Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Laid Up With Too Much Time To Think.

“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and 
try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.  Do not search fo rthe answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” 

Right now I'm lying in my bed staring out the window listening to a building alarm going off down the street.  The chances of it going off anytime soon is slim, as it's 8:15PM and I'd say everyone has gone home for the day.  So I'll just have to sit here listening to it "weeeeeeow weeeeeeeeeow, weeeeeeeeeeeeeow" until it decides to shut itself off instead, which could make for a long evening.

It's still light outside.  Like LIGHT.  At 8:15PM.  This makes me very happy.  Spring is in the air, cherry blossoms are in bloom, the air outside smells like flowers and the trees are proudly sporting their beautiful light green leaves.  Yet I am in bed.  That's not really my fault though, I kinda have to be here.  I spent all day in a hospital yesterday where I went through some things that have left me feeling pretty sore and extremely tired.  But the good news is that I had an extremely attentive, patient and kind 'personal nurse' (PK) and I will make a full recovery - there, now, you can breathe again.  

I'm not sure what this post is going to end up saying, but I feel like there are some things in my brain that I want to get out.  Having spent almost an entire 36 hours lying in bed (granted, a good 18 of those was spent in and out of sleep), you find you have a lot of time to think.  Having that much time alone with your thoughts can be good or it can be bad.  Well, maybe not bad, but sometimes when you have a lot of time alone with your thoughts, you might not necessarily want to face some of the ones that crop up.  I do think they should be faced, though - don't you?  It's like asking the hard questions {the hubster and I actually bought this book when we got engaged and went through each question first apart, then together. It was one of the best things we did in our relationship, and made us think of things and face issues that we never would have otherwise} - those difficult questions that you are afraid to ask but if you do, will give you the answers that will inevitably make your relationship better or reveal that perhaps you're just not there yet.  And that's true whether the relationship is with your significant other, your best friend, or even your job.  Are you happy where you live, are you happy in your line of work, is there more you want from your professional life than you're currently getting, are your friends enriching your life or dragging you down?  There are lots of hard questions we have to face throughout our life and I think the hardest part of all is to actually face them.

(The building alarm just went off - praise the Lord).

Anyways, I've had a little time today to think of some hard questions and mull over what my answers are.  I'm not sure I want to share them right here right now.  But what I do feel ok sharing is that I wish I started college with the knowledge of myself and the world that I have now (I'm sure I'm not the only one to have this wish - surely others feel this way too?).  Almost 12 years ago (holy cow - 12 years ago.  I started college 12 years ago?!?!?  That's scary), I had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  None.  Some people know from an early age, but that was not me.  I went in as an undecided major and during my Sophomore year I picked media studies as my major because I loved everything it taught about:  film, advertising, graphic design, political rhetoric, etc.  I discovered the graphic design element too late in my college career to re-focus my major on it, it was Senior year when I took introduction to Photoshop with Prof. Johnson.  But it's the skill from college that I use most in a professional capacity (working for my parents has given me the opportunity to really get my creative juices flowing and also to tap into my love of graphic design, so in that respect it's perfect).  I also took a senior year history of modern art class which I loved. Another path I started on too late.  I sometimes have dreams of what life would be like working in a gallery in NY or Paris.  Le sigh....

And now, almost 12 years later, I think about what I would do if I was 18 and had college to start all over again.  I still love media - films have always been a passion and advertising was always intriguing and something I felt good at analyzing and interpreting.  But now I feel that I know so much more about myself and what I like and dislike - I know more of who I am and what I am.  Would I go back and do it differently?  Professionally speaking, absolutely. But I doubt I could do it without the knowledge I have about myself and about the world now.  Which puts us back at square one, no?  

I was lucky enough to work on a film (behind the scenes) back in 2009 when I was expecting the munchkin.  It was an amazing experience - totally exhilarating.  I learned a lot, I felt that I was good at what I was doing and had the timing not been what it was (5 months away from having my first daughter), I think it would have been a path I would have actively pursued.  But the nature of film work - in this country at least - doesn't mesh well with having a young family and having to pay through the nose for child care, so that dream has been set aside, for now.  

{And there goes the alarm again...weeeeeeeeeeeow weeeeeeeeeeeow}

Recently, I've been introduced to the beautiful world of interior design thanks to the amazing blogosphere.  Admittedly, it's something I knew nothing about - nothing - until about 2.5 years ago, but since then I've devoured every blog I can on the subject, and every magazine.  I live vicariously through the work of some amazingly talented designers who share their talent through the blogosphere (Erika and Erin are daily must-reads for me).  And I wonder what their professional life is like and I wonder what my professional life would be like if I had majored in interior design, had an NYC interior design internship and started my own company when I was in my 20's.  I know now what my tastes are (those who have seen our apartment lately don't judge - it's all a work in progress!), and I'd love to try them out properly with the right resources (and budget!).  But professionally, at least, that was not to be my path at this point in my life.  I don't want you to be reading this thinking 'gosh, is she ungrateful or what - has she not done anything she has loved?'.  I have enjoyed my work - the work I'm doing part-time now is professionally the most satisfying that I have done to date, but I am still looking to tap into that big professional dream that I think we're all looking for.  

I can say with certainty, though, that the work I'm most proud of, to this day, is asleep in her crib right now.  She's perfect, she's beautiful and my husband and I made her.  And that really is something to be proud of.  I think as a mother it's often really easy to downgrade our roles as caretakers and child raisers because we don't get paid to do it - and I also mean that for working mothers and part-time working mothers (like me).  Raising a child is tough - I think it's the hardest job there is, whether your a Mum or a Dad.  You're given this tiny, perfect little soul and it's your job to raise them, teach them right from wrong, teach them to be loving but strong, patient but ambitious, independent and proud yet humble, too.  You want them to be the best person they can be and most of the time you've got about 18 years to cram all this in before they fly the coup and test out all you've taught them on their own.  That's tough.  Some may think being home to raise your children isn't contributing enough to the world (I've been guilty of that thought before), but I'm contributing a whole person to the world - who knows the amazing things she will grow and do.  How could I give more?  And I have the best partner in life to be on this amazing, exciting, demanding and often scary job of being a parent.  Nothing prepares you for it and there's nothing like it. 

So as it stands right now, I don't have the luxury of picking a new career and giving it a go, of going back to school and starting again. I'm choosing to be a mother who works part time from home and for now, that's good enough for me.   And I know it's not good to keep looking back to the past but some days when you have nothing else to do your mind can just wander back there and it's hard not to say "what if I knew then what I know now" (wait, isn't that a country song or something?).  Life is about looking forward, about appreciating what you have and doing the best with what you've got, about living your very best life as the very best person you can be.  But sometimes looking back and thinking about what you would have done can give some clarity about where you want to head, about what you want to tackle next and what is truly important for you going forward.

And sometimes it's just nice to dream too, isn't it?


  1. Gosh Grace, I am so sorry you are laid up. I hope you have a speedy recovery and feel better soon!

  2. Ever consider being a writer...

  3. Totally could relate to your post! I was the exact same way in college. I loved learning and in a different life time I could see myself as a "perpetual student." I wish I had gone to Southeby's in New York to study to be an auctioneer... I sometimes still look over my massive survey books from Art History and wished I paid more attention or had a little more drive to do something with it. But like you, I realize I have the greatest blessing of all children.
    Thank you again for sharing. I love your blog!