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Desperate Working Mommas
Your one-stop site for fanatical television snarking, questionable political analysis, occasional attempts to address the parenting issues facing working mothers, and halfhearted promises to stop obsessing about the entertainment industry, already! Oh, not to mention the random bitching and moaning. There's always that.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Bad grammar and kick-ass vocals aside, these words? They haunt me.

All right, I admit it, I am definitely going through a phase right now. A phase of discontent, if you will. A phase of "Is this it?" A phase of "Life is passing me by!" A phase of "There has got to be more than this, right?!" Because, truthfully? There are times when I can't help but feel that I still haven't found what I'M looking for. GOSH! May I just say, there are bucket-loads of guilt attached to those eight words? Seriously. Bucket-loads. Tons and tons of guilt, people. Maternal guilt. Relationship guilt. Professional guilt. I mean, what?! I have three beautiful, smart, loving kiddos. I have a patient, sweet, utterly hawt TGIM. I have a supportive and loving family. I have a decent paying job doing something I enjoy. I have FRIENDS. So what the hell?!

I have thought carefully about this and I believe I have pinpointed the exact moment my current state of discontent began: it was a moment a few weeks ago when TGIM-- completely out of the blue, mind you-- began pestering me about my retirement plans.

"Hey, do you know when you can retire, Cat? Is it at twenty years of service or at twenty-five? How much money are you putting into your TSP again? Oh, and is your company matching your contributions? Wait, don't you have a federal retirement plan, too?..."

And there I sat, a captive audience, trapped in the car with this overly-aggressive Fidelity Retirement Avatar, and suddenly all I could hear echoing through the deep tunnels of my mind was "Twenty-five yeeeeaaaars... Twenty-five yeeeeaaaars... Twenty-five yeeeeaaaars..."

I mean, hello?! Twenty-five YEARS?! At ONE JOB?! Day IN, day OUT?! In the same CUBICLE?! GAH! *gasp* (Hold on a sec,... must... grab... paper... sack...)

At this point-- if I remember correctly, it's all a blur, truthfully-- I began humming to myself, "La la la la la la la... I'm not listening!... La la la LA LA LA!... Can't hear you!... LA LA LA!" but still, I felt it, this crushing weight descending upon my chest, a thousand pounds of responsibility and routine and, dear lord, commitment, and I couldn't breathe, but he wouldn't STOP with the talking about IRAs and domestic stock funds and brokerage accounts and the importance of properly managing my portfolio...

"Dude, you need to roll over all those retirement accounts you have from teaching in Arizona, you know? Have you done that yet? What about that TIAA-CREF account from NIU in Illinois? No? What about ARS? Huh?! No?! You really need to do that, Cat. Seriously..."

So, yeah. TGIM freaking freaked me the freak out. What was he thinking?! I mean, honestly. And I apparently have a rather HUGE commitment problem. Yep. Complete Commitmentphobe, right here. Because the thought of doing the same job for twenty-five years? Scares the bejeebies out of me. Heck, the thought of doing the same job for FIVE years terrifies me. Honestly. How is it possible that I have remained married for almost thirteen years?! It is a powerful testament of TGIM's stubbornness and long-suffering nature that we are still together, I tell you what. Well, and the sex. But still! Thirteen years! With the same man! But I digress...

So the discontent, it descended, and though I went about my day acting as if nothing was different, inside it felt as if EVERYTHING was different, completely out of whack, wonky, and that's when The Crazy began to set in. That's right, The Crazy. I hate The Crazy. It hurts. So I did what I always do when I feel It coming. First, excercise. Big lots. Like, say, Tae Bo or some Power Step. Maybe a long jog. Then, y'all? Then I went to my underwear drawer and I pulled The List right out of retirement.


"What is The List?" you ask?

Come on, The List. The List! "The List of Things I Want to Do Before I Die"? Yes, THAT List. The list on which items such as the following reside:

#4 Gondola cruise through waterways of Venice
#19 Backpack through Europe
#26 Appear as an extra in a major motion picture
#43 Publish a novel
#105 Kiss the Blarney Stone
Et cetera, et cetera, and so forth.

