Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Daddy Agonistes

As time marches on, I come closer and closer to deciding that what I want is not to go back to a regular, 9 to 5 type job. But I confess this is something that also makes me feel guilty. I would be making this choice because, well...I like it.

Yes, it sounds ridiculous put that way. Why should we feel guilt for choosing something we like? But this choice, while good in many ways (I'll skip talking about time issues) does have the problem of not likely to be making much money. No, we don't really need the income, but...there is a second-hand couch in the living room right now. If I was working it would be a new one.

It has to be said that even so, we could have afforded a nice new couch. But a thought that we needed to be more careful played a part in that decision, and the fact that thought existed has irked me more than I had thought it would.

And yes, I am well aware of the fact that not being able to afford a nice new Pottery Barn couch is really a pissant level of problem in one's life. But since it connects the issue of what I am choosing to do with my life, it gets a certain kind of magnification.

Of course, getting to choose one's life and having the option of not working full-time is also fairly close to pissant level on the Great Life Problems Meter. But, they are the ones I've got right now. And here I always hated those sorts of "woe is me, the SUV has a scratch and the lawn service can't come before the party this weekend" kind of yuppie suburbanite angst tales, only to find myself living part of one.

Where was I? Ah yes, life choices...Granted, my thoughts were leaning in the direction of getting an acting gig from time to time, and trying to write articles for a magazine, in addition to becoming a true Stay At Home Dad (though I guess that technically would make me a Mostly Stay At Home Dad, or MSAHD). That would make a few bucks from time to time, enough to provide us with some extras. I haven't the foggiest idea how much realism there is in that. I can write, and I can act, Austin gets a fair number of movies, etc. etc.

Can I demonstrate the discipline that writing real magazine articles takes? Its one thing to crank out something like this for a blog every few days. It's quite another to write long articles for publications. And just how good can I act? Better than average, but acting classes or no acting classes, there are a lot of good actors out there working as computer programmers or whatever.

Where did I start? Oh yeah, guilt. Yeah, I'm thinking of taking up a life choice that is, from my POV, very low stress. Nobody is on my case, almost all the deadlines are my own, the commute is very short, it leaves our weekends free, etc. etc (I rhapsodized about the sudden expansion of time in this older post). But the pay is low.

Man, this is a gloomy-sounding post! Thank God for proofreading (which will still fail to catch a missing word or extraneous letter).

I think they call this "buyer's remorse". You get it almost any time you make a major purchase, like a house or a car. No matter how much homework you've done, no matter how many other options you've looked at to arrive at the decision that this is the right one, once you've committed, you spend some time worrying if this really was the right way to go. Well, this is a lot more committment than a house or a car. I think I've touched upon this before.

I hadn't really done very much thinking lately along these lines until I started this post today. Something about writing forces you to think about things you skip over while making sure the chicken is properly defrosted and the celery chopped, I guess. Funny.

And now I can't figure out how to close this. I'm not as gloomy or angst-ridden as the first part of this post sounds, but just saying "I'm fine guys, really!" doesn't seem like its enough. Is this what they call writing yourself into a corner?

I guess it is. Well, yes, I do sometimes worry if I'm doing this just because its fun and easy as opposed to right, but I'd be less than human if I didn't. But I'm also determined not to allow myself to be guilted into a choice I don't want. I guess thats just going to have to do for now.


Anonymous said...

When I was finishing college, I had the kinds of skills (including test-taking and foreign languages) and GPA that I could have gone into some pretty high-paying careers. Law was the obvious choice, given my propensity to argue, and I probably could have done international law, or international business. I chose, instead, to go into something that has perfectly fine pay, but nothing like some of my other options. Had I gone that better-paying route, I could buy any couch I wanted. I chose to have a career I *like*. And that means I have time to sit on the couch. Isn't it better to be happy on a second-hand couch than unhappy in an office knowing that there is a nice couch at home?

Dewdrop said...

The grass is always greener, you can't have your cake and eat it....etc. The list goes on. We're never totally happy (in different degrees and for different amounts of time!) with our lot, if we humans are completely honest with ourselves. Deep down I guess it's just our nature. Whatever option you choose when you have a family you just have to ride with it - if it really bugs you, then obviously you need to act on it. I really don't think you should feel bad for wanting to do something just because you like it!