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Archive for September, 2009

Epiphany

C sometimes asks how I know that I won’t get bored with raising kids. He’s right to ask, given the capriciousness of my interests (I lose interest in most things within a year) and the fact that it’s not like a job where you can leave and go do something else. I just realized the answer to this question. I’m going to take a brief detour on my way to explaining it.

I do not find my job fulfilling. I haven’t been able to put my finger on why — I figured, well, I guess I’m the kind of person who needs to make a difference in other people’s lives after all. But that didn’t ring true with me, deep down. I’m a pretty selfish person; working with people wears me out and I never had a lot of interest in helping strangers for helping’s sake — I feel like I should, sure, and I do here and there, but if I don’t have interest in something I just can’t do it. I thought maybe urban planning would be a good field to work in because I’d be planning things, which I like, and then I’d be able to go out and see the work that I’d laid out but I wouldn’t have to do a lot of the actual construction, which I’d quickly lose interest in.

The problem with urban planning is that after a master’s degree, you make less than I’m making now (and jobs are fairly scarce even in good times), so I can’t really justify it financially without being absolutely certain I’d love it, which I can’t say about anything. I’m applying to library school for many reasons, but I don’t expect to love the job; I expect it to be something I can do without going batshit crazy while I work with people I will probably like in a place I already know I’ll like. Plus, “librarian” is a very flexible job; many librarians work part-time, so I’ll probably be able to keep my skills up-to-date while the kids are growing up, which will give our family a backup plan in case C becomes unable to work.

Anyway, all this is to say that raising kids has one thing that my search for a tolerable job does not: a pretty much surefire investment in my future happiness. I’m counting fairly heavily on biology here, and I’m assuming I’m going to be a decent parent, but I don’t think these assumptions are unreasonable. And yeah, shit happens, but it’s a lot more likely that I’m going to turn out good kids and have that accomplishment for the rest of my life than it is that I’ll find a job I love for more than 30 seconds.

I don’t know if that’s a rock-solid reason, but it feels right to me.

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