Because if I am supposed to work the same freaking job for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS I will damn well check off every single stinking item on The List, so help me God!

And because looking at a list of things I would like to do at some point in my life but haven't managed to do yet is SUCH a good idea in the face of debilitating depression. I know. I KNOW! The Crazy? She is a hard master.

So now, in the midst of all the remodeling and the painting and the moving and the spending I can add to the list "obsessing." Obsessing over all the things on The List that I would like to do. Obsessing about finishing that novel I started when TGIM just needs me to finish painting the bathroom. Obsessing about saving for a trip to Italy when we need to pay off that new bamboo flooring we're installing and buy school clothes for the kids. Obsessing about learning an entirely new language, German perhaps, when I should be brushing up on my rusty espanol. Obsessing. And all the while desperately hoping that these things will possibly fill this void, assuage this discontent, so I can finally feel as if I have found what I'm looking for.

Though on a rational level-- and here's the kicker, this I know-- I am pretty sure I have always known that what I am looking for has been with me, has been within me, all along.

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

link | posted by Cat at 7:14 AM

Blogger Nessa commented:

Hello, my long lost friend - I just had this conversation last night & it's my post for today - kinda - but anyway, I feel ya.

» 8/18/2005 7:49 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous commented:

Cat, check out a book called "The road less traveled" by Scott Peck.

» 8/18/2005 10:06 AM 
Blogger mrtl commented:

Maybe it's right here waiting for you. Whatever it takes, yo.

» 8/18/2005 10:54 AM 
Anonymous kalki commented:

See, and this is why I blove YOU. Because I totally get this. All of this. Especially the part about the 25 yeeaaars. That was a large part of why I left teaching after only 1 - I realized I was one year into a 30 year rut. No thanks! And the job I have now is grant-funded for only 5 years. And that was a PERK for me. That was a definite pro. Because that means I'll have no choice but to move on, and thus won't feel guilty.

I've often said (and now this comment is approaching Should Have Emailed length) that I really wish I could live multiple lives because there are so many things I want to do and I won't feel fulfilled unless I've done them all and yet so many of them are incompatible with each other! As in, I can't possibly do them all. So yeah, I still haven't found what I'm looking for either, and I'm not even convinced that I ever will. (Bummer, right?)

» 8/18/2005 11:20 AM 
Blogger Cat commented:

OMG, Kalki, you GET IT...
Validation. It is mine. Oh, yes. It is mine.

» 8/18/2005 11:24 AM 
Blogger Circus Kelli commented:

Cat, I would totally help you out somehow if I could, but as I was reading, I got stuck on that 25 years part and started thinking, "Wow, that's a hella long time and holy crap, I've already been at this job for 12 years and..." and then I passed out and hit my head on my desk.

When I came to, I vowed to look at courses at the local community college for the Webmasters Certificate program I abandoned two little clowns ago, cause, baby, if I have to sit and take and edit and publish meeting notes for the next TWENTY FIVE YEARS....

*gasp, thud*

» 8/18/2005 1:18 PM 
Blogger Ern commented:

I know what you mean. I always feel like I am closing doors when I make a decision. Which is what a decision means, I guess, but still...deciding to go to medical school meant that I would never do 1000 other things that had been a possibility. Getting married closed other doors (not that it isn't worth it, but when you factor another person into the life planning process it narrows the choices considerably). I'm 27 and I will probably never live in NY. Or in another country. I am not likely to find the time to hike the appalacian trail. Etc. And Etc.

» 8/19/2005 3:24 PM 
Blogger Amy commented:

Aye, Cat. Aye. When you are young it is all wide open. You could still be a movie star and a St. Bernard owner and a chocolatier and a wizardess. And then, year by year, that wideopeness shrinks just a little, then a little more, until you only have this one path, and maybe one other path if you can hold that one side open long enough....

BUT. If you are so inclined. You CAN get a shotgun or a course or a revelation or something and blow a big ass hole right in the side of the thing. Make a totally new path.

I've seen it done. It's awesome.

» 8/20/2005 5:36 PM 
Anonymous Di commented:

You have just opened Pandora's box for me. Now what do I do?

» 8/21/2005 3:00 PM 

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