8.26.2011

Ambition


I didn't want law school. My parents always told me I should be a lawyer. "You would be good at it," they said. They think I am smart enough to do it, and I know they are right. I could do it - but just because you can do something doesn't mean you should - or that you have to.

Right now I work from 9-5, I teach from 5:30-9:00 two nights a week, and when I am not doing that, I am working on freelance writing projects or using those precious hours to relax with my husband, cook for pleasure (read: bake sugary treats) and read. I think that this schedule suits me because I am very busy, I feel a great sense of fulfillment at the end of the day - - and I contribute to my life and the lives of others. Still, I think about other things.

I see other people (including my husband) prepare for graduate education. My friends are going to medical school too, or law school, or graduate school - chasing the dreams they have always had. Other friends are having babies, or going on missions, or moving across the country for new jobs or schools or marriages. I wonder if maybe my education is not finished - I want desperately for it not to be finished, but I feel no need to become a lawyer or doctor or professor like I once thought I would. I feel no need to have kids yet. I feel no itch to move across the country.

I think it is easy to lose ourselves in school and work and ambition - because to be ambitious is to be fulfilled, right? To become something - to have that title is drastically important at this time in my circle. I am not saying this higher education is not important because it is terribly important. I just want it to feel important for the right reasons. To live a simple life with the ones you love doesn't seem to be enough. We are always in such a hurry to get somewhere, to become something - and my husband and I are as guilty of that as anyone.

So for now for those who are constantly asking, my plan is on not becoming anything. (but becoming everything at the same time.) I may never have a title in front of my name and pray my title never reads, "Doctor and Mrs. Voisin." I do not want to be the addendum to my husband's life and accomplishments. I do not want to ever be labeled as a "Housewife". I want to further my education whatever that means to me, and I want to be a mother someday but not yet and I want people to stop asking me when.

I want sheer happiness to be enough. I want my inspiration to come from simplicity. I want an honest life - not in the way that I am honest with others because I always try to be, but I just really want to be honest with my own ambition.

I want to be honest with myself about this life.

15 comments:

emilymcb said...

This is something I have struggled with. I feel like those of us who have always loved school have had it kind of pounded into us that the more education we get, the better. However, that doesn't always ring true--at least in the sense of formal education. Sometimes we have to just be okay with continuing to educate ourselves because it's not right of us to get another degree at the moment.

I like your idea of not becoming something, but becoming everything. I've never wanted to just be "editor" or just be "teacher" or just be "mom" or "wife." I want to be "Emily"--which may include a lot of different labels, but no one label directly equals me (if that makes sense).

Joelle said...

This is perfect. I have struggled with this so much in these past few years. I always planned on going to law school, but once my husband (then fiance) was accepted in his PhD program, I wasn't so motivated. I barely wanted to study for the LSATs. I tried to take a Master's class and I hated it. So now I'm working while he gets his degree. I see the women that in the program with him and I get jealous sometimes. I don't want them to think that they are better than me because they are in school. I have made a concious decision not to go to school. But I feel insecure all the time. I'm tired of people asking me what I'm going to do too. I'm happy and that's all that should matter.

Thank you for posting this. I needed it.

xoxo,
Joelle

annie said...

Thank you for putting into words the conflict of my heart. I, too, struggle with the idea of "enough" education. I always believed I would earn my master's degree, but after my husband completed law school, I dreaded taking up our precious time together with classes. I gave it a shot anyway, and I hated it, then felt guilty because I hated it! I chose to quit, for the time being, and I'm so glad. It was the right decision for us. Yet it does seem like there is this constant pull, like I should be using my skills and gifts to pursue something tangible (i.e., a degree). But I'm learning so much each and every day. I wish others could sometimes understand that: that I am more than a wife, more than a professional, more than someone who quit grad school, more than a girl who's not quite ready to have babies just yet. I am ready for happiness to be enough: for me, and for everyone else.

Brittany said...

Wonderful. I'm in the process of refiguring out what I want to do and be. I feel the same pressure to just know the whole plan now. I just want to be for a minute and find it naturally and in the right time. Thanks Mandy.

Julie said...

When are you having a baby Mands? I'm just kidding :) I love you.

katrina said...

kudos.

happiness is key.

Ashley said...

i love this so much. i think sometimes you are a mind reader. i too used to want to achieve, excel, and be better at everything, and then at one point i realized i didn't need that to be happy. and life has been great ever since. happiness comes from somewhere so much more profound than plaques and awards on the wall.

p.s. Hi! I don't think I have ever commented before... :)

Quark

emily said...

"I do not want to be the addendum to my husband's life and accomplishments." amen sister. amen.

Kyle & Kaylee said...

Wow, you basically just summed up exactly how I feel. So well put.

P.S. Hope all is going well :)

Marci Dawn said...

This is perfect. Exactly how I feel about life.

Autumn said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'm in grad school and I'm doing the thing I felt was right and all of that, but I can't help but feeling sometimes that I question whether it is enough. I am already planning on my next graduate school adventure.

Being enough...is a wonderful goal and something I need to work towards.

Katie said...

Love this :) Love that your blog makes me ask myself some serious questions. Why am I doing what I'm doing?

Some days I don't like the answer. Other days I don't know the answer. But I'm sure grateful for those times I feel it's true :)

I remember listening to Pres. Samuelson and he said something along the lines of...No one knows what you should do, that's between you and the Lord. (paraphrasing, he said it much better!)

Love you Mans!

Aoife said...

I finally felt ambitious in a way I'm comfortable and confident with today - and you've articulated those feelings exactly.

I don't want to be a housewife either, but I don't think everyone is capable of studying to become something. I am in my final semester of college, and I can't wait to grow and be fulfilled in all the directions I haven't been able to explore all this time. Everyone is different, even if they're still not sure of what and who exactly they are. The best education is the one you follow with your own intuition, and "the school of life" is a cliche for a reason.

The way you write about life, love, the arts and everything in between is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your gift.

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

I am feeling you on a lot of this :) With time it will all come together. &yes... what is it with people and their obsessions with others having babies?! *sigh*

Emma said...

beautifully written.