Monday, November 07, 2011

Watching the Wheels

Most of you didn't know me in my pre-homeschooling-mommy life. I am pretty much the same as I was, though a lot more chill and able to cope with unexpected surprises (thanks, kids!). What I mean is, my temperament hasn't changed, but my ability to manage the more challenging aspects of being Me has vastly improved.

The thing is, I used to be Ms. Future VP of Corporate America. I excelled in my jobs (though I know I made lots of mistakes and am confident I'd be so much better a manager now than I was in my 20s). But I mean, I excelled. Kicked ass. Okay, so that part isn't much different since I am pretty kick-ass these days, too.

I was well on my way toward that goal, too--grad degree, good contacts in the local business world, recommendations from my professors, made decent money at a job that gave me relevant experience in my chosen field.

And then I switched careers and joined the Mommy Team. It surprised some people--hey, it even surprised me a bit. :D

There are two main reasons I switched careers. I loved my work, it was good stuff, but GAH! I worked all the freaking time. I mean, I work all the freaking time now, of course, but I worked too much before, and expended my time and energy on stuff that really didn't matter, and got too good at playing the Job Politics game. I rarely had time for myself or Brendan outside of work stuff. It consumed my life.

The other reason is that I hate doing things halfway, and couldn't figure out how I would be able to manage working at the level of excellence I expected of myself at a regular job and the Mommy job. Some people can pull this off probably, but I knew enough about myself to understand that I was not such a person and I would be miserable. So I chose between the two.

My job today consumes my life, too, but in a way that makes me happy. That is the difference, and I suppose it's not really accurate to say my job consumes my life. Rather, I consciously and willingly invest my time and energy on activities and with people in productive endeavors that I enjoy and that make me happy. It's not mere consumption of my time and energy--it's an investment.

I am a zillion times happier today than when I was 28 and working 70 hours a week and going to grad school at night and managing people who were sometimes difficult (and often older than me--that's really awkward). I am a zillion times healthier, both physically and mentally. I spend my work days with people I really really like and enjoy, and I work on businesses (the cabin, ATLOS, Cultivating the Virtues) that I really really like and enjoy. Even when I have a crappy day at work, which happens at any job, I don't dread the next day that's coming. I don't sit in my car in the parking lot, holding back tears, trying to summon the strength to walk in the door.

This is why my career change was not a sacrifice, even though I make a lot less money than I used to. I am happier happier happier now. And I'm always thinking ahead to what I'll do as I get more time to devote to non-kid activities. I have many things to add to my resume and I have a much better idea of the kinds of work and work environments that I will enjoy.

Anyway, that was way more than I meant to write. I really just wanted to share this song, "Watching the Wheels" by John Lennon. It was on the last album he ever produced, and it came out after he died.

I heard it on the radio the other day and I remembered how I used to listen to this quite a bit after I quit my last "real" job. Pretty exactly relevant.

The lyrics:

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind
I tell them there's no hurry
I'm just sitting here doing time

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

I found this demo version of the song on YouTube. I've never heard this version before and I really like it.

Sigh. Good stuff.

And that was me--I just had to let it go. And I don't regret it for a second.


bofroggy said...

My very favorite song of his :) Thanks for sharing this post, Jenn!

Tony White said...

Kant said that many false theories of ethics had been proposed, but the pursuit of happiness was the most of objecionable of all.

He would have said that you could get moral credit for "tearing yourself away" from your children and staying in your job out of duty, but you can never get moral credit for pursuing your happiness.

And the entire western world takes unselfishness as a virtue as the obvious truth of morality.

Aren't you glad you subscribe to an opposite philosopy?

Anonymous said...

motherhood is not a job but thank god we don't have idiots like you in the workforce

Jenn Casey said...

Dear Anonymous:

At least have the balls to insult me without hiding behind internet anonymity. Because I can't even really get mad--I'm too busy thinking you're pathetic.