Call me a princess, perhaps that’s part true. I’m not familiar with the daily work grind, it’s been many years, like 25. Oh I have worked, but not in a go-to job from 9 to 5. I didn’t like it back then, but I did what I had to do, until I didn’t. Work changed. I became a mom, and that was just fine.
We define ourselves by our roles in life, a hierarchy dictated by society, based on misconceptions of what deems us valuable or important or worthwhile. I’m actually not that shallow. But I grew up with the importance of status around me, so I learned to pretend what supposedly matters – a white collar, more than six-figure income, Volvo-driven lifestyle, however you can get it. I had it, I married it. So I made the cut, stay-at-home mother or not.
Life changed. I traded money for love, and I love it. But now I have to work. To say it’s an adjustment is an understatement. Part princess or not, I won’t lie, it’s hard. Self-sufficiency kind of sucks, but it’s time to evolve. If I don’t learn it now, I’ll have to do it again in my next lifetime, and I prefer to just get it done.
Let me qualify that after a long life in the meat grinder, my body has been very tired. Fibromyalgia and cancer, bodily afflictions and pain, working has not been the easiest. It’s hard to understand unless you have lived it, the pain in your bones makes you weary, the side effects randomly hit. Some days you can’t even move, but you don’t know what days those are until they happen. “Wow you look great,” is a compliment of sorts…but oh if they only knew. I’ve mastered the art of “faking it.”
I’ve dibbled and dabbled in whatever I can the last few years, intentions legitimate and efforts executed. I sort of have failed, resisting the challenge. Autoimmune disorders are ugly, and the work world for me, felt the same. But I’ve tried. I have searched for the right type of option, the one that will mesh with my vibe, the one that will fit with my life. I’ve definitely worked but not for real pay, apparently I don’t really count. I live in the gap.
I can now safely say, the work world does not really give the gap on the resume a chance. But the gap is where it all lives – the hard-core heavy learning, skill-building, talent-magnifying parts of life that create the wise, seasoned, incredibly-adept-at-life candidate. Nobody seems to care.
When we moved to our seaside village, I was offered an opportunity to work at the little, local independent bookstore, quaint and picturesque. I took it, one day a week, Saturdays of course, no one wants to work weekends. But I have sustained this role for almost two years and in all honesty I am surprised. I have picked up more hours, but not the best ones, it’s ok I’m doing my part.
I’ve learned quite a bit but not about books. Well that too, but also about me. I am honing in on what I feel in my heart to be true, what my passions are, my strengths and my weak spots, and I am thinking about how to succeed. Success is not measured by dollars, but by our own internal barometer of how we value ourselves.
The last couple of weeks I have picked up several shifts for my counterparts who are traveling world-wide. I would love to have the chance to travel someday, but for now that is not my role. So I’ve been working almost daily – a new experience at this stage of my game. I have fought my way there each day, body and mind pulling me back, commitment and courage pulling me forward. I feel like I have no choice, our income demanding my help. I don’t really like that, it’s un-preferred pressure on a struggling body and enervated mind. But I’m doing it. I’m doing it. This is a big deal.
I’ll always be part-princess, of this I am quite sure. My path undetermined, my determination quite clear, I am learning so much although so much later in life. We can learn until the end if we allow it. And I surprise myself when I say this…I’m in.