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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mount Ennui

I used to notice when I went to the mall without money, there were millions of beckoning options. Everything fit, everything was attractive. I wanted it all. But unfortunately, without the funds I had to simply touch the pretty things and go home.

When I did have money to spend, I found nothing I wanted. Especially when I had an event to attend and needed a specific item, that narrow field made it even more unlikely that I would go home with a purchase.

This phenomenon made me think about where it appears in other areas of life. Money, time, children love, jobs, CATS - these things seem to appear or become active when we're not paying so much attention to them.

I've wondered a lot about the job category lately because I want to switch careers and move forward with my life again but alas! I have too much time. I can move in any direction I want which are too many directions. My husband can support us so we have too much money. See the pattern here? There's not enough obvious need. Not enough tension. My life is a big pile of SLACK. The universe sees the economy, the people out of work. It's not at all concerned about a stay-at-home mom in a midlife crisis who needs a job to "play" in.

"Oh, so you want a creative outlet? Maybe a cartoonist/writing combo to fall out of the sky? Dream on, Momma. Keeping sucking on that Unicorn Milkshake and your fairy godmother will certainly appear. Save the damn sob story."

I once lived in a small fishing town, worked two jobs, raised two teenagers and two cats - alone. I was busy all the time, always on the go, always in motion, needed, in the midst of all the action.

Now I'm in a larger well-groomed area, married, not working outside the home, two adorable toddlers underfoot. Three days a week the toddlers go to a 9a-3p program so I'm on my own. And you know what? It sucks.

All my old friends work and live fifty miles away in the small fishing town I left behind. I don't miss the work I did, but I certainly miss the camaraderie, the sense of purpose, the job title to help define who I was.

What we do defines us. And if we do, um, nothing, who are we?

I do some volunteer work at a church. I blog, keep a journal, visit friends and my older children on occasion. Once in a while I go to the gym, promising myself I'll make it a life habit. Three weeks later, I'm realizing it's been a couple of weeks since I worked out. Then I eat another cookie.

I'm basically living the life of a 90 yr old. And this is the life some women aspire to? Getting married, not having to "work", shopping or lunching or whatever ad infinitum? Let me tell you something. It's no life at all. It's an overdose of TiMe.

Keep your day job, girls. The work force feeds you with much more than a paycheck. You need that definition, that sense of purpose. Stay hungry for free time and relish it when it finally happens, just like the outfit you suddenly have the money to buy; anything in short supply means so much more.

What a difference a few years and some big life-changing decisions can make. I'm wringing my brain now to find a way to feel hungry again, to ache for something elusive, something out of reach. I need more pain, more tension, a work-out for the soul without all the destructive loss. I'm on a search for the perfect imaginary illness so I can work to cure it.

Maybe the illness is that huge stale mountain called ennui, and I'll have to be still just long enough so that it thinks I'm no longer trying to move it out of my way, no longer paying so much attention to it.

1 comment:

  1. I clearly understand the feeling you express
    ,and you're right about work being more than a paycheck;it is also a payback from us to the world,and if we don't do work we always have that feeling of disadjustment;although being retired can give you freedom to set up your own schedule of activities,it is preferable that you comply with it as a discipline,like in an employment scenario;in my youth,as an actor I had lots of leisure time between films,but I would never miss my 3 hours at the gym,no matter what,no excuses;and it was the best part of my life,if my memory is not deceiving me.Nowadays,I WORK ,BLOG AND PAINT ALL DAY LONG,and it's the best,if I ever need the money,I can always sell a painting.