Making living? Living a Life..

I wonder about the example I am setting for my kids.  I am glad to have a job, especially one that I enjoy most of the time.  After all these years, I am well aware that once every five to eight weeks I will be working a long week.  It does make you a bit tired and you aren't home much.  It was something we all voted on long ago, it beat the alternative of having several weekends a month when you could not make plans or do anything.

Hubby and I were very insistent with the boy.  Stay in school, focus on your grades, stay out of trouble and we would pay for the car and all monetary needs, while in high school and college.  We wanted his focus to stay on academics.  As a result he has never had to work a menial job.  His work career has all been in academia.  To say that provides a very tainted view of the work world might be an understatement. It also might explain why we have so many youth struggling to understand so much. 

I am torn, was I fair to him?  The other night when I got home at about 9:30 pm, he and I sat and talked for a few hours.  It was wonderful. Priceless.  When he was a little guy, he and I would talk for hours, about everything under the sun. So those snippets when we get to visit with each other and just talk make me so happy!

As we were talking he asked me a question.  My son is not a child, he's an adult in his early twenties.  Getting ready to start either a career path or another trip back into academia.  He has a lot of decisions to make and a course to chart.  He is good at planning out things, both of my kids are.  In the course of this conversation, he asked me if all jobs outside of college required you to work as much as I do.  I was shocked, perplexed and didn't really know how to answer for a minute or two.

I was a military spouse back before online college was available, I went to school forever, but was always having to start back at close to zero.  By the time I'd stopped chasing another person's dreams all over the world, I had managed to make myself sick and I was so tired.  I didn't have the energy or desire to start over again.  When I finally thought, hey I need to do this, I had a child ready to go and the expense was too much. 

I am not whining... personally, I am not sure that the "piece of paper" would mean I would work less hours, or make more money.  I work with a group of folks that are paying off college debt, that do not earn any more than I do and work just as many, if not more hours than I do.

The answer to my son ended up not being simple, but being honest. I choose to work for a non-profit.  I choose to work in a service industry.  Because I do, I accept that sometimes my days and weeks are long.  This week was long, full of some really long days. 

Some of those are by choice, some not.  I could decide not to teach my quilting class, but I do not want to, it brings me great joy and I am excited to do it.  I couldn't decide not to participate in the golf tournament, but it also brought me joy and satisfaction.  Some of the long hours are simply me, I do not like to do a job half way, I am dedicated because that is me.  He was the same when he worked in the lab at Loomis, he often put in long hours, he was on a mission to do something.

I think that I am being a good role model, I am teaching my children to do something they are passionate about and to do it well.  Does it mean that sometimes I am not home as much as I want or they want, of course it does.  Is that any different than a farmer plowing and planting for long days and nights trying to provide for his family?  Or a CEO off on trips trying to keep the business running? Of course not.  I hope the lesson they are learning is that the important thing is to provide for yourself and your family.  Not to expect a handout, that mentality doesn't do anything for anyone.

I hope they find something that fulfills them and makes it worth the effort while they get on about the business of living a life, I would say that most of the time... that is my life. Even when I would rather be home being a wife, mom, homemaker, gardener, quilter, knitter, cook... ah that list of dreams is endless.

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