It seems like a no-brainer. I should know what I like, what I’m good at, right? But it’s not always so clear cut, at least for me. I have made many mistakes and wrong turns in my career and lifestyle that clearly show that I had NO CLUE what I really liked or what I wanted. I think the problem lies in separating out the things that I admire and wish I liked or wanted from reality.
A simple example that struck me just today was that I often think about how much I’d love to have a small vegetable garden at home so I could grow and have some fresh produce. My grandfather did that and it was wonderful. But if that’s so, why haven’t I made any effort at all to do that in my current back yard? My landlady has such a garden and clearly needs help tending it. Our neighbors, who grow a lot of food and even have bee hives, do most of it for her. But have I ever made one move to get involved? No. And when I see articles such as The GRS Garden Project: February 2009 Update I page right by. I’m not interested. So what makes me think I should have a vegetable garden?
I’ve also done jobs that, in hindsight, were completely off the mark in terms of jiving with my personality. I love working with children but the constant stress, never-ending paperwork, and standing on my feet all day life of being a teacher is just not for me. What was I thinking? I did that for a total of 4 years, even returning to it after doing something else for a time after that first year. Then, I took a managerial job at a salon – again completely stressful and involved running around all day. Was I delusional? I’ve finally learned from these missteps and found a place where I can be myself, be competent, and not have to be in charge of managing others 100% of the time. Halleluiah.
It is important that I face the fact of my true nature and not try to impose visions of what I think I should be. I’ve always loved working with kids – I should be a teacher! Not so much. I love fresh delicious food – I should grow a garden! Maybe not. I want a happy family-centered life – my husband and I should buy a house! Hmm… maybe I should look a little more clearly at what I actually want in my life. Do I want a family? Yes. Do I want children? Probably. Do I want a house and yard to take care of? Not particularly. I have tantrums just getting myself to clean the bathroom occasionally in our little apartment. What the heck would I do in a large house? Yes, I do know cleaning services exist and I’m still praying to win that argument with Cute Man about employing one when we have more space to take care of. And I know that at least some more space is necessary when we start having kids, but how much? Would a small condo with a great location close to work and little upkeep make more sense? I’m beginning to realize that the real me, not the vision of me, wants to keep things small and manageable with as few household responsibilities as possible. And that’s OK. Everyone, including me, will be happier dealing with reality rather than pushing up against the expectations of a fantasy.