Thursday, May 19, 2005
Existential Questioning of Life Direction
I decide, completely spontaneously, to stay home. Once you make that decision, it is like an entire planet has been lifted from your chest. "I will not go in today. I will stay home." I had to leave work early yesterday because my nanny had an appointment. I brought my work home on a thumb drive, as well as a plastic bucket full of paperwork, so why go in? I can "work from home," the stepchild of the office world. The thing no one believes. Yeah right, "work" from home. NOT.
When I say it, though, I usually mean it. But something has happened to me of late. That free floating depression-edged anxiety about "what am I doing with my life?" That old saw. I had gone through a professional invasion-of-the-body-snatchers of late and been a "busy girl." Busy all the time, working to meet deadlines, reveling in being counted on, getting things done and then all of a sudden, about 3 days ago, I woke up from the office hypnosis and remembered that I didn't want to be an office drone. I had bought into the whole thing wholesale.
I was a working gal, listening to a radio morning program on the drive to work, knowing all the "talent," laughing at repeated "bits" like "10 questions," that a listener has to answer and of course it gets raunchy, "How many sex toys do you have," and all that. And I sit in my car on the Beltway (the BELTWAY!), which I swore my whole life I would never drive to work, headed for 270--the wretched Interstate that heads toward Pennsylvania or something, drinking coffee out of a metal thermal mug and that's when the Life Camera peered into my windshield from the aerial helicopter shot and I saw myself, sitting in my car, a horrendous numbered stereotype--office pawn, drone, plebe. And it's not what I want.
But I'm afraid of being a "stay-at-home-mom" too. That term makes me want to puke. I remember the first time I heard it, it sounded like heaven on earth. My friend's wife, who is independently wealthy, was the first person I ever heard utter those words. I, naively, asked, "What do you do?" And a beatific smile crossed her face and she said, "I'm a stay-at-home- mom." Back then, that was like saying you had just won the lottery--just pulled the wool over everyone's eyes and managed the mean hat trick of being able to afford to stay home with the pups. A life of Gap stretch pants, jogging strollers, distracted purpose, endless coffee, tepees, macaroni and cheese, refrigerator magnets, construction paper, Elmer's glue, early meatloaf dinners--a wholesome, relaxing, fulfilling life. And the fact that we could not "swing it" made me something I try never to be: bitter. It was the Holy Grail and it was so far out of my reach.
To be continued...|
Cynicism is another word for reality