Am I Just Loco?

Being that my birthday is only a few days away and the one-year anniversary of our move to Jakarta is in August I am in a mental and emotional frenzy. My life is usually measured in terms of achievements over different time periods and I am not sure I will like the upcoming results. The weariness appears in my husband’s eyes from time to time when I ask him, “what have we achieved in our relationship this year?” I think he is somewhat tired of having to measure growth in our relationship but given that he is a Monitoring & Evaluation guru I am sure that on an academic level he sees the value in this exercise.

Right now though my focus is not on our relationship but is steadfastly pointed towards my career or lack thereof. My greatest fear in life is death, followed closely by a fear that at 65 years old I will regret not having done more with my life. Unlike so many others I never dreamt of being a wife and mother but instead dreamt of being a kick ass lawyer while representing my constituency in Parliament. There is longing for politics but no regrets that I did not go to law school or that I chose family over an
opportunity to sit in Jamaica’s Parliament. That said however, I am concerned that I do not have a career per se. Being a ‘trailing spouse’ it is hard to have a career but at the same time I feel the need to have a professional identity outside of wife and mother and certainly additional income is never a bad thing. But should I start my own thing or should I head back out there and get into an International agency or a Consulting firm? It is thoughts such as these that have gotten me thinking about types of workers.

Personally I need freedom on the job as I get bored quite easily. I need to be able to leave before 5pm (flexibility ro work from home is key to my happiness) and to be able to come up with new ideas and initiatives every few weeks. Paper bores me, routine drives me bonkers. While I need to leave before 5 pm note that my work output is always seriously high because while I am working I am completely focused and my brain works at mass speeds. Without tooting my own horn too loudly I can get things done and done well but I dislike sameness, endless meetings and too much structure. So I guess I have just limited my own options and really need to build my own
business.

There are other people who seem to fit well into the mold of work even if they hate working. My husband, for example, is a model employee. On the surface he may be described as a workaholic but I know deep down he doesn’t like the concept of going to work. His story is that his work ethics are unbelievably high – they are at a height I never knew possible. This sense of ethics manifests itself in a way that overrides everything else given that it is underpinned by a colossal amount of professionalism. I am always amazed by his ability to put aside everything and get the job done while motivating and demanding high standards from those he leads without driving himself and them crazy. As I told a friend recently when she asked how he liked his job in
Jakarta, “he has never met work that doesn’t thrill him”. After I wrote it I
reflected and realized that it’s not true.  He has met work that attempted to steal his
soul but he stood like a force of nature and worked at it as though his life
and last mango depended on it (those who know him, know his love for mango).
Every task and person is treated with equal importance and sensibility in his
world while in mine I become impatient and bored and feel the need to move
along or to challenge the system in very extroverted ways because of my belief effectiveness and sameness are not synonymous.

All in all we get the job done at a high standard but in different ways and with different mind sets.  I am a whirlwind while he is a calm lake running through the beautiful hills while the tribal people are at war with nature and themselves.

Who are you and what defines your way of getting the job done? Do you enjoy going to work? Would you miss it if you stopped? Am I crazy for wanting to give up my current lifestyle as a stay-at-home expat wife?

Until next time……One Love!!!!!

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6 thoughts on “Am I Just Loco?

  1. Yes you are crazy. To quote a friend of mine, ” the grass is always greener until you get to the other side and realize it’s all manure.” (modified)
    This came at perfect timing because I just found my journals from when I moved out to San Diego in Sept 08. I was obsessed with finding a job. Even though my bf was taking care of everything while I was get settled, I couldn’t stand not being independent and contributing my part. I drove myself crazy job searching and didn’t enjoy the beautiful city I lived in. I forced myself off the computer and to the beach to relax. I tried to talk myself out of my funk.
    As soon as I got a job, only a month later, which felt like forever, I felt stupid for being so obsessed over it. I didn’t want to work. I really just wanted the social interactions and commradery that work brought me.
    I think you want a purpose, and interaction with people on a higher level, and o don’t think going into a boring consulting job will get you there.

    • Diana you are probably quite right. A part of me feels scared of totally branching out on my own and feel as though a job is not for me so for now I will follow both paths and see where theyblead. In my mind I have a point at which I will make a firm decision on what I will do.

  2. I have great admiration for the many women who find fulfilment in the wife and mother roles, whether at home or abroad – but personally I need more. Perhaps it is just pride that I want people to know I am well-educated, hard-working and still running my own business despite 10 years overseas and 3 kids? But I think it’s more than that. Work gives me a focus and intellectual satisfaction that is hard to find in the every day. And yes, when I meet people I love being able to say “Actually, I run my own business”!
    Plus it is important for our children, our daughters in particular, to see that Mummies also work, and don’t just follow Daddies around the globe 🙂
    Find something that will engage you, challenge you and sometimes frustrate you – and let your kids see you bust a gut to make it work! x

    • Becky I think I needed to hear what you have said. My daughters do need to see me fight for something and make it work. I am fortunate to have a great husband but they need to be prepared in case they are not as fortunate. Thanks for the reminder…

  3. Hi there! I totally hear you! And I’m sure many expat wives can relate. I am actually helping my bestfriend in Sri Lanka going through something similar!

    Would you believe it if I tell you that for most of my relationship with my husband I was the workaholic (14 hours days at the office + work at home 2-3 hours more at home1-2 hrs commute which left me 5-7 hours for sleep and other things per day) and the over achiever! (I really thought I might be president one day =P) While my husband had a job which allowed him to sleep until 12nn everyday, swim before lunch and work from 430-7/9pm 4 days a week!

    Becoming a housewife drove me crazy at first and made me feel insignificant when I meet ppl socially and the opening is always “so what are you doing in Jakarta?” and I answer I’m a housewife. Their eyes start to glaze over and boredom sets in. Until one day the marketing/pr person in me decided I needed to be able reframe and verbalize the image I have of myself now. So I wrote it all down. When this was clear in my head and I was clear with what I was passionate about then who I wanted to be NOW flowed (lady of leisure + make a little money on the side via baking and blogging) I felt better and no longer ashamed. We are one of the lucky ones who can figure out what we are passionate about first then make money out of it.

    P.S. I highly recommend that you read The Happiness Project!

    • Diplowife thanks for the read recommendation – will check it out asap.

      I love the line where you said, “I needed to be able to reframe and verbalize the image I have of myself now”. In my humble opinion that is crucial for everyone to do from time to time in their lives. Bet you can guess what I will be doing tonight!!! Thanks for your input.

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