I've had the last couple of days off work to deal with the previously mentioned family issues. Most of it was spent waiting for a phone call, or worrying about my mum, which is pretty draining and led to a healthy dose of napping with the dog.
It's been pretty emotionally taxing, and it's shown. My wife, always my strength, always my rock, helped me through Monday evening. The flashbacks were strong that night.
But yesterday after an afternoon nap, I got the news that my grandad was ok. He'd still be in for observation for another week, but was passing all the tests and making all the right progress.
(Side point: I'm not overly patriotic, and find the concept kind of gross, but the NHS is one of the few things that makes me proud to be British. It could always be better, but it's is always there.)
I was talking with my wife about future stuff, and, well, spousal stuff, and she came out with 'I want to make you a house husband one day.'
'Why's that?' I asked.
'Because you're good at it, and you're so much happier when you're not at work.'
One of the few ways that I fit into the lazy millenial stereotype is the idea that I hate work. I honestly can't fathom the perspective from which a person that they prefer to work, especially the older generation holding on to every hour they can crank out before retirement.
I get the statistics. I get the concept that people keep working till they drop not for the money, but because retirement can be a killer. The lack of routine, the lack of out of the house socialising, even the lack of exercise in some cases.
But all I think is 'then make a change'.
How is it that as a species we can still hold on to the idea that work is great? How is it that there are genuinely some people who can't think of 15 or 20 things they would rather be doing with 40 hours of their life per week (not including any commute or setting up time) than working? Political aspects of low wages and poor rights in some areas aside (looking at you, America, and your at will employment for starters), how is it that people would rather work than live?
As I typed this, though, the mask dropped. My issue isn't work, or the concept. The issue is I still haven't found that job that makes me want it long term.
And I have no idea how to find that.
I used to. I was laser focused on being a doctor, until I buckled under the pressure and screwed up my exams. Then it was a musician (lol). After a few years of unemployment, it became 'whatever job wll take me and pay my bills', and that right there was the death of my aspirations and direction.
I didn't know which way I really wanted to go, I just knew it was a different direction to the way I was going.
There was software development, but I nixed that when I couldn't keep up with the extracurricular study outside of work, and didn't pass my final university module, leaving me with a BSc and no honours. I was a business analyst/scrum master/project manager for a few years, and enjoyed it, but there were more than a few questions of an early grave over the years. And now it's networking, and that's ok, but.
That lack of direction has been killing me for a while now, and way before this job. I keep thinking I'd found it, only for it to be found wanting a couple of years in (or else snatched away from me).
Even as I type this, my inner critic is saying 'So? Who has it all figured out at your age? Who realistically sets themselves up in a career path for life at all?', whilst my perfectionist screams 'I can! I will! Just let me!'
Then there's 'Focus on the now not the imagined future. Be grateful for what you have', and the counter 'I'm grateful for what I have, but is it too much to ask that my day isn't such that my wife can see almost a completely different person on a day when I'm not working vs a day that I am?'
As always, I think the answer lays somewhere in the middle.
I don't need to plan out a career path ten years into the future and lay down expectations that it must be followed to the letter. I already have plenty of rods for my own back; I don't need another.
Add that to the fact that I am in an incredibly fortunate position, not just by living in the first world, but by earning what I do which combined with my wife's earning has allowed us to live a life we didn't think possible growing up in poverty.
I can, however, look to find happiness in my role. I can look to my strengths and my weaknesses; my experience and my learnings; my hopes and my desires. I can explore new roles, try things out, and if they don't fit as well as I'd hoped? That's ok.
Try, try, try again.
I can be grounded and aspirational at the same time. I can be grateful and overjoyed at the opportunity to provide a life I didn't consider possible, whilst also looking for a way to be that happy man my wife saw last night more often. Consider my options, cast a wide net, see which direction looks good and realistic.
And I can be that happy man more often by staying grounded, staying grateful, and reminding myself that while there are a great many things I would rather be doing than logging on first thing in the morning, I wouldn't be able to do most of those things without logging on first thing in the morning.
None of which stops me waiting for the day when I don't have to work, but it might make the preceding days better, for me and the wife.
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