I use to think those who consciously made life decisions were always happy. After all, life was not something that merely happened to them, it was something they steered in the direction of living well. Yet, as I delve further into my adult life, I am beginning to see regardless of how consciously we live there will always be moments of, ‘This is my life?’. Regardless of how frequently we examined, even over analyzed, the decisions we were making. The other day I had such a thought.
For the first time, I was running the errand of dropping off my husband’s dry cleaning. When upon returning to my SUV, in the SLC suburb I call home, I thought to myself, so this is what living the clichéd life feels like. After years of working my way out of assistant roles, I had somehow landed in another version. More troubling, this was not a single errand, as it could only result in later returning to retrieve the suit. An errand within an errand, a slippery slope of stay-at-home duties, if you will, that inevitably conflict with meeting self imposed deadlines of submitting manuscripts.
You see when I decided to leave the corporate world, I did so based on two goals; the first, to be more available for my family, and the second, to have the time I had lacked in the last year to pursue turning my manuscripts into books. Upon making this decision I knew finding the time necessary to pursue publication would be difficult, what I underestimated was how conflicted it would often leave me feeling. Perhaps the real catch is the fact that taking care of my family is the only assistant job I have ever really enjoyed, which makes it difficult when I need to take the time necessary to achieve goals of my own.
Not to mention, having always worked, I took solace in being able to identify myself as a writer when I could no longer identify myself as a Product Manager. An identity that feels fraudulent when the day to day consists of considerably more stay-at-home tasks than writer tasks. While I have great admiration for stay-at-home-moms, I just never pictured myself with the title.
Ultimately though as I process this title, I realize what I should be feeling is less ‘this is my life?’ and more ‘this is my life!’. Spending more time on stay-at-home tasks vs. writing may not have been my original life plan, but that does not mean it is a clichéd existence. It simply means work-life balance is near impossible to come by, even when you set your own hours. Perhaps more importantly, this was a decision I was able to make without significant financial pressure being a factor. Something I often loose sight of feeling grateful for, when my focus narrows to what I did not accomplish in my writer life that week.
Thus, the next moment I find the ‘this is my life’ thought surfacing, I’ll be sure to drop the question mark. Besides, it’s not as though the errands are really that cumbersome. After all, it’s been a week since dropping off the suit and I have yet to make it back to the dry cleaners.