The grass (or wall) is always greener... (Part I, OMG)

Back when I was working as a lawyer, I used to spend my days researching food and drug regulations, writing memos, writing emails, managing lawyers' (very large) egos, and managing the assorted needs of clients who want everything yesterday.  (Yesterday and for free, which, HAAAAA.  Each one paragraph email I write in response to your many requests for updates costs you $100 because the firm bills in quarter hour increments!  My best advice is for you to stop speaking and let me work!)  I would daydream about taking a "staycation" during which I could organize my closets and catch up on laundry.  Or!  Grocery shop sometime other than during the Sunday afternoon melee!  I had had the briefest glimpse of this life back in 2006.  There were about 8 weeks between the end of the contract on my first job and my move to Chicago to begin my next job.  I was young, single, and completely broke, but so were all of my friends, and I had a freaking BLAST.  My apartment was always clean, and I always managed to find things to do, even if it was just driving out to the outlet malls for a day of browsing among the moms with small children.  When I began dipping my toes into the waters of housewifery last year, I assumed that my experience would be just as gloooorious, and perhaps even more so, seeing as my husband still had income.  This was both true and, well, not so true.

You see, I had no idea how much not working would be a blow to my own image of myself.  Yes,  I was completely miserable and left because I could no longer stand living with my heart pounding in constant fear, thisclose to my next panic attack.  I really missed sleeping instead of tossing and turning, then just lying in a cold, gut wrenching sweat, panicking about the day ahead.  Going to the office should not be so painful an exercise that you circle the block a few times, working up the courage to scurry to your office.  Mental health absolutely should win out over a big paycheck.  But what comes next?  Once you choose to step away from the career you have been working toward for a decade, who are you?  This is where I am struggling. In the beginning it was fine, great even.  I was euphoric about the decrease in anxiety.  I loved getting out to run errands without traffic and making nice dinners that were ready before bedtime.  However, things get old quickly, particularly when you realize that the traffic-free hours around here are really only 11-3.  All these months later, I am having a tougher time finding a rhythm without the routine of going to an office.  It is so easy to stumble downstairs in the morning, turn on the computer, and fall into an internet wormhole.  It's a vicious cycle of unproductive days making one feel like crap, and feeling like crap making one more unproductive.  

I also kind of struggle with my own identity.  It's not 1950, so what the hell am I doing as a housewife?  It would be one thing if I had kids (and ohhhh, the rosey places that topic will take me), but for now, I definitely don't.  I was always a good kid, a good student, a rule follower, an organizer, a good employee.  And now?  Who, what am I?  What do I do, aside from stammering nonsense, when someone asks what I do?  I for sure do not want to go back to law firm life; I did choose correctly in valuing a life over a job.  But what do I want to do?  I know I have always loved, even in a legal context, editing; I often have blank page paralysis, but hand me something someone else has started and I will make it rock.  However, I have no training in editing, unless you count grammar dorkery (which Mark totally counts, particularly after the rousing discussion of subject vs. object pronouns last weekend, the poor thing), which makes it somewhat challenging to find work in the field.  I think I am at the point, though, where I need to do something to feel like I am actually contributing.  I just have to figure out what that is.

(Whoa, so this existential crisis was initially supposed to be about a refreshing of my kitchen decor, but went completely off the rails somewhere in the latter half of paragraph one.  Oops.  I was trying to get to the fact that instead of legal stuff, I now decorate my house in my head, occasionally acting on these plans when the budget allows.  I'll take up the kitchen decor issues in Part II, OMG.)


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