country, publish that long-dreamt for book?
I keep thinking that moving from here, finding a new, mountainous horizon will help me to start over, but this time with my adored family. I envision going back to school will help. A part of me hopes my company will open a Western office I can plunk down in. Maybe I need to just start over, find a non-profit job somewhere (although I fear entry-level might bore the piss out of me), try to find something to be really jazzed about. I know that feeling; I've had several jobs where that was the foundation, but they were going nowhere, so I moved on.
It's just so complicated.