Getting Back on Your Own Feet
Shanon in Simi Valley asks:
I have always been a creative person. I was a happy, earthy girl who loved to explore life and talk to people just to listen to what they had to say. I went through several office jobs because I loved working with people and I was really good at it. Being organized and efficient was my thing. I got married, had kids, and now stay at home. I rarely get adult interaction, and lost my spark. I have soooo many thoughts in my head as to what I want to do, but I never go forward. I think of my kids and my husband, and then halt. I definitely can’t see myself having a boss, so what’s next? I don’t know what I’m meant to do in life, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong that is keeping me from flourishing again. I turned into a hermit… lol! Help!
Being a good wife and mother doesn’t mean that you can’t have a life, too! You didn’t, and aren’t, essentially doing anything wrong. Actually, you are living a very normal and common challenge. While it can be difficult to get back “out there” after turning your focus to home and family, it’s very far from impossible, but the first thing you need to overcome is the mixture of guilt and fear that you have when it comes to creating change. In your head, even thinking about focusing more on yourself is some kind of betrayal. Rather than rock the boat, you just push it down, or away, and stay steady with the routines that are already in place.
Even though some members of your family gravitate a little toward the dramatic, don’t use that as an excuse to continue being a hermit. Talk to them! While not everyone is going to immediately understand your need for a life outside of your home, they will eventually come around and be supportive of your endeavors. But, don’t forget to reassure everyone that you aren’t trying to escape, but you are craving attention and activities that go beyond the boundaries of the life you all have created.
Understand that this is a transition that everyone is going to have to adjust to, so start slow, allow one thing to lead to another, and share your experiences. You still are a creative person with many interests. There will be times when you can involve your family with your new friends and adventures. Be consciously aware that you are expanding your life, not segregating it, and you will save yourself the hassle of anyone feeling excluded.
Since you seem to be craving social interaction more than financial gain, look into some of the more creative-based options being offered locally at the community college, or even craft stores. Photography and/or ceramics present as good options, because you will be exposed to people of similar age and experiences; as well as the “younger crowd,” which will also be good for you. Doing your own thing a couple afternoons or evenings a week won’t shake up the current routine too badly. It’s very important that you create a level of balance, or the guilties will kick in and you will once again drop out of life to quiet any family drama. As everyone adjusts, including you, you may start considering taking some educational courses; partly for fun, and partly to hone your business skills.
Another good, non-paid avenue for you is to volunteer some hours each week with facilities that focus on wildlife, domesticated animals, or something that is affiliated with national parks. This may be a little more time consuming, and more limiting with how many new people you’ll meet, but it is something that you would greatly enjoy, and it will really bolster your self-esteem.
If you want to throw some financial gain into the equation after you deal with the ripple of insecurity that trembles in your husband, look into some party-based opportunities. With a little creative advertising (which you have a natural talent for, by the way), you can be “hosting” several parties a month. You won’t have a direct boss, can create your own schedule, and will have a lot of fun and make a bit of money. Again, this is more of a part-time option, but it is something I see you enjoying. Do a little research. Several cosmetic companies offer such opportunities, but I see you gravitating more toward candles, jewelry, or kitchen and cooking items (Pampered Chef comes to mind).
Keep in mind, all of the above are just steps toward recreating you. It will be a few years before you really figure out what you want to do. I see you eventually wanting more of a full-time career, even though it comes with a boss and set hours. I can’t be certain of some of the specific details, but I do see you working in a medical office that combines health and beauty. Now, that could be anything from receptionist at a dental or plastic surgeons office to a sales professional visiting such environments, or anything in-between.
The bottom line is that it is time for you to start putting more emphasis on you in your life. Don’t be afraid to try several things, and don’t be fearful of making changes in your world that serve you.
It’s much better to make some quiet waves at home now than to let your desires for independence fester until they become a tidal wave of resentment. Staying still and quiet leads people to believe you are content—and you’re not. So, speak up and start living! The people who have become so dependent on you are the same ones who will ultimately give you the support and strength to chase your dreams, and even help you catch them!
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