Shame On Me.

This has bothered me for a few months now.  And I have avoided outright posting about it, but now feel compelled to post about it in the hopes of closure on the matter.

A few months back, I was at a social event.  At this social event, I encountered a woman whom I had met a few years back.  Still a lovely person. But something was changed.

When I had first met her, she seemed calm...  Intelligent...  Thoughtful...  In the five minutes I spent talking to her at this event though, it was clear she was no longer calm or thoughtful. Though, very much still intelligent.... Just extremely bored.

Here's what happened...

I was sipping some wine and chatting with her when up came the topic of "children."  The Husband and I have been married for almost eight years now. And while there was a year where we were trying to relax so that I could maybe get pregnant and have one, the majority of our marriage has been spent with no interest in having kids.  (At least not right now.)

My comment to the woman, in response to her question about if we were "planning to have kids," (which by the way, I have absolutely no problem with people asking me) I mentioned that I was living in NYC full time now.

"Why?" she wondered, logically.

"Because I had a great opportunity to go down there and work," I said. "I couldn't pass it up."

"Um," she said with a smirk, "You realize you don't have to work, right?"

This is where I got confused. Because the woman I had met years earlier would NEVER have said that to me.

But rather than get angry, I simply said, "Oh yes. I do realize that no one in life really has to work. I just happen to enjoy it. I've tried being a housewife.  I am not calm enough to do that full time. I'm too anxious and paranoid."

Total truth.  I am too anxious and paranoid to not work. And I was proud of myself for not snapping back at her.  I realized very quickly that when I met her years ago, her kids were still little.  Now, five years later, her kids are fairly self-sufficient. And I imagine she is a little bit bored. And now, instead of the "calm-thoughtful-intelligent" woman I remembered meeting... I was now interacting with the "bored-probably-on-anti-depressants-intelligence-lost-in-the-depths-of-the-boredom" lady.

But really, who am I to make that judgement? I am sure she is very happy with her life.

Why am I writing about this?  Well, because I recently had another similar experience where my reaction was "WTF?!?!?"

The Husband and I, since deciding to live in two cities, have had a few people taken aback by our decision.  They would ask, "Really? Why would you live apart?"

Perfectly logical question; that I recognize. The answer is, "I have the chance for even more success in the States right now. I am going to pursue it. My partner is very supportive of that."

And I had hoped that this would be enough of an answer for them. But it appears not.

"But your husband is so successful. Why would you even bother?"

This is where my husband jumps in with his response analysis of, "Even if one of us were making millions of dollars, we wouldn't expect the other to give up what they wanted to do just to follow us. If she were making millions of dollars, I wouldn't give up what I am doing to follow her.  If I were making millions of dollars, she wouldn't give up what she's doing... And why should she?"

I will note that the main reason we are able to live this way is because other than our house, we have no joint responsibilities.  We have no kids. We have no pets. No elderly parents to take care of. You know... Shit I would prioritize over my job if I had them.

It irks me greatly that it throws people off when they learn about our situation and they come across as, "that just doesn't make sense. It's not how it is done."

And then I slap my hands over my head.

Shame on me for wanting my own, independent success... And doing, ethically, what it takes to achieve it.

But now that I have finally written about it, I can let it go.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Chiming in with support for this! My boyfriend (partner?) and I have a house and dogs together. If he had an opportunity to pursue work that made him more fulfilled, why the hell would I suggest he turn it down? Ridiculous.

(On the other hand, we may be lucky with dodging ridiculous opinions, since we're not married to begin with and others' expectation is that one of us will bail as soon as something better comes along, anyway.)

Go on with your bad, bi-city selves!