The bay of boredom starts with a thought, an idea, a little voice inside your head telling you there has to be something more than what you are doing, how you are living, and how it isn’t anything like you imagined it would be at this point in your life.
Or maybe it is what you imagined, but you never realized what you thought necessary for “happiness” was as far off as what you thought parenting would be like, because we all know that first year of parenting is filled with experiences we never thought we would have.
Maybe you’re not satisfied with your career, but you make amazing money. Maybe you even like your work, but the dullness and colorless everyday tasks are making you feel a little too ordinary for comfort. Maybe you are tired of the ordinary, ready to make a big change.
If only you could get past the fear and anxiety that is the unknown. If only you could stop the unknown from plaguing every impulse to escape into a career or hobby you know would be the root of the contentment you have been looking for all along.
If you let fear stop you from achieving something that would fulfill you – that would make you feel like your presence really mattered – you will never find contentment. You will never find satisfaction. And if you don’t find regret, it will find you.
I know there are a lot of rational fears behind going for something completely different, something that pays for the food on the table and for your kid’s activities. Your job allows you that irreplaceable cup of Starbucks every morning, and those shoes you love but didn’t plan on buying.
It also allows you to feel important, even if that means seeming more important to others instead of knowing you are doing something important – that thing you’ve dreamed about doing since childhood that you never had the guts to do because you were told it wasn’t worth your time or worth a college tuition, that thing that would never be viable no matter how hard you tried.
Your parents told you to go for the money, pick the major that was the best bang for your buck. You did that, and where has it gotten you? It’s gotten you to the point where you’re building a career that you think about leaving every morning as you wake up to yet another day of busting your ass for someone else. You cringe on your hour-long commute to work alongside all the other worn down faces doing the same exact thing, living the same exact way you are, hoping and wishing for more.
You can’t help but wonder if they’re dreaming of leaving their job, because that’s all it is to them – just a job. Have they been just as engrossed as you have been in this prospect of making a transformation? A transformation into something scary...something at which they know they could fail, but decide to explore it anyway.
Are we really content? Or are we all just women and men and moms and dads roaming through the passage of life that has become our existence? And if we aren’t content, should we do something about it even though we have mortgages and daycare costs and our kids’ education to save for?
Our own parents are getting older. We need to save for that, too. It all starts to sound a little selfish to us and frankly too hard, too much work to start a new journey this late in the game. Raising these kids makes us lazy when it comes to our own happiness and well being. And let’s be honest here. We wouldn’t be able to have that Starbucks or buy those cute shoes if we were spending all our money investing in something from the bottom up. At least not for a while.
But can you put a price on investing in yourself? On becoming the woman you always strove to be and knew you could be?
Sometimes we aren’t content with being mothers alone. Sometimes there’s more that we want to do, be, and become. Even though women have come a long way, it seems that the world still expects us to be okay with raising our children while they’re little, when they need us the most. But that, for me, is when we most need an outlet – a career, a hobby. Something to remind us in those moments of darkness, when we feel that we are worthless as women, that we have worth.
Now that we have had our kids, they have changed and molded us into selfless, more motivated women. We should all feel free to do us, in the way we want to do it, with no shame, no guilt, and no regret. We do the best we can for our kids, but sometimes doing what’s best for them is doing what’s best for us.
Because of all this, and so much more ... I resolve to stay the course set out by our courageous foremothers who fought pointedly, persistently for equality. I'm a woman raising a daughter in a world that values her more for her bone structure than her brain. This is my resolution. This is my feminist manifesto.
I now know there are steps I can take to change how I think, to find the true me again. That is why I am going to take better care of myself this year. In fact, that’s the only resolution I care to make. For both my own health, and as an important example to my kids, this year, I'm resolving to practice a kindness that starts from within.