The snow outside is making everything look so crisp and new and the thought I am actively denying is “I should’nt be here.” Here being work. I’m thinking of my kitchen and how the snow must look outside the window. The backyard will be much improved, cosmetically speaking, by this snow. And would’nt it just be great to look up and see the snow as I take bread out of the oven or work on a huge batch of bean soup?
For the past 7 months or so, I catch myself shaking my head, wondering at my evolution into someone who thinks baking bread, mending clothes and mopping that damn kitchen floor would be more fulfilling than a career. But then again, my life has changed in many big ways in the 10 years since I started my current job and even before those changes it was never a comfortable fit.
In thinking of what I want to do with this next phase of my life, the metaphor I keep coming back to is that of a sprinkler. The beauty of a sprinkler is that it’s powered by what it does: its more or less the definition of itself. Is that too esoteric? Whatever—that’s what I’m thinking of as I stare down the barrel of my own 45 (ha! Nice! Good birthday double entendre, there!). “Let be be the finale of seem.”
Apparently, I yearn to be a Simple Machine.
So that is what I, in all my financial stupidity and infinite naiveté, am working towards. A life where I work but where my work is part of a bigger picture that includes the rest of my life. Why choose between a career and giving my son more attention so he can get over his developmental delays more quickly? Why choose between having health insurance but only getting to see my family in Ohio twice a year (my Dad died 2 years ago and I still have not seen his headstone)? Why work 8 hours a day to make enough money so we can buy bread, baked goods, soup, vegetables, and cleaning products that I could make/grow better and much more inexpensively if I didn’t have to work 8 hours a day?
I want to volunteer at my kid’s school and visit my friends who are now in their 80s and who probably could use some help getting around. I want to go home once a month to do chores for my Mom and her sisters. I want to be a good person, a good citizen.
It would also be nice not to stare at a computer screen for a good portion of the day
Why bring this all up here? Well, why not? The kid is obviously a big part of this thought process. I had no idea how much time having a kid would take—and that is not a complaint. The older I get, the more sense Home Economics makes. I grew up in the prime era of Women In The Workplace Feminism—my Mom the lunchlady was a union rep for her lunchlady union!—and I understand it, I do. Financial autonomy and equality are necessities in the modern world—denial of such is institutionalized oppression of the worst and most corrosive kind. But I keep thinking, “At what cost?” When do I get to decide what is of value to me?
I get to decide when I take responsibility for myself and, by extension, my family. Which sounds an awful lot like Feminism, if you ask me.
Alright then. I can do that.
And now, back to work.