Milestones & Success

Yesterday was my birthday, and naturally, I am in a reflective mood.

I’ve learned so much through The Boy about milestones and success, and how the social constructs that make us believe we aren’t quite achieving as much as we should (there’s that awful word) are a figment of our own imaginations.  And yet…

I have to confess that as I step firmly into my 40s, I wonder what I have to show for myself.  Not in terms of what I’ve accomplished, but where I am currently.  Let me make perfectly clear that I am happy.  I made a conscious decision to leave teaching to be with loved ones and for my own mental health. I made another conscious decision to leave my decent-paying job, again for my own mental health. But I can’t honestly say that working for minimum wage has done much for my own sense of self-worth.

I am very happy and grateful to be employed, don’t get me wrong.  And my current position is just what I needed, really. The complete lack of stress, the laid back coworkers, the peace of mind are so valuable to me, I can’t really put it into words. But peace of mind doesn’t pay the bills, and I am not old enough to retire. In other words, I still have so much to give, so much to offer.  But the job market here just won’t bear it.

On the continuum of employment, from stressful to no-stress, from meaningful to not-in-the-least-important-to-society, from almost $100K to minimum wage, I am still searching for that middle ground, and it is elusive. And work is important to me.

The Man and I have long considered creating our own business plan, not only for ourselves, but also to ensure that The Boy has meaningful employment, as well (I mean, if I can’t find employment, imagine how difficult it will be for a young man on the spectrum).  If necessity is the mother of invention, we may be giving birth to our own opportunities very soon.

I just have to remind myself (continously) that if I start to walk down the path of “shoulds” (ie I should be making this much, I should be doing xyz), I will be in the weeds.  That path was never right for The Boy, and can do nothing but harm to me. We will just need to blaze our own path to find that balance and meaning, and have faith that we will find our way.

finding our own path

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The Shoulds

should what? by 416style

should what? by 416style

Oh, I get so tired of The Shoulds.  I am sitting here, looking comfy and relaxed on the outside, but berating myself on the inside for all of the things I should be doing.  The Almighty List of Things to Do is being read over an over inside my head, in a clanging loop, and I just can’t reason with that voice.

Grammy and Poppy just left this morning for home.  They know I love having them, and we had a really, really great week – it’s been so long since they visited us up here!  But everyone understands, I’m sure, that it would be perfectly acceptable to revel in some alone (The Boy is of course here too, so alone-together?) time after house guests depart.  To just sit, do what one wants to do for awhile, enjoying the ambient sounds of a pretty-decent-outside-for-once Saturday coming in through the windows?

But not those nagging, mean-as-hell Shoulds.  They are reminding me of the house showings coming up this week, that looming deadline to get the monumental task of making the house look respectable. Oh, and also the usual chores of the weekend.  And the million-and-one things I have yet to do before our big move in oh-my-God-seven weeks…

I hate The Shoulds.  I hate it even more when they’re right.