Friday, June 29, 2012

We can't have it all, but we can love life

I need to escape my job.

I think about other kinds of paying work.

Nothing excites me.

They say that you should do work that you love.

But the things I yearn for are not things I want to be paid for.  I want to spend time with the trees.  I want to learn to play a musical instrument.  I want to learn all sorts of dancing -- Morris, jazz, modern, contra, African, and more.  I want to run around with toddlers.  I want to go out in kayaks or rowboats. I want to sit beside the ocean.  I want to sing.  I want to hike.

These are the things that tug at my heart.  Sure, there are paid jobs. There are scientists who study trees.  There are people who lead kayaking trips.  There are day care providers who run around with toddlers.  That's not what I want.  I don't want to work at these things, I don't want to study hard at them.  I want to partake of them with joy, on my own terms.   

I think the idea that you have to get paid for your passions is one of those unrealistic expectations they give us. Like the one where people who work full-time are supposed to still have time and energy left over to keep their house clean and cook all their meals from scratch.

I'm angry that they tell us we should be a career woman and an impeccable housewife too. I'm angry that they tell us that we should have a job that we are passionate about.  I'm angry that they tell us that we should find a soulmate and get married and live happily ever after. I'm angry that they tell us that all our dreams will come true if we work hard enough.  I'm angry that if I say I'd like to learn to play a musical instrument, people say, "so do it," as if I must be squandering my time on less important things.  What free time I have, I spend on the things that are most important to me, which is only a small fraction of the things I'm interested in.  I don't do everything I ever dream of doing, but I find joy every day.  I find joy looking at the flowers as I walk to work. I find joy looking at the sunset in the evening.  I find joy evenings after work dancing around my living room. I find joy going out every weekend to walk or rollerblade.  I think a person who has time to pursue all their dreams must not be very imaginative in their dreaming.

Don't tell me I should work harder on pursuing my dreams.  Maybe some people do have it all.  Maybe some people are happily married to their soulmate and get paid to do something they are passionate about. Just because some people are able to do these things does not mean that everyone can.  When they tells us that we can, they are telling us a lie, and then making us feel like a failure for not being able to turn falsehood into truth.

I reject those expectations.  I will live life on my own terms.  Maybe I'll always have a messy house. Maybe I'll never like to cook. Maybe I'll always be a spinster.  Maybe I'll never be passionate about paid work.  But I will live life joyfully nonetheless.  I will celebrate the sunshine and gaze at the leaves.  I will be a druid.  I will write.  My bare feet will touch the grass.  I will dance. I will sing.  I will run with the children.  I will paddle a kayak.  When my health fails and I can't be active, still I will look at the sky, still I will listen to music.

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