Our vacation was great. Fantastic. I love spending time with my family and this may have been one of my favorite trips yet. Rob and I had a few days alone at the beach, and then a week with a ton of my family by the pool. The grandkids are getting older (I'm the oldest, and the youngest is 16.5) which means (thankfully) less drama and more drinking! Nora loved all the attention and of course, everyone loves her. I need to do a separate post of all the adorable things she is doing now, because she seems to learn something new every day.
It has been really hard coming back. The vacation was great, but rather than "recharge our batteries," our time away has put into perspective how unhappy we actually are. Our lifestyle just isn't working for us, and we need to figure out how to make some changes. Of course not every day can be full of food, fun, and recreation, but we shouldn't dread our everyday existence either. There has to be some middle ground.
Don't get me wrong - I love my little family very much, but there are a lot of distractions and misplaced priorities. I am proud of what Rob and I have accomplished together, like buying our first house 4 years ago, or having careers with good futures. But being "proud of" is different than being "happy with," and I think we are starting to get that. What are we working towards anyway? A bigger house? A newer car? 50 more years in jobs we can't stand?
Looking at my mother and her siblings (and Rob's parents), this point is illustrated even more. My mother and her older brother both work corporate, professional jobs in high tech (as a service manager and program manager, respectively). Both have played the corporate game and climbed up the ladder to relative suburban success. Now? Both are burnt out and tired of all that. My mom's younger brothers are a teacher and a self-employed locksmith, respectively. Both love their jobs. Both are more or less as successful (based on your definition of success) and the other two. Maybe the money is less, but the (job) happiness is greater (again, I think my mom and her brothers are all relatively happy, but the younger two certainly win out in career satisfaction).
So what do I do? I feel like I am young enough to try something else and still come back to this if I need/want to, but there is always that concern that you shouldn't leave something stable and promising for something as frivolous as job satisfaction.
If money were no object? I would love to have a small business. Something creative. I've always dreamed of being one of those stay at home moms who made ends meet by doing this and that. Or the professionals who manage to fit in early morning surfing sessions before they head to office (another post, but Rob and I did surf and while I suck at it, it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped. Something about being surrounded by ocean made the lack of catching waves incredibly worth it. It has been a long time since I felt that at peace). But on the other hand, I like health insurance. And I have bills to pay. I keep saying that I need to sit down and figure out priorities and implement a strict budget to achieve those goals, but... I put it off time and time again - because I secretly fear that I will discover there is no way out. But there has to be a way, right? Even if it's not something that can happen right away... there has to be a way to a different lifestyle, somehow? I hope.
Frank Turner gets it.
If Ever I Stray