I haven't written in awhile. There are a few reasons, I think. Writing is a way for me to process my feelings, honor them and give them a mic. It's part of my self-care. I've been kind of down lately and I think sometimes when you need it most, self-care becomes a chore. It takes a certain amount of energy to even do the things that give you energy, you know? I think this is what life feels like for depressed people all the time. And I have to tell you, just in case you didn't know, it fucking sucks.
But eventually, I always find myself writing, thank God. I think putting myself out there in writing or in my business or even socially requires a base level of self-esteem and I don't often dip below that mark. I've been lucky that way. I'm very social and confident and I enjoy lots of personality types. However, lately, I've danced above and below it that base level of self-esteem. And it's funny to put yourself out there when you're not in a great place because I feel like our culture is all about the shiny and pretty and struggle just isn't those things. Yet, here I am.
I'm trying to figure out what my life should be about as my kids are no longer needing me as their foundation. Penny starts kindergarten in the fall and it's going to be awesome for everyone. We're ready and she's going to shine and I'm happy for her. On my side of things though, I've always told myself that when my youngest starts full-time school, it would be a season for me to focus more on myself, my personal development, my time to contribute to the world in a bigger way. I think being a full-time parent and part-time business operator has been a contribution to my children, my small family and to the greater community in so many ways. But now I'm ready to move out from behind that and venture out into the world a little more as an individual. It's funny because I've always prided myself on not over-identifying as a mother, which is such an easy trap. When you are everything to someone, you can get lost and start to think that's all you are. I really didn't want to do that to myself or my kids. And at the same time, I've been home with a little person for TEN YEARS. For only having two kiddos, that's a really long time (they're five years apart). And I'm starting to realize that the "what's next?" question is proving a little more frightening than I have expected it to be all these years.
So there's a possible whole-family transition on the horizon (especially if I decide to work full-time in a job) and the task of processing the end of a very long and sentimental phase of life in raising children. There's also the daunting reality that I have so many things I'm interested in doing. I made a list of all the environments I like, types of systems I could work within (schools, hospitals, universities, non-profits), jobs that would be cool and they all have things that intrigue me. Some of those things would require more schooling. All of them would require some intimidating re-working of my stone-cold resume. Also, I've had the immense privilege of having total control of my time for ten years (well, as much control as you can have with a little person attached to your leg). The compromises required to work with or for someone else is a piece of liberty I find challenging to potentially relinquish. But I find myself wanting a bit more structure and collaboration in my work life and being fully self-employed (I'll always do Shaklee so that will always be in play, thankfully) means that I am totally self-propelled and that's gotten a little isolating this year.
And then there's my perfectionism...I don't want to make any compromises (being there to drop off and pick up my kids, being around in the summer, not working when my kids are off, etc) with my time. I want to know in advance it's going to be awesome, fulfilling and worth the sacrifice of my time and freedom. I want to make a real contribution to society so participating in certain systems that tend to cripple that makes me hesitant. I want to make good money, hopefully making the loss of some control worth it to me and to my family. I want to be challenged but able to do my work and I want my work to make a real difference. I want to prevent more pain to the people in the world. There's something gorgeous about treating current pain but I want to prevent new pain from occurring. When I was younger, I wanted to save the world for Jesus. Now I just want to save the world from ourselves. But there's a certain level of realism in me that wonders if that can ever really be. And if that can't ever really be, why go through all the scary shit to try? Hence, I've been in a bit of a dark cave lately.
It's too late for me to go to school in the fall. I can't make a ton of new money or I'll lose the awesome scholarship we were granted for Penny to do Montessori kindergarten next year (so stinking cool). But I don't want a lost year either. I want to keep writing. I want to figure out what's next. And I don't want to just do something or just take something to make this processing stop. I've got about 30 more years to work and I want to make them count. I want to be smart and strategic. But I also want to be realistic. And to be honest, I've always felt like I'm on the outside looking in at the world of people who just know how to navigate the world and all it's mysterious (to me) systems. I probably need some sort of career coach. Ugh.