Post # 1
I was inspired by a recent bee’s post along these lines, and thought I might open the conversation further. Use this space to list at least one thing that you’ve always been made to feel as though you should strive for out of life, but which maybe didn’t turn out to be what you actually wanted, and follow it up by listing at least one truly satisfying aspect of your life that you were never told/never thought to hope for. And if you want to elaborate, by all means, please do!
I’ll go first:
1.) -To use my degree in literature/creative writing to climb the academic ladder to the level of a super-duper important tenured professor (because getting a novel published is a pipe dream and teaching is what realistic people who are passionate about literature do).
-To sporadically date a whole bunch of dudes over the course of ten-ish years while I simultaneously “find myself” before committing to the “right” one and getting married sometime in my late twenties.
2.) -Actually just enjoying learning about the subject I’m most passionate with no expectations beyond that and then getting a job in a completely unrelated field that gives me time and headspace to work on said pipe dream.
-Stumbling upon the love of my life at nineteen and putting some serious work into keeping the relationship strong over ten-ish years while simultaneously “finding myself” as an individual and as a partner—and delaying getting hitched until we’re both in our early-thirties 🙂 .
Can’t wait to read your responses!
(Note: These responses are meant to reflect individual experiences, not to cast shade on what others may or may not have found fulfilling)
Post # 2
I have two:
1) Children. I’d say the vast majority of people I’ve spoken to about the subject have made me feel as though I should want kids. I don’t. My husband doesn’t. We lead rich, fulfilling lives with hobbies, friends, and careers we enjoy. We have a ton of fun with our nieces and nephews. There’s never been a moment we’ve felt like we’re missing something. To the contrary, we know that having children would require lifestyle and financial sacrifices we’re not interested in making.
2) Career aspirations. While I understand that with my academic credentials, I could have graduated from law school, made myself a slave to big law, and had a high(er) powered career, I am content on a non-partner track and with the role I found in-house. I have a solid 9-5 with great benefits that pays well enough, but doesn’t have as much potential for growth as many other attorney roles. I don’t want that grind life though. I appreciate having my work-life balance firmly intact, which means significantly more to me than working 70 hour weeks for a bigger paycheck.
Those are just a couple of things that I find are commonly mentioned or brought up by friends and/or family. I am 100% a proponent of people living their best lives according to what they choose to prioritize. Even if it wouldn’t be my personal choice, if they make it happily and willingly and it’s floating their boat, how could I possibly fault them?
Post # 3
Fabulous—it takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you want in both of those areas (work/life balance is not something that is necessarily valued in the law world and I certainly know how persistently “bingoed” CFBC couples find themselves just about every time they set foot out the door!). Well done you!
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2015 - City, State
I am going to deviate from the formula set up by your inquiry because I genuinely don’t have anything in my life that fits either of the two prongs. Like PP I too was told I should want kids. However, I never wanted them and never wavered in my stance. So it’s not something that “turned out” to be something I didn’t want. It was always what I didn’t want.
The most satisfying aspect of my life is that I live it completely on my own terms. But I was raised to live it that way and I think that’s the right way to live life. I’m not one to be swayed by other people’s beliefs and I don’t give a crap about other people’s opinions of me. I will say that I have always been a very liberated individual who is not constrained by other’s expectations. I think outside the box and don’t wait for other people to tell me what I should expect out of life. I have achieved everything I ever hoped for and I did it all quite intentionally and deliberately. I’m decisive and don’t spend a lot of time waffling, wondering what I want out of life.
Post # 5
Travel. Everyone seems to enjoy travel and they’re supposed to be life-changing, eye-opening milestones and whatnot…
Don’t care for it. I get motion sickness, first of all. Then after getting to the destination, unless you know locals and all the best spots, it seems silly. (And most people I know see things, take pictures, and… have the ability to truthfully say, “I’ve been there!”)
Reality is, I’d rather stay home. And use vacation time to spend with people I love. And do the work I love.
Post # 6
Dear Inevitablehappiness: I am writing this only to say THANK YOU for pointing out that not everyone loves to travel! I have always hated it!! You are the first person to validate my feelings! There are so many things about it that are unattractive to me. (I’m speaking of prior to COVID when one could go anywhere, anytime.) It’s so darned expensive. The lugging of your stuff all over the place. The packing. The unpacking. The mountain of laundry when you get home. All the preparations you have to make before leaving. Making all the travel arrangements and planning the trip. Nightmarish airport experiences. Unfamiliar beds in hotels. Sometimes with bedbugs. Shower drains that don’t drain. Constipation from being out of your groove when it comes to meals. Horribly crowded places packed with tourists. The mind-numbing endless drives if you choose to go that route. The driving for miles on end, and not finding anywhere to eat besides Mickey D’s. Pickpockets. Messing around with customs, passports. Dealing with whining kids (your own and others’). Longing to just be at home again. The long lines for everything. The tourists all taking pictures of everything with their phones, instead of just enjoying being where they are. Putting up with 90 degrees and humidity. Visiting relatives and wishing you could escape them after a few hours. Dealing with car rentals. Dealing with situations like breaking your arm or having a heart issue far from home. Depending on where you are traveling, fear of terrorism, detainment, etc. I’m sure I forgot some things, this is just a partial list. 🙂 I am seriously happier just watching a Rick Steves travel show or seeing the beauty of Hawaii on an old Magnum PI rerun with Tom Selleck. Okay I’m done.
