Society Says…

by Alison on March 3, 2010 · 5 comments

You know, its interesting how things manifest themselves when you are sick, fearful, sad… I find its in my darkest moments that I see the person I truly am, and the person I really want to be. Stripped away from the name brands, from the external makeup that makes one a so-called productive member of society.
Ive recently had a flu-bug for the past 3 days and in between the agony of retching and answering emails on my blackberry from work I kept thinking to myself – I’m sick because of all this damned stress- I know it.

For  the past several years, Ive lived with this indescribable feeling that I’m not quite fulfilling my purpose.  For a long time I thought that meant monetary gain, it meant having outer beauty, it meant having a BMW or Mercedes, it meant having a perfect body, it meant having good grades, then a good career.  It meant showing people that even though I had a hearing loss I would be successful, I would be someone important.  But what I was drawn to and what I felt necessary were two very different things.  They were different because what I felt drawn to wouldn’t necessarily bring me that BMW, that Mercedes and it certainly wouldn’t lead me to any fancy parties with pretty people.  There was a crossroad and I took a path and made a choice to live to attain.  To obtain outward success.   I adopted a mask and I felt inclined to wear it – much like most of us do I suspect.  As though without it, I’m probably not quite good enough.
When I met my significant other, I was successful in my career, I was about a size 0, I was the epitome of what society has deemed successful: young, pretty, with a good career.  He said one of the things he loved about me when he meant me was how together I had it.  And I did… At that time I was flying high on my new salary and the freedom it brought (or should I say ‘bought’) and I just assumed that I could let the creative side of me out in extracurriculars.  I could paint, write, take photographs in my spare time and it would feed that side of me that was so starved.  I thought I could balance the two out…

Fast forward to me now… My career has encountered some speed bumps (primarily my own doing), I won’t name my size (its certainly not a zero), and I have went from being successful to mediocre.  Or have I?  I’m certainly unable to play at the pretense that I am thrilled with my life anymore.  I cant say I’m not blessed because I know I am – I have a wonderful partner and a baby girl.  On the outside it looks pretty damned good.  But I want more… and yet I don’t want to let anyone down.  

What if I told them what I really wanted to was continue my hobbies: writing, painting, dance  and then to ultimately teach the practices of  Meditation, Yoga, and Perfect Health principles.  I have wanted to do this for years and the desire has never went away.  I contacted a centre that teaches this recently and heard back and I was brought to tears at how badly I wanted to do this.  My dilemma is that our family would take a huge pay cut if I left my job.  This means we might have to downsize, my daughter certainly wouldn’t have all the ‘stuff’ she has now.  And I know this shouldn’t bother me but in some ways it does because I  want to be able to fulfil her dreams and lets be frank here people — attaining dreams these days take cold hard cash.  We’d like to say they don’t but many of them do…

I also know that not all in my life would agree with this choice of mine to abandon a high paying job to ‘breathe, and do weird hippy stuff‘ as someone described to me.  To many it would be selfish and irresponsible – Alison – you have a house, a baby and stuff to pay for – why would you do that to your family because you want to meditate for a living?!

Ive been struggling so long with following my heart and I sometimes wish I did it before I had children because with kids comes responsibility to provide.  And its not fair to leave my partner to shoulder the weight of finances.  As you can see Im clearly conflicted, and have been for a while regarding this…
I go back and forth weighing the pros and cons and hoping and dreaming and other times being held back by my fears. 

I wish things were more simple sometimes…

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

mummy March 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I say get what you want out of life instead of making enough money to have tons of stuff. Stuff doesn’t make people happy. As long as you will have enough money for the basic necessities. And basic necessities aren’t a giant house, a fancy car, tons of make-up, brand-name clothes and ridiculous amounts of toys for your kids. I am a firm believer that over indulgence is bad for children anyway. Downgrading your lifestyle can be a big adjustment but also very humbling. Happy Parents make for happy children. Do what makes you happy.

tangerinetrees March 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I think if you are a happy person,and you love your life, that will have a profound effect on how your daughter views the world. You are also responsible for who she becomes as a person, not just the food on the table and the roof over her head. I am very glad that my Mom was engaged in the world and enthralled by life while she was raising me. I grew up poor, but with a social conscience , and a sense that the world was an exciting place to explore, and the career path that I chose would be important. All because that’s how my Mom felt about the world. I am sure, either path you choose, your daughter will be just fine. But if you begin to feel guilty for following your dreams, remember, there are many ways in life that a person must be responsible. You are responsible for your own happiness, it’s not selfish to make sure your happy. If your unhappy you can’t be as fun of a wife and Mom, so you need to take care of your needs, to meet the needs of other people.

Shannon March 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I think you’re extremely brave to admit what a lot of people are feeling about their lives, that attaining this outward success and doing what we think will bring us happiness but ignoring our deeper urges only brings deep and profound sadness. Your daughter and husband will benefit exponentially more from a partner/mother who is authentic, happy, fulfilled and not splintered. Every person I’ve ever heard about that followed their dream, regardless of whether it was popular or easy, never looked back with regret. Not to say that it is easy and that some of the relationships might not survive but you’ve only got one shot here. This is not a dress rehearsal. You’re also a role model for your daughter and her emotional support system. You can’t really be fully there for her as long as your life energy is being sucked at in this way. I wish you all the luck in the world. I think you’ll do what’s right for you when you’re ready.

Thinkin'Mom March 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Thank you for your thoughts, I too am struggling with my employment choices. I was recently offered a job at a company I have worked for before. The job is similar to what I do now but with the intention of advancement very soon. The working environment is great with more flexibilty in hours and involvement in company direction. I will have my child close by and may spend more time with her. The down side? Less pay as they are a small company and potentially less job security for the same reasons. I am struggling with the decision as I would like to take the job but I keep picturing the vacations and homes we won’t be able to afford…

Alison March 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Thanks for all the comments girls… each post has got me thinking and Im sure its had you thinking too. About what really matters at the end of the day and what is best for YOU can sometimes be what is best for your FAMILY.
I feel so blessed that I am slowly realizing these things… its just a breath of fresh air.

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