Confession: I don’t care if I excel. I don’t care if I’m “the best”, win an award or upsize my house. I’ve never had a career, just assorted jobs. I hate multitasking. I have zero desire to get ahead. Average is fine with me.
I know these things are not what today’s world expects. I am supposed to strive for “more”. The thing is, I don’t want to work harder. The end result just doesn’t mean enough for me to put forth the effort. Sure, I want to be able to pay the bills, but the bills really aren’t that much to begin with. My tastes haven’t racked up all that much debt. I love having time to meander through a farmers market and buy what I need to bake a pie from scratch, and I like to eat the pie after I’ve baked it.
When I was in my twenties and thirties I felt embarrassed about my lack of a college degree, especially because folks with graduate degrees surrounded me. While I still appreciate their formal educations and achievements, I no longer feel inferior. I suppose I could have taken some classes, as we do have a wonderful private college in our small city, plus a branch of our state university. Doing so would have meant giving up things that meant more to me, like being full time caregiver for children and later for my grandson. I remember running into a neighbor one day, who told me he was “sorry” I was caring for my grandson full time. According to him, this should finally be the time I could spend doing what I wanted. “Me time”, I think he called it. He seemed stunned when I told him I couldn’t think of a better way to spend “me time” than watching Blues Clues and playing Candy Land. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and an afternoon nap are hard to top. He inferred that I must be a slacker.
My dear, late friend and I once had a discussion about our different lives. I live this ordinary life in my hometown, playing traditional wife and mom. She went off to the big city and lived as a single career woman in the heart of Manhattan. As teenagers, I thought I’d live a life much like hers, and she thought she’d live a life more like mine. Yet we were both satisfied with where we were. She concluded that when you come to that fork in the road, you have got to choose one and then commit to your choice. Enjoy what that path has to offer and not constantly think about the scenery along the other route. That, I feel, is the real key to contentment.