Friday, April 18, 2008

"What do you Do?" Reunion Angst

I just got an email reminding me to rsvp for my 10-year high school reunion.  I find myself hesitating a little to reply and send in my check.  Part of my trepidation comes from a fear that my friends--many of whom I still stay in touch with--won't show up, leaving me standing there alone with a bunch of people I no longer know.

The other part of my hesitation has more to do with my recent switch from "banker" to "housewife."  Or, from "cool professional with a future" to "lame apron-wearing drone."  Yes, I suppose that I do more in a day than just cooking and cleaning, like writing and launching an online boutique.  But leaving "traditional" work behind leaves me feeling a little inadequate, especially under the hyper-pressure of a ten-year reunion.

A quote I read yesterday in a book on work reads: "Being serious about one's work is supposed to mean a full-time, indeed an extended time, commitment: every day, every week, for a lifetime.  This is what is traditionally meant by having a "career."  Anything less and work becomes just a job..."  This quote illustrates the reason for my discomfort.  I am serious about my work as an entrepreneur--a writer--but not in a 9-5 way.  And because I've chosen to place a higher priority on running my home, I feel less valuable to society in general.  

Thinking of the reunion night, I imagine myself talking around what I do, tempted to make myself seem more career and business savvy than I really am.  I will most likely answer the question "what do you do?" with "I'm launching my own small business as a writer and accessories designer" rather than "I'm enjoying being a housewife," which is at least as true as the first line.  

I suppose that my angst highlights an insecurity I have about my current choices.  I realize that I might even run into a lot of young women who have made the same choice, and are enjoying it too (although I'd bet most of them have kids, whereas I do not).  I'm sure I'll get over it, send in the check, and have a good time.  Oh, and I'll definitely have to buy a killer dress first.  At least I can be a stylish housewife, no apron in sight.

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