40. It’s been a mixed bag of emotions. It’s been a year of (unintentional) change, and more importantly, growth. It’s been both scary and cathartic. It’s only taken 40 years, but I’m finally figuring out who I am and who I want to be. I’m not quite there yet, but I think I’m on the right path. Ok, I hope I’m on the right path.
The biggest change this year, thus far, has been work related. For years I have associated part of my identity with my work. Even as Josh’s salary has increased and our need for a second income has diminished, I’ve felt the pressing need to continue working. It’s who I am. It’s a part of me. I’m terrified of the idea of not being a working mom even though we all know being a stay at home mom is a full time job in and of itself.
However, it’s grown increasingly hard to manage a business from 4000 miles away, the kids (very) crazy schedules, and our life in general. I haven’t been able to dedicate the time that it deserves and my sales have been reflecting that. I’m also at a point where I know this is no longer where my passion is… only I don’t know where that is either. What do I want to be when I “grow up”?
I don’t know why I’ve been afraid to give it up. Maybe it’s because I don’t know the next steps that I’m afraid? Maybe it’s because I’m afraid that I won’t be any happier without it? That the sense of relief that I’m looking for, the release of an obligation so I can reshift my focus, won’t actually be there? Or is it because it’s something that keeps me tied to the US in some way? It’s something that makes me feel like more than… more than what? I’m not sure. Is being a mom not good enough? I’d hate to think that.
But I’ve made the decision and am now in the process of selling my business of 12 years – in fact as of today, the contracts are signed and pending any disasters (which I hope there will be none), we will begin the transition on March 1 – tomorrow!!! It’s both scary and exciting. And a lot more emotional than I expected it to be!
In my almost 6 years of living abroad, I’ve learned a lot about myself. But have I not learned that my identity shouldn’t be based on what I do for work? I guess perhaps not. Or maybe I’m finally getting there. Is finally pulling the trigger on this change what I’ve needed to recognize that there is more to a career than “just” working?
At the same time, I’m excited for this new chapter in my life. I’ve never not worked with the exception of about 3 months in between jobs in my early 20s. The kids, especially Liam, need my attention these days. I want to be able to give it to them 100%. They will be young only this one time.
And while I won’t be getting a salary in the immediate future, it doesn’t mean that I won’t be out looking for the “next thing” because that’s exactly what I’m doing. My kids are the priority but at the same time, so is finding my “second career”. I want something that invigorates me and excites me in a way that my work has not done in a long time. I know it will be a process and I don’t expect it to happen overnight, but I’m putting some pieces in place to get to that next step. I’ve already joined a group of expat women looking to make career changes and, in addition, I’m working directly with a career counselor once a month for some much needed guidance. The big question is, “what direction?” because I don’t know!
Knuffels en kussen,