Post # 7
1. Kids. I’ve never wanted kids, never had a desire to br a mother, never wanted had that urge to hold babies, etc. I love being an aunt and spoiling my neices and nephew. I’ve been told by people “that will change with time” “when it happens you’ll change your mind” “you’re still young” “what Will you do with your life” “who will take care of you when you’re older”
2. being a dog mom / I know I’m going to get so many eye rolls for this but I have learned how to love myself, care for myself and enjoy life. My dog and I hike, we run, we explore. I volunteer at the local shelter, I donate and j smile. In addition I’ve been a better partner to my bf and have learned to make our house more of a home.
Post # 8
Yeah, I hear you, travel being crucial to self development is a total fallacy—I mean, I’ve loved all of the trips I’ve taken, and it’s been great to see some different landscapes and gather the perspectives of other cultures, but a wider sense of perspective can totally be cultivated without dragging yourself around the globe, and I hardly think wanderlust should be seen as something that anyone necessarily suffers without (the inherently privileged perspective of the whole Eat, Pray, Love
idea is also somewhat problematic).
Post # 9
Awwww! I have always an animal-lover, and although I’m not actually CBFC, I’ve never liked the way that pets are often seen as “substitutes” for children by people who think that a person’s life is incomplete if they choose not to have kids. I think it devalues the relationship pet owners have with their animals—it’s a totally different love than parents have for their children, and that does not make it a lesser thing!
For a CFBC person it’s arguably kind of the point, lol. Caring for and bonding with an animal (or many, many animals) is a very unique, incomparable experience. I’m glad you’re enjoying it so much!
Post # 10
I admire your fortitude, and think that ideally we should all “live life on our own terms”. Unfortunately, many people spend a lot of time not even having a clear idea of what those terms really are because they’ve never thought to ask themselves.
Post # 11
I come from a fairly work focused family. Strong work ethic. Overachievers. And I have been successful. Early to management. Increased roles & titles. Advanced degee. And then I had a health scare that nearly killed me & has left me with a different view on life. It’s been a year & I have stepped back in my career. Taken a staff position and am fairly content. People keep asking me about my next moves & I don’t know what to say. For now, I’m just chilling. Waste of a very hard earned advanced degree, but I do feel at some point I will return to being the “successful” person I once was. But, well, maybe not
Post # 12
I think society puts a lot of pressure on us to be “productive” to have value. Honestly, the goal for me is to get to a place in my life where I don’t have to work so hard, and can travel and relax more. My GOAL is to have days where I can just read a book and lounge around or do whatever. I feel like even if you are financially secure, there’s pressure to throw yourself into starting your own business, volunteering a ton, joining the pta, etc etc. If you want to do those things, great! But I don’t want to be busy and stressed just because society tells me that’s the only thing to value about me.
I saw a great quote online that sums up the attitude I’m trying to have more “I say no not because I am so busy, but because I don’t want to be so busy”.
As far as what fulfills me- relationships and experiences, but I already knew they did. To be honest, I do also like working and I enjoy the feeling of a job well done. I just want it to be fully on my terms one day, and to know that even if I spend several years not “achieving” anything, my life is valuable and meaningful and important.
Post # 13
Mine has sort of come full circle. I always imagined being married and having kids. Doing some kind of professional job.
Had my son at 18 and my daughter at 24. Didnt get to finish college. Did ok for myself, but was always limited.
By my mid 20’s I was a single mom of two. I had no interest in dating and thought I might just be single forever. I put a ton of effort into work and career and building a life for my kids and I. Was single for 7+ years and basically a mom and workaholic.
By my early 30’s I came to realize that i had overprioritized work (while still being a good mom) and that having friends/a social life was actually important. I started making friends, getting involved in the community, etc. But I was still single. I enjoyed being single but was open to the right person. They just took a LONG time to show up.
Met my husband in my mid 30’s, married. Went back to school and finished my degree. Dramatically increased my income with a lucrative IT job. We are now TTC a baby together.
So my life now is kind of what I always hoped for… thought I would never get… and have the chance to finally have. Sort of a ‘god bless the broken road’ situation for me 🙂
Post # 14
Going to the top of my career field and being making a ton of money. I’m a woman in a male dominiated consulting field and always had this plan of making it to the top and being an executive. Now that I’m in it and see all of the after work networking upper management has to do to stay active and market to new customers, I just am not interested. I live for my weekends and evenings and being in upper management in this type of industry involvings joining professional groups which meet in evenings, going to social networking events (not so much now) and just so many things beyond 40 hours in general. I love what I do and make a compeltely respectable salary that the extra money just is not worth it to me to not have that work-life balance I want. I’m totally happy staying in middle management.
Maybe I won’t have a million dollar home or fly first class to Bora Bora, but I’ll still be able to enjoy my weekends, am able to travel a few times a year, and happily live in my HCOL area.
Post # 15
This is a great reminder that the first part of a story doesn’t invariably predict the conclusion (or even the middle…or maybe the second beginning in your case 🙂 ).
“going to social networking events” = my version of hell, lol. I don’t blame you for not wanting to sacrifice your time off for those, even with the extra dough. Sometimes enough money is just…enough.