No, I’m not suffering from the “real Julia” syndrome where I have everyone wondering which public face is my true reflection.
But I am struggling to deal with the omnipresent frustration of wondering exactly when will I start living the life I actually want to be living?*
Blame it on being a ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ personality type. Or maybe it is a Gen X trait. Putting on my bush psychologist hat, perhaps it has something to do with being adopted.
Whatever the reason, I feel like I always seem to be aiming for something slightly out of reach, but never quite getting there.
Picture a child precariously perched on a stool and reaching up high on the kitchen shelf to grab a yummy looking block of chocolate. The chair wobbles and the child falls off without ever grabbing the chocolate. But they came close, and so they get back on the stool and try again.
One of my earliest childhood memories is as a preschooler, I was so desperate to go to school, mum had to pack my lunchbox and pretend to take me to school every day.
As a young teenager I fell in love with a ABC show about a cranky old sports journo – and decided that was what I wanted to become.
Either that or a famous actress. One of the highlights of my high school years was being the understudy to the lead in the school musical “Half a Sixpence“. (Not a well-known musical I grant you. Actually I can’t even remember what it is about. All I remember is having evil thoughts about something happening to the lead so I would get my turn in the spotlight. Which never happened. Probably an example of karma right there.)
Here is the money song from the musical. Because half a sixpence, is better than half a romance, is better than none….
Somewhere around my late teens I stopped reaching and more or less just drifted along. I enrolled to do an Arts degree with some sort of notion of turning the degree into a journalism career. As hard as it is to believe now, I decided to also knock off a law degree because my friend said it would only take an extra year, and we could have two degrees instead of one.
Somehow I cruised through my double degree, more concerned with the men in my life than my life as a whole.
After Uni finished, I ambled down the path leading to a career as a lawyer not for any real reason other than it seemed the logical thing to do and so not to “waste all those years of study”.
Working as a lawyer never felt right to me, and I was always looking over my shoulder waiting for someone to expose me as a fraud.
And once again I was reaching – this time for the contentment I was positive would come from being a wife and mother.
Suddenly there I was, right where I thought I wanted to be – two children under 18 months old, and a stay at home mum. Wobble went the stool and off I feel. This time when I hopped back on it was to reach for a qualification and career in Human Resources.
For nearly ten more years I toiled away in various incantations of either HR, ER or IR, often all three.
But still I was reaching for the other life I just knew I was supposed to be living. In 2010 when I studied Journalism, I felt like I came the closest I had ever been to finally reaching the chocolate.
Yet here I am two years later and my arms are getting tired from all the straining to grab the prize. I tried to find work as a journalist at the end of my course – I did not score even one job interview.
I retreated to the safe harbour of an HR job thinking I would have time and head space to knock that off, while I worked on my writing. A year on, I’ve changed the money-earning role again, and cut back on ‘work’ days to free myself up for writing time.
I’m trying to stay positive. I’m forcing myself to write as much as I can, even when it means writing about not very much (like this post). I’m even trying to embrace the rejections.
I’m ‘putting it out there’ to the Universe. And I’m praying this time, she’ll listen and give it back to me in spades.
Maybe then I can finally be the real me.
Cheers till next time,
*By “life” I really mean “career”. This is not a post about motherhood, the sisterhood, the gypsy within – or anything else really, other than my occupation. Which is not of course my whole life, only sometimes just feels like it is.