At a meeting today, I first heard the notion of our interests as being akin to bubbles. So, for instance, my job is a bubble? Chorus is a bubble? Church choir is a bubble? As I ponder the bubbles in my life right now, it occurs to me that I am in conflict with each of them to one extent or another. And what's worse is that I don't have any answers brewing in my head, no ideas about resolution at all.
It occurred to me that I rarely refer to my job as "my career". Maybe because I know that it's not what I was ever meant to be doing. I don't hate it. I also feel no particular passion for it, and I would not be bothered in the least if something were to happen that would render me unable to work in this particular field ever again. It qualifies as a "bubble" only by the mere fact that it takes up 8+ hours of my day, five days a week. I guess I've resigned myself to being stuck with this dead-end and not particularly well-paying profession. I have no choice when my spouse is the one who pursued his dream. I'm the stable one with the job with benefits. That's just the way it's always been, and you can't have both adults just going off and finding themselves.... can you? Not really.
So I try to turn to other bubbles for fulfillment. I have always loved to sing for as long as I can remember. I started in my church choir when I was 26 years old. I am almost 50 and still in the same choir, but it feels very different. I am having big conflicts with Catholicism. So often I sit at Mass and know that if there were no choir, I wouldn't be there. Twenty years ago, I would not have understood someone who felt that way, and the idea of leaving the Catholic church was foreign to me. Now I think about it constantly. I feel a strong connection to my parish because I grew up there, received all of my Sacraments there, but is that enough? What is the whole premise of organized religion?
The other chorus is a completely different set of circumstances. I am filling a role on the Board of Directors because I'm good at it. Ten years ago I dragged the role out of the 1970s and made it more efficient which, in turn, allowed me to be more responsive to chorus members. But ..... much like my job, I don't love it. I am now in my 11th year in this position. Probably the first five years, I challenged myself with new technology. For the next three years or so, I performed tasks out of a sense of duty, and also because of the environment of the Board itself. Sometimes Jupiter really does align with Mars, and you find yourself working with a group of people who work so well together that you feel really good about performing even the most mundane of tasks. When you feel as though the sky is the limit, you agree to do just about anything willingly, for the good of the cause. But, all good things come to an end, and I now know that one of the biggest challenges that we as thinking and feeling human beings will face in our time on this earth is to live in the moment. Recognize how great things are while they are still great, and relish everything about them. Nothing is forever. Right now, my reality is that I am continually asking myself this question..... "if this is supposed to be my escape from the mundane and unfulfilling work life, how can I measure its success?" How is it lifting me up and relieving from the rest of my day?. How can I ever hope for it to do so, when not only do I not like what I'm doing, but I've become so busy doing what I don't like doing, I've left no time for singing which is why I joined the chorus in the first place!
This all sounds like a bunch of whining. The problem is that I don't know the solution. It is very frustrating to be committed to something so much that you can envision a solution, but you know that it will never happen because there are too many egos involved. So, you are stuck trying to think of a lesser solution, but there really isn't one. Why is it that other people are allowed to attach themselves to a role in a group after 1,2, or 3 years to the point where it is unthinkable that they switch jobs, even if they are unsuited to what they are currently doing..... and meanwhile, here I sit..... ELEVEN YEARS!!!!!!!! Have I earned the right to be angry and frustrated about this? Has my behavior become increasingly erratic because of my anger and frustration? Yes, and yes. How am I supposed to feel when my only options appear to be ..... suck it up, or quit entirely? Both options make me want to throw up. This is what is supposed to help me deal with my family responsibilities, my crappy "career", etc ,etc. Frankly, it's a very deflated bubble right now.
I love my daughter more than life itself, and she is everything to me. I have a friend who makes me want to shout to the world that this is what they are talking about in books and on TV when they describe BFFs and the person in your life who really "gets" you... and loves you anyway.
With these one or two glaring exceptions, my bubbles suck. End of story. I can only put on my best Scarlett O'Hara face and keep telling myself that tomorrow is another day.