The whole point of this blogging exercise is essentially to shame myself into doing something more productive with my newfound leisure time. There is a (large) part of me that would be happy to continue perfecting the mastery of sale shopping, but faced with the looming prospect of full fledged mid-lifedom, there is another (smallish) part of me that is begging for something a bit more substantial.
Life as an ex-pat has it’s ups and downs. One of the ups is that I have been able to stay at home with the kiddies until they were ready for school. One of the downs is that I’ve been able to stay at home with the kiddies until they were ready for school. It is difficult, though not impossible, to work as an ex-pat spouse, especially as an American one. I imagine that somewhere down the road the lure of a steady paycheck, the appeal of some funds for retirement (at 80), and a last ditch effort not to go bat-shit crazy with hum-drumness will be enough to make me jump through the required hoops of sticky red tape to find myself a paying gig. But that’s a whole ‘nother hill to die on. As of exceedingly recently, the light at the end of the stay-at-home mom tunnel was widened, and both children are finally at school full-time. Frankly, I need some time to catch my breath. I’m thinking a year. Maybe 5. However, the prospect of a year filled with nothing but laundry (perhaps cleaner and more neatly folded) and more elaborate meals is not cutting it. Tempting as bonbons and Women’s Institute luncheons may be, I thought it wise to set myself some goals. And because I like to make my life as difficult as possible, I decided to set those goals publicly.
And so here we are.
By degree, I am a writer. But not by trade. I studied creative writing in college, impressed enough people to earn a degree, but I have never made my living by writing. In fact, other than (I flatter myself here) the odd witty Facebook status update, I do very little writing on a daily basis. That is perhaps a slight exaggeration. I really don’t do any writing at all any more. Despite being actively encouraged by my significant other (he thinks knocking out a best-seller will get him a summer house in Maine), gently cajoled by well meaning family, and sweetly complimented by friends, I just don’t do it. Not having the time was a convenient excuse for a while. Having young kids is a good one too. Moving your family to a few different countries in the space of as many years usually gets you a few clucks of sympathy and a well-meaning nod of agreement. But the truth is there really is no excuse.
So here I am, trying the last resort, mother approved tactic of Guilt and Shame and oh-God-no, Disappointment. If I tell the world I am going to do it, I have to do it, right?
Honestly, I’m not 100% sure what it is I WANT to do. I (not all that long ago) finally reconciled myself to the fact that my self worth does not hinge on having a five-star career or the number of figures in my bank account. If all I do is raise two respectful, wise, and caring human beings to go forth into the world, then that is (mostly) enough. But there remains that fact that I now have some large chunks of day to fill. And face it, there are only so many pairs of shoes that one can own. (Ok, that’s not technically true, but there are only so many pairs of shoes that will fit in my closet). My head is full of ideas, but those ideas tend to get overripe and ferment before they come to fruition. I’m not quite sure yet how these ideas are going to get organized, characterized, or realized. What I really need are some Rules of Engagement to help me fight the good fight. The one between me and myself. Between productivity and procrastination. Between a little something and nothing at all.
When I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know.