Carpe Diem and All that Other Malarkey

Carpe Diem.

Life is not a dress rehearsal.

The job will never love you back.

If relationships are what you will value most at the end of your life, shouldn’t you value them right now?

I quit my job. I did not have another job to go to. I was not fired. In fact, they were pretty upset and repeatedly asked me to stay.

Here’s the thing, I was beginning to resent the rest of my life for interfering with work. I HAD SO MUCH WORK TO DO ALL THE TIME and I was turning into a person I did not like. A person who had no time.

A person who felt really important with nice business cards and the best parking permit.

A mom who could not wait for Little Sir’s bedtime because there was work to do and I was all ready exhausted. Days were passing without me seeing him awake.

A wife who spent more time negotiating the weekly schedule and who would pick up take-out food for dinner than really connecting with my husband.

A writer who wasn’t writing. At all.

A woman of faith who fell asleep mid prayer out of fatigue. Or cut the prayer short because I had just remembered an email I forgot to send.

I turned to my husband one day as we stood in the kitchen frustrated over our upcoming schedule- CHRISTMAS was so inconvenient- and said, “How is this sustainable?”

That led to a conversation about why we were doing ALL THIS.

Isn’t the point of working hard to pay for what you need and give you some of the life you want?

We had all we needed (THANKFULLY because I know this is not the case for a lot of people and was not the case for us always either) and what we WANTED was being neglected by all the WORK.

I kept having visions of Little Sir’s eighth grade graduation, sitting there thinking I had missed all the fun parts. In my experience, parenting shifts dramatically with high-schoolers. One day you’re camping and making s’mores and the next you have to hide the car keys in case they decide to sneak out and go for a drive.

We did not have Little Sir at this point in our lives to miss it all. We did not receive this miracle of our marriage to never see each other. And with two very demanding jobs, we were missing it. I could not support Dear Husband and he could not support me. Or at least, not as much as we needed. Little Sir was saying things like, “I want to stay home with you, Mommy.” One day he said he wanted to come with me to my work because that is where I live.

Out of the mouths of babes.

While my career is important to me, I had learned the life lessons that motivate all those pithy quotes and fridge magnets. I had kids leave the nest before I was ready. I had seen family and friends lose too much of LIFE with work. I had jobs I loved that didn’t return the sentiment. I also had lived with plenty of money and been miserable. So I know generous incomes are only a means, not the true end.

And the true end I wanted- a vibrant family- did not require generous incomes (And just in case it needs to be said, I left my job because DH makes more and liked his job more than I liked mine.).

I have been off a few weeks now. There is no doubt this was the right decision for our family.

For now.

I will go back to work. I like working. I miss it some times.

But what good are all those life lessons if you don’t actually use the wisdom they provide?