1) Ditch the dream (not the American dream, your dream). Tell our children that following your heart is pointless and unproductive (unless you are one of the lucky few who’s heart wants to be something that earns a good deal of money so they can avoid the pitfalls of always living paycheck to paycheck – although there’s no guarantee that being doctor or lawyer will provide them with that security given that there are a LOT of people pursuing those career paths and before long the market will be oversaturated).
This means that rather than viewing jobs and careers as passions, we ought to view them as necessary evils. Put up and shut up, you know? “That’s why they call it work, honey.” How many times have I heard that one?
But why then offer our children all these choices if we are just going to take it away when they reach adulthood? It’s no surprise to me that teenagers and young adults are angry and rebellious! We sold them a sugar-coated story. We told them they can be anything they want to be if they try hard enough when the truth is they cannot. Someone who is not scientifically inclined will not survive in medical school.
It’s like when they find out there is no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy and that it was really just us all along. (Why DO we do that by the way? But that’s another post …)
2) Ditch the American dream. Stop trying to climb the ladder and feel okay about it. Downsize. Get rid of your worldly possessions (or at least most of them). And whatever you do DON’T BUY YOUR KIDS TOYS FROM CHINA! You are only feeding into the more-more-more mindset upon which our consumer society thrives.
3) Move to Canada. They have universal health care and are not a socialist country.
4) Exhaust myself so that I can pursue the arts on the side while also juggling work and a house with three kids and an equally strained husband.
Only I believe in my dreams AND have bought into certain aspects of the American one (white picket fences and manicured lawns slay me). I believe people need to pursue their passions. I believe that if you find the right thing you can work long hours because you are being internally fed.
I believe in the soul and that I’m here for a reason; and if I don’t fulfill the unique expression I have brought to the world this time that I am doing a disservice not only to myself and my family but also to the Whole. I believe in God and a higher consciousness or reality or whatever you want to call it – even if it is nothing but star dust and physics because Energy is still something. I believe in the magical moments as much as I believe there will be terrible, awful, dark and painful moments. To me, the two are not mutually exclusive, but rather necessities of our dualistic existence.
So I’m just stuck. I can’t get out of the rat race, but I don’t want to stay in it both because it is KILLING US, and I don’t want to run towards death all willy-nilly. I don’t want to waste what precious time I have on this planet. Time is slipping away too quickly and I have unfinished business, unrealized goals and dreams. And from personal experiences growing up I know the standard solutions are recipes for disasters.
Am I the ONLY one who is uncomfortable with this? The only one who wants to break the cycle even though she has no clue as to how to do that?
My husband complains that I complain too much about this topic (ahem!), but women talk things through. We need bouncing boards. We are collaborators. So, while I hope men get something out of this post, I ask for their respect, not dismissive comments that I am naïve or lazy or just completely bitchy. I’m none of those; I’m a mother of three and work full-time. Lazy is not possible in our house. I just don’t want to settle on suffering silently. That’s not naïve; that’s wise. When I’m 80 years old I want to see more than “put up and shut up.” Bitchy is a gut shot that doesn’t solve problems; only hurts feelings.
And, I would love to know what women think and where they stand on these issues because I’m sure I can learn from your experiences, too.
Maybe Sweden is the answer.