‘All or nothing’, that is a good motto for a perfectionist. If something does not meet the ideal standard it is worth nothing. It is definitely not synonymous with flexible, easy-going, having self-compassion. Like trying to force a square peg into a round hole and I have the bruises to show for it. It is good to be able to recognize that something is not working for you and allow yourself to move on. Not keep trying to get yourself to fit into something that doesn’t suit. It is not being a quitter or failure to acknowledge something isn’t working out for you or you are not working out for it. It would have been better to realize it is not ‘all or nothing’, success or failure, but that there could be something else waiting out there for you.
“Set aside the old traditional notion of female as nurturer and male as leader; set aside, too, the new traditional notion of female as superwoman and male as oppressor. Begin with that most frightening of all things, a clean slate. And then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am.
This is the hard work of life in the world, to acknowledge within yourself the introvert, the clown, the artist, the homebody, the goofball, the thinker. Look inside. That way lies dancing to the melodies spun out by your own heart.”
― Anna Quindlen
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today ‘all or nothing.’ Featured image by Kate Ter Haar on Flickr.
“I believe that women should live for love, for motherhood and for intellect, and I believe we shouldn’t have to choose. And I believe that’s always been difficult for women, to express themselves intellectually, maternally, and passionately.” -Erica Jong
Mother’s Day weekend left me thinking about my life choice of putting my role as Mother first during my early working years. Not to suggest I regret making it a priority versus a career, which I don’t. As often happens when I am mulling over something I start to research online, looking for what others have expressed about it, and I came across an interesting series of articles in The Atlantic called The Ambition Interviews that tracked the careers of a group a women who graduated from Northwestern University in 1993. The authors wanted to find out how their sorority sisters career ambitions had played out in reality 20 years after graduating. They found that their cohorts divided into 3 groups after they started having children, the High Achievers, the Scale Backers, and the Opt Outers. The High Achievers maintained a consistent trajectory of career success continuing to work at their careers full-time, the Scale Backers chose to work less or take on less demanding jobs to have the flexibility of schedule they desired for their lives and families, the Opt Outers chose to leave the work force to be able to be full-time parents. In the articles they discuss all the factors that contributed to the women’s decisions. What struck me is the experiences of these women was similar to mine in many ways and I think many of my Nursing class of 1974. We were in the Nursing baccalaureate program at the University of California in San Francisco and were told we were to be the leaders in our profession. Out of the 37 members of my class that attended our 25th reunion, there was a group of High Achievers who stayed in Nursing careers at a high level, in the military or other areas, went on for graduate degrees, and some became doctors or lawyers. Many of us would fit into Scale Backers in that we chose jobs that were less demanding or more flexible so we could be available to our kids. When my son was born, I decided to opt out and be a full-time parent. This lasted for 8 years and included the addition of a second child, my daughter. Like women in the Ambition Interviews who opted out, I had thought I would continue working but when my son was born I decided I did not want to leave him, as some of the women in the series that had “a physical and emotional bond with their new children that they simply couldn’t reconcile with going back to work,” my Nursing job was not appealing enough for me to choose it over him. My husband was willing to support us. Some couples in The Ambition Interviews decided that the husband would be the stay at home parent or would be the one who Scaled Back and assumed the larger share of child care. I became a Scale Backer when I re-entered the workforce after 8 years but chose part-time at a hospital and then in Home Health. Like the Scale Backers in The Atlantic series, I found it difficult to balance work and motherhood. I worked a lot of weekends to cut down on child care. I felt very stressed rushing through work to get to the school in time to pick up my kids or get them to appointments. It was stressful to leave them when they were sick. It was stressful to find adequate after school childcare with long enough hours to cover my work hours. I missed out on being involved in my children’s schools because of work and I missed out on career advancement and even work friendships because I worked part-time. My ambition did not completely die out. It was isolating to be at home and I did get restless at times. I re-entered full-time work after my kids were older. I went back to work after cancer. I attempted a complete career change at 60. One of my fellow students in the Teacher Credential program questioned why I wanted to pursue a new career after Nursing. Another said I was an “Over Achiever.” It was more like an “Older Achiever.” Why shouldn’t we be allowed to go on learning and achieving no matter what age. Like the women in the series who chose to Scale Back or Opt Out of their careers, I found I was not able to step back into a career path in later years. Now I have come to have a whole new perspective on my relationship to work. I wonder if we can really combine all the aspects of our selves ideally. Even though I may have missed some opportunities, I know my work does not define me or my self-worth. I find career ambition does not play a part in my life any more. I am in a reflective period and some of my ambitions right now involve tutoring, getting rid of weeds, aphids, and volunteer trees, getting reacquainted with myself, writing, and learning to be a grandmother.
My Nursing School class
UCSF Nursing Graduation
Us 25 years later
I know the images are a little blurry, like when I look back into the past, and I think it protects privacy as well.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill.
“Beside the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” ”-Lin Yutang
An interesting quote by someone who was born in the 19th Century and wrote a book called, The Importance of Living. Do you ever feel like there are many things you should be doing? To have To do Lists to accomplish, to be industrious and a person of action, out in the world fighting for a cause, is what we are told is ideal. I have begun to question if that dynamic person is really who I am, ever have been, and even should aspire to be. For one I am naturally a slow starter in the morning. For another I really don’t like rushing around in a whirlwind of activity. Why is there this great admiration of so-called productivity? Why is running around doing things, or the appearance of, held in such high esteem. There is a lot of satisfaction to be had in following your own path and pace, to savor and appreciate life. So I will put off saving the world for now.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is “-inter. Featured image of ‘Supergirl’ by Erika Wittlieb on Pixabay.com
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”-Albert Einstein
Don’t assume because someone is older they have nothing to teach you. And don’t assume because you are older you are incapable of learning new things.
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured image of Owl by Gellinger on Pixabay.com
“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” -T.S. Eliot
I was rushing across the Middle School yard looking for my classroom. This was to be the first day in the classroom of my mentor, of the first semester of my Accelerated Collaborative Teacher ( ACT) Preparation Program. My aim was to obtain a Special Education Teaching Credential. I was returning to college after 35 years and taking 21 units this first semester. It was an accelerated program after all and I was to complete the course work in two semesters. As I rushed along across the school yard, balancing on my narrow high healed wedge sandals, arms full of binders, and dragging a rolling backpack, my ankle turned.
A school yard like this
Similar to my shoes
I felt a sickening disorientation as I saw the ground rising up toward me. I fell face down on the tarmac. A student came over to ask if I was all right and helped me up. A staff member came over as well to make sure. I felt embarrassed that I was this lady falling down in the middle of the school yard. I said I was OK and was looking for my classroom. He gave me directions and I hurried on. I met my mentor and sat in to observe her class. It wasn’t until the end of the class that I realized I couldn’t put weight on my foot. I had skinned both knees as well. They had to wheel me to the main office in a wheelchair. Later that day I found out I had broken my foot. Maybe this should have been a warning that I might be rushing in the wrong direction with teaching. I went on to complete the semester, with a boot on my foot for a good part of it.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Prompt word for today is ‘yard.’ Image ‘Teacher’ via Pixabay.com
” You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
One Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Featured Image ‘ Beach, Pacific Coastline’ by Roger Mosley on Pixabay.com