Saturday, September 22, 2012

Running full steam ahead? I am going to stop! Are you?

We recently learnt that a 33 yr old man we know died of heart attack! He is survived by his young wife, pretty toddler and unborn child! It broke my heart to hear this news and I couldn't sleep for it! So the geek and I got thinking! Why is this happening to our generation? Why when we have made such progress on all fronts, longevity is now becoming an issue? And here is what we think!

We are a generation of over-achievers. Whatever we do, we seem to want more! Our needs and wants have grown multifold. We want big homes and automobiles. We want to travel and see places! We want to dress up and look good, we buy more clothes and shoes. We want to explore our palates and eat out. We want to party and make merry. We are not afraid to take risks and we do that over and over again financially. What we are really doing is hedging on our future! We hedge on our ability to earn and earn more in the future. So our present is filled with regrets about the past and worries about the future!

The previous generation saved up before they bought a home! But we are risk takers and go-getters.And guess what the banks, the country and the whole generation is with us on this. Success and Progress is important to us and we judge each other's and our own success by the amount of money we make and luxuries we afford! We have the need to do well at work. And with the sheer number of resources available today job security is unheard off. So we just work harder and harder and harder!

Our kids are our little clones. They run from one activity to another. They perform exceptionally at school, learn an art and play 10 different sports. Now this is a good thing. But this means everyone is always running to the next best thing! Before 30 and 35 this generation has done more than the previous generation did in multiple lifetimes. So naturally our stress levels are much higher!

Now I do not sit on a high horse and point fingers. I am part of this generation and very much in the core of the issue. So what do we do now? It is when we see a stark reminder like what we encountered that we start thinking. Where is contentment? Is it in our next pay check, next vacation or next pair of shoes? Or is it sitting quietly there in a corner of our head waiting for us to stop running and pay notice? I am stopping to look, are you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

I am proud of my choices! Are you?

I want to write this while I am still unemployed technically! Ever so often people would ask me "So what do you do?" and I would say "I am unemployed". They look shocked like I just insulted Me! And they overdo it! "Hey don't say that! You are a home maker! I know how hard that is!!" this guy tells me! His wife is a "Home Maker" too!
"You wouldn't call me that if you saw my home" I tell him
"Hey taking care of 2 kids is hard work" he says. I am thinking "Hey dude why are you defending my life choice?" but I say "Really, you would think! I point at my daughter with her messy hair and gooey face!!"
So all you stay at home moms out there! Is it just me or do you find this kind of talk patronizing? I don't care saying I am unemployed! Hey I made this choice and am proud to accept responsibility for it!
I spend some of my days running around my house chasing a 2 yr old! Its not hard work, its fun! I spend my afternoons listening to playground tales that my 8 yr old shares. I cook everyones favorite dish for dinner some days! I watch my favorite tv shows, read a book and catch a movie! Hey I am a bum some days! But guess
what I am a content bum!

I know things will change soon when I get back to work! I am going to feel guilty and miss this time. So I am going to have fun and enjoy it! I. In the process if I have a messy house who cares? I am having fun and that is important to Me!!! Is that so wrong? I am blessed that I can afford to be unemployed and I thank god for that! Let me have my simple pleasures of being jobless!! Don't patronize my choice!!

Now the flip side! Before that let me say my husband thinks I feel that way because I know the unemployment is by choice and not forced! I know I can go back to work when I choose too, so I am not dark and dreary!! :p Lol!!!!

Where was I ? Yes the flip side! Working women! I admire them, because guess what I have done that! I know what it takes to perform that juggling act. I know how guilty it feels and how tired you get! Give yourselves a pat for doing it! However I see these women who think they are successful just because they have a career and someone else doesn't!
Philosophically it makes me think! Are we out there chasing a mirage? I was talking to this middle aged lady recently. She is in the US watching her grand kids. Her daughter's in law will be here next. Apparently for a month in between there will be no one to support! She said "I asked my daughter to take a month off and she said I am not a stay at home Mom kind of person!" This lady said it with pride! But I was taken aback. So you are saying you have better things to do than spend time with your child? You made the choice to have the child, accept the responsibility that comes with it! And this is not just for women! So don't think I am not judging you men out there chasing careers!! I am
Sitting on my high unemployed throne and judging all of you!!

I know most women try really hard! I have friends who break their back and stress out about being perfect and balancing work and home! Some have chosen to work part time, work from home, take salary cuts, take breaks that will affect their career progression and do whatever it takes to make it work!

Now to the real question! Why are the women always judged no matter what? The working woman feels guilty of not being there for her kids (does the man feel guilty? Noooo!!) The stay at home mon feels victimized for not being successful! And most of the times it is one woman judging another!

So tell me what is success? Who defines it? Why can't we celebrate each other's choice and show solidarity? I am proud of having been unemployed! And I will be proud of my choice to work at some point! Are you proud of your choices too?