Freedom to Choose

My close friend is getting married tomorrow. I’ve had intense baby fever for the last year…I’m nearing 30.

I just got started freelancing. I’m pushing HARD to get to the point where I feel like a successful business woman…I’m nearing 30.

For most of my life, I would have scoffed if you told me that I would have to choose between a family life and a business life. A part of me still scoffs. There are plenty of women that do both. I know that. I know I could technically do it if I wanted to. But I don’t.

I’m an all or nothing kind of person. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. Either way, it’s me. If I choose to start a family, I want to be able to put all (or at least most) of my energy towards my family. If I choose to focus on my work, I want to be able to put all (or most) of my energy towards that. Both are a lot of work.

If I decide I want to start a family, I first need to start dating. I hate dating. It’s awkward and I’m awkward. Plus, dating is different when there’s an objective. In a lot of ways, it’s probably easier. You’re holding potentials to a higher standard. The cute, fun girl/guy that can’t get their sh*t together isn’t going to cut it anymore. You start considering values and crap. But once someone makes it to the next round, you need to be present for the relationship. At some point you’ll have to put in some work to keep it going smoothly. That continues into marriage, which is even more work. And then having kids…just the thought of it is exhausting.

But I’ve learned that one of the most important parts of life are the people in it. Dating is work. Relationships are work. Marriages are work. Motherhood (or fatherhood, for you men-folk) is work. I know that it’s work worth doing though.

On the other hand, there’s work work. Being a freelancer is rough. A lot of my time is spent hunting for clients and trying to get in front of as many businesses as possible. I work much more than 8 hours a day and still never know when I’ll get paid next. It’s unstable and risky and time consuming. But I made this choice and I consider these things good problems.

I should confess that there’s another motive there. My cousins, brothers, and I were all born within a 10 year period, so we’re all around the same ago. Out of all of us, I’m the only one without a college degree. I don’t ever really say anything about it or let on that it upsets me but, as you can probably imagine, it f*cking sucks. So of course, there’s this need to feel successful somehow. To make myself feel “good enough”. I’m quite aware that this goes against all the self-help books and “love yourself the way you are” cheerleaders. But sometimes you just want people to look at your life and be a little bit jealous. I know it’s petty. But it’s also true.

I want to be that powerful, successful woman that makes everyone else want to step their game up when they’re in her presence. That shrewd, composed business woman that runs sh*t. I want people that knew me in the past to say “Damn she really pulled her life together!”…I know very well that that takes an intense amount of focus and single-mindedness. That would be ALL I could afford to focus on, energy-wise.

But the stereotypical flip side of that woman is that she wakes up one day and realize something is missing. She’s not fulfilled. Wonders if it was all worth it. Suddenly feels empty. Stereotypes aren’t real people, though, and I don’t know whether women that decided to focus on their career get to that point. I don’t know whether I would ever get to that point.

At this point, I know that to choose one thing is to reject the alternatives. That’s a big deal. Especially when those choices are somewhat time-sensitive. However, at the end of the day I get to choose.

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