First. No big deal or anything, but what the ever-loving hell am I going to do with the rest of my life, people? The kid turned 7 on Sunday; that means its been almost 7.5 years since I did....well, anything. At least anything professional-ish and career-like. I have, to my credit, managed to keep an entire human being alive all that time, but you'd be surprised how little that counts for on a resume.
And its not even that my resume has a giant gaping hole in it (whatever, Sandburg, I was "leaning in" to eating bon-bons and watching my stories--as if), it's that I really just don't know what I want to be when I grow up. A few years ago when I lived in LA, a friend of mine who had married and had children "later in life" and taken a break from a high-powered corporate Hollywood position was sitting calmly at tea while our kids played, when suddenly she had what I can only assume was some sort of psychotic break and started rambling incessantly about how she was getting so old and no one was ever going to hire her again and that I couldn't possibly understand because I was younger and had been a teacher and you can always be a teacher and her career was so much better and more difficult and exclusive and she didn't have time for "this" anymore ("this" being friendship with anyone who couldn't help her get back into the industry) and poof! We never saw her again.
At the time, we thought she was kind of crazy (and really? dumping us so abruptly and vocally was, not only hurtful, but kind of crazy pants), but it turns out she just wasn't cut out for stay-at-home-motherhood and there's nothing wrong with that. I've had 7 years of stay-at-home-motherhood and there are huge swaths of days when I think "man, I am so not cut out for this." These days I find myself thinking about that friend and hoping that she's happy. Its such a delicate balance and striking that balance is different for everyone, so what works for her is great for her. More than anything, though, I'm a little jealous that she had a career to slide back into (and she really did slide right back in--her job search was short and she landed a sweet position and the last I heard, she was loving it.)
"Go back into teaching!" people say. Sigh. No, thanks. First, there's the whole certification thing. Mine lapsed years ago, and given the requirements in CA, I'd basically need a whole new degree to qualify for certification again. I don't know if I love teaching anymore enough to devote that kind of time, energy and money into that particular degree. Second, I can't bring myself to teach at another private school (the sense of entitlement--both kids and parents, the unhealthy competition between colleagues, the crap pay, the ulcers....) and I have no desire to teach in the public system (NCLB--enough said). Its just not who I am anymore.
So then. It brings me to the two ideas rattling around in the empty space inside my skull where my brain used to be. A.) Actually try being a writer. B.) Become a therapist/social worker. I've been writing, in one form or another, since I was in 7th grade (I still have the journals chock full o' angst to prove it) and the only thing I ever really wanted to be was a writer. I've tried to introduce myself to people as "a writer," but I always feel 100% phony and absurd, and end up back pedaling with "well, I've never published anything. I used to be a teacher, but I really like writing; not professionally or anything, just I've got a couple novels I'm working on and there's a blog...." and then I might as well have introduced myself with "Hi, I'm Sarah; I'm a blithering idiot." And the therapy thing? Well, lord knows I've been in therapy long/often enough to know how it can transform lives. I have areas of interest and all that, but again, just like with the writing stuff, I feel kind of silly blathering on about it. I can feel my brain cells screaming in agony as I type all of this because I don't know if I am cut out for any of it any more. I can whip up a Lego tie-fighter. I can bake rainbow cupcakes. I can use a laminator and the photocopier at my kid's school (perhaps the only remotely marketable skill I currently possess). Sigh.
Well, I had thought to write a lot more about my bright future career in SOMETHING FABULOUS! But now I've gone and depressed myself. Perhaps I'll go write in my journal and call my therapist....