Sunday, November 20, 2005

Holidays, Marriage, and Compromise (But Not This Year!)

As you get older, you take on more roles, but rarely do you lose any. No matter what else you become - spouse, friend, co-worker - you still remain what you were - child, sibling. No matter how old you become, you always remain someone's child. It's a tricky act juggling all the roles that life throws at you. Marriage makes it even trickier, because with marriage comes compromise and a shuffling of priorities. While you can't neglect the needs of your other family, your spouse and your relationship with him/her has to become the top priority. You can't just do what you want or what your family wants. You can't have all the holidays.

The idea of sharing holidays has always been terrifying to me. I'm a traditionalist, especially when it comes to holidays. I like things to be the way they always have been. Unfortunately nothing ever stays exactly the same. The fortunate thing is that Thanksgiving was sacrificed to me long before I got married. Rice's schedule made it hard to get home for Thanksgiving, so only once in my four years at Rice did I make it. Living abroad twice rendered Thanksgiving somewhat irrelevant, since we had to push to put together anything even remotely resembling the holiday. So upon getting married, I was willing to give up Thanksgiving. Jeff and his family could have it. Christmas wasn't even up for negotiation, however. That was mine to be spent as I saw fit...which of course meant going to Louisville and re-living all the traditions I associate with the holiday.

This year, I'm lucky. I get both holidays. Unfortunately, the reason I get Thanksgiving is because Jeff is in Sweden and will miss it, which sucks, but I'm looking on the bright side here. Since I have a stranglehold on Christmas, there was no trading. And although Jeff's family is nice and all, I'm not really going to head all the way across the country to celebrate with them without Jeff. So the end result is I get both holidays.

And while I miss Jeff a lot and wish he were here, there's a part of me that's a little bit happy that I get to go celebrate Thanksgiving with my family by myself. Because I live some distance from my family, going to see them is an event, and it almost always involves both Jeff and I. I never get the opportunity to just stop by and see my parents and brothers. I'm always with Jeff and with my family. And sometimes that's tricky. So as silly as it is, and as much as I love having Jeff around, I'm kind of looking forward to just being home with the family and having the only roles I have to worry about be child and sister.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Feel A Winter Long Case of the Mondays Coming On

I'm feeling very down on my job lately. It's just not very fulfilling. I get up every day and go to work, where I spend most of my time just wasting it. More often than not, I'm the only one in my office, and even if the two or three other people who work here are here, I don't really interact with them that much. We all sit in our offices and do our own thing. Sometimes I do work, and I usually find some sense of accomplishment in that, but honestly I could get it all done in just a day or two each week instead of the five I spend here.

I feel like I should like my job. I like what the organization as a whole is trying to do. I like the people who work for the organization. But I don't feel like I'm actually doing anything worthwhile. I feel like I'm being under-utilized. Even though this job is different than the one I had last year, it's not really. It's still me and a computer in an office alone most of the time. And I don't think that's the kind of job for me. I think I need something more fast-paced, more people-oriented, more hands-on.

But what do I do about that? I only plan to be in this area another 2.5 years at the most. Is it worth it to go look for something else that I might not like anyways? Should I just stick it out here, because it's a sure thing? The salary isn't that great (it's okay), but they're already talking promotion. The benefits are okay. The commute's not bad. I get off the week between Christmas and New Year's. The people are nice. There's no guarantee that I'll find anything better. I just don't really like any of the options honestly. And Jeff might be right in saying that I'm pretty much not going to be happy with any job I'm going to find at this point.

What I think I want to do is go back to school and eventually become a professor. I think that is the job that matches the highest number of my desires: flexible schedule, hands-on, challenging, people-oriented, intellectually-stimulating, okay pay and benefits, flexible on location. But I can't do that until Jeff is done, so I have to make it through another few years. And I'm not sure the best way to do that. If I was getting paid a lot, I could say that I'm saving up for the future. If I was working in a field that I'd want to go into in graduate school, I could say I'm gaining experience. But none of that is true, so right now, I just feel like I'm buying time, and that's certainly not very motivating.

I think I must have SAD. Everything seems worse in winter.