I Need a Vacation, I Mean, Vocation
Driving home from my mid-term this evening, it really struck me how tired I am of school. I am so tired. I usually like being a student (I have tried to view it as a hobby) but I’m nearing the end of my patience.
The reason I’m a perpetual student is because I’ve never had a strong sense of vocation. In high school, when the time came to decide what to do with our lives, I had no idea. I thought I might like to be a lawyer someday. There was no education fund, and I knew I would have to borrow, so I did a Legal Assistant diploma, thinking I’d work in the field and finish putting myself through school later. I pictured myself as a public defender, standing up for the rights of those less fortunate.
After college, I ended up working for the government for five years until the layoffs of the Harris days. In the meantime, I discovered an aptitude for, and interest in I.T. I ended up with a layoff from the public service that included money for retraining. I went to a private school and earned my IT certifications (a lot of work!), after which I was lucky enough to win a good starting position in a saturated and male-dominated job market.
Six years ago, it really started to bother me that I had never gone to university. Most of my friends had and I really felt like I was lacking something. I had always loved reading and writing, so I enrolled part-time in English.
I moved to Toronto five years ago and (after a short stint at the job from hell) ended up in a good IT position at a wonderful company from which I recently resigned at the end of my maternity leave. I don’t plan to return to the field (I’ve found the work very unrewarding for some time now).
In the meantime, I have been slugging away at school at night and will (hopefully) graduate in April.
School usually comes somewhat easily to me, but I’m finding the combination of summer-time classes and the demands of motherhood frustrating.
When Cakes goes down for her nap, all I want to do is nap or read a novel. Instead, I work on my term paper. When she goes to bed at night, all I want to do is read blogs or watch a movie--but I force myself to catch up on my readings. In a summer course, the course load is relentless.
This would all be good if I had a clear conviction of what I want to do next. But I don’t. I am 90% sure I want to teach, but I’m not sure what grade, or what type of school. I’m debating on doing my MA, but I really don’t know if I can handle more school right now. I want to be 100% sure of what I want before I invest any more time and money in education. I feel like I have been in school forever and I shudder to think of the money I have invested.
Work is important to me, but I’m particular about it. What I want in my work is for it to be: rewarding, conductive to family life, well-paying, fun, lots of vacation time, flexible, making a difference in the world. Is that a lot to ask?
I realize that I am privileged to be this picky about work and able to spend so much time in school to figure out what I want. I am very thankful for that.
The other good thing about my aimlessness is that it made my decision to stay home with Cakes a lot easier. I didn’t have a career I was passionate about competing for my attention. Again, I know how lucky I am to be able to do this.
Still, I wish I were one of those people who have a sense of vocation, the ones who have always known what they wanted and have focussed on building a career. I have done quite well for someone so scattered--it bothers me to think what I may have achieved had I been able to concentrate on one thing.
Luckily, I have a few years to figure this all out. I want to be here for Cakes (and possibly Number Two). I hope things will become clearer before I need to make any more decisions. I am thirty-three, which is still relatively young, and I have an incredibly supportive husband.
But. I. Am. So. Tired.
It is never too late to be what you might have been. -- George Eliot