Now that I am almost old and decrepit, I am spending more time critiquing my life. I ask myself, what parts of my life would I change? Honestly, the only part of my life I am truly dissatisfied about-is my career. What career? I have never had a career. I have had jobs. I have worked in a career, but I have no career.
I graduated from college as a history and political science major. I worked in crime off and on for many years before I figured out crime was hazardous to my health. Ended up moving to Atlanta where I made a living waiting for something I had no idea what. Finally, I got married moved to Ohio and began a family.
Three children later, now a teacher, having lived in three different states, I still could not find a career home. Got a Masters Degree which made things worse. My entire life teachers never had trouble finding a job and doing that job until they retired. The most I held a teaching job was five years. Then I got laid off. Another time, we had to move because of my husband’s job. When I entered the field of teaching, teaching began a slow, painful death.
Of course, I abhor not having a real job. Most importantly, people do not respect someone who does not work consistently like me. They have no money. Therefore, worthless to others to use up. One cannot borrow from another who does not have.
Now, that I am wiser, I realize that I did everything right according to what I wanted in my life. I wanted a family- children. I did not want a husband. I thought that because my parents marriage did not work, marriage would not work for me. I believed that I had never seen a successful marriage. When in fact I grew up within one. My great grandparents were married 65 years before my great grandfather died. Both remained happy together throughout some of the worst times in American history for black people. I never considered their relationship because I took it for granted. Naive!
In actuality, I learned more from being inside of a good marriage growing up, than I ever could have learned anywhere else. Being able to observe both sides of an issue from both spouses points of view, allowed me to be able to see successful problem solving skills. I was completely unaware I was learning anything so valuable for my future. Decades later I was able to utilize my memories and experiences about how to create solutions or find coping methods to help me in my marriage and other endeavors. I believe my grandparents’ teachings (and my parents)are the reason I did not fall to the feelings of inadequacy that so often plagued me down through the decades of my life.
As a result, I did become a wife and mother, but I never got the successful career. I suppose that was not meant to be because then my life would be perfect. If I had to sacrifice somethings in life, my career was the best choice. It was never a priority. If I cannot be happy doing a job everyday, then I did not want to do it. I may not have the retirement my friends have. I may not have the accolades my friends have. I way not have the money my friends have. Still, when one reaches my age everyone is fighting the same battles. Are you healthy? Do you have someone you can trust to share your life with? Do you have children and grand children? Are you happy? Do you enjoy your family? Are you lonely?
Because when death is knocking at your door, it will not be about your job or how much money you made or have. Life is Reflecting on yesterday’s relationships and love that survived for tomorrow. That is it.
Spread your knowledge. Make new relationships. Love your families. There is nothing else. Know that one day, you will be retired or jobless wondering where did I go wrong in my life. It is a lot easier to find a source for money, than a source for family and love. Do I regret not having a career? Yes, because having a career would have made life so much easier.
Alas, I have also learned, for the most part to ignore those who choose to look down upon me for my lack of a career. Having no job, little money, but family and love-priceless! If you are really lucky you will learn this lesson early in life. Your career cannot give you a kiss and hug at night or hold you when you are sick even laugh at just being silly. I’m blessed! Thank you Lord!