All the news about the economic crisis, mortgage woes, and dwindling jobs has got me thinking about my economic future. It's hard for me to admit and accept that at 27, I'm unemployed with little to no prospect of finding a serious job anytime soon. It just crossed my mind today that this will be the first year since I was 17 that I won't have to file taxes since I haven't and won't receive a paycheck for an entire tax year. I don't want to sound like Debbie Downer, but that's a really hard pill for me to swallow. I realize how lucky I am to be in my situation, living in a fantastic city with the love of my life, where finding a job isn't currently a pressing issue. I've got it pretty good. But, I've never been a stagnant creature; if I'm not being challenged, pressured or educated, I'm not being fulfilled. For the past ten years, I was either working full-time or going to school full-time and working part-time. I might have been exhausted every night and cursing the day I decided to take 18 hours of school, work for 20 hours per week while interning for 10 hours a week , but I was accomplishing so much! I felt so great after finishing that crazy semester, relieved, too, but mostly successful. Nowadays, my success is (self-)measured by how good dinner tastes or how many shirts I iron in a day. It's really hard for me to believe how much my lifestyle and ambitions have changed.
Like most kids, when I was young, I wanted to be everything - a teacher, a designer, a CEO, an ambassador, a surgeon, a lawyer, a politician - and I somehow never grew out of that phase. I still find myself wondering what in the world I'm going to make of myself. There are so many ideas I have floating about in my head about what direction I should take in my career, but nothing stands out as the one path to follow, and of course, none of my options seem attainable given my current circumstances as an unemployed, non-French speaking housewife. I'd really love to go back to school, to get my master's, but even deciding on what to get it in and which schools to apply to is just as daunting as anything else.
I know I'm not doomed to be a stay-at-home wife forever, and I'm sure brighter days are ahead. Perhaps it would serve me well to just pick something from my superfluous list of things I want to do and do it. What makes me so uninspired, though, are the what-ifs that I like to torment myself with: what if we were back in the States...what if I had never left my last job...what if I could speak French fluently...what if I don't get accepted to grad school...what if my French doesn't improve...what if I'm 40 and still in the same boat...? Maybe I should stop wasting my energy on all these rhetorical questions and get started on something. But, what if I can't choose what to start on?
...And, now I'm off to get some Camembert for this whine.