Thursday, December 2, 2010

On my mind

A comment Jeanne made yesterday on my blog got me thinking about self-worth, identity and how we define ourselves. I was far too tired and brain dead to write a response last night, and realized this morning I had more to say about it than just a “me too” comment.

She wrote:

You and I are in such opposite situations right now... I'd love to have a job that matters and be able to go places.

Guess we should each use what the other one writes to feel luckier about what we currently have.

I started this blog for two reasons: first to have a place where friends and family could keep up with our news as we transitioned from the Midwest to Boston, and second to keep my brain active. Full employment was a dream at that point and I felt as though my brain were turning to a bowl of instant oatmeal.

I wrote a lot about jobs and how my self-worth was so tied into what I did and the amount I could contribute to the family bills. In fact I was a little obsessive about it because for me, the act of writing about anything is also how I process it. I’ll be honest, my self-worth is still tied into that. I was pretty proud that I was able to support our little family when Kent was unemployed.

And yet I miss the quiet days, the time I had to sew all sorts of things, the baking and stuff I did. And I feel terribly bad that the cats are freaked out now because Kent and I aren’t around a lot. I’m probably weird thinking about my kitties like that and yet I still feel bad.

Jeanne’s comment made me stop and own up to how I’m feeling, all the not quite so positive niggles in my brain about the current situation. I don’t plan on running back to New Hampshire and saying I quit, but I am realizing that this pace is probably not sustainable for me.

Go take a look at this post from Jeanne on Wednesday. She knows I’m not a poetry person at all but I like this one a lot, especially the opening lines:

Will it last? he says.
Is it a masterpiece?
Will generation after generation
Turn with reverence to the page?


Jeanne said...

I'm glad you liked the poem! It's the little things that are getting to me; sometimes the days feel empty. Yesterday I sat in the Writing Center at the college for an hour and no one came in for help; it seems like everyone but me is frantically busy and important. I know the things I do matter, but sometimes it's nice for a person to get some validation of that.

On the other hand, I'm not regretting my decision to quit commuting. Even that was part of this feeling that what I do should matter, though. I want that feeling I got from my first part-time job, when they had to hire two full-time people to replace me!

kittiesx3 said...

Then you'll get it when I say the first year in Boston when I'd see people rushing around all dressed in their business clothes and looking terribly frantic and focused, I would feel like such a loser. Where was I rushing to? Well no place actually or at least no place important (grocery store? necessary but not all that important).

Jeanne said...

That's it exactly. And did you go to any parties where people asked you what you "do"?

kittiesx3 said...

Well no parties (after all we were brand new to Boston) but at church and small group, oh yes. And then (because this was early in the recession and the media hadn't yet beat it to death), I'd get that look. You know, the one that says "oh you're a loser who can't find a job."

FreshHell said...

I no longer get satisfaction soley from my job. It's fine, pays the bills, is necessary, etc. But it's not what keeps me going. It's not what fills my soul. It's my writing, my kids, those quiet moments outside of the job that make my life worthwhile that will "live on". Maybe it's not a masterpiece but my job, at this point in my career, is just a job. But it allows me to do the things that do matter.