Disclaimer: I’m writing this with a glass of wine, pretending I have a Carrie Bradshaw-esque voiceover repeating every word I type… I’m not that cool.
**Disclaimer two: Just because I post this in the morning, doesn’t mean I’m drinking at 9am on Monday. I wrote this a few days ago**
This post may be a little different from my upbeat island adventures and kitchen successes, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to share for a bit. It actually bubbled to a head recently when chatting up an old friend who shared the Puerto Rico struggle with me.
Let’s start this with a lesson kids; let’s call it, “The Story of the Puerto Rican Onion.” Do you like onions? I do, I love them. I toss them in pretty much everything that goes into the oven for some extra flava-flave. Then usually pick the crispy bits off the pan and eat them when we’re doing dishes. Well, there was a time, long ago, when I lived in Puerto Rico, that every time I bought what seemed to be a perfectly flawless, overpriced onion in Puerto Rico, I’d cut into it to find that the center was totally rotten. This went on for MONTHS! Every time I bought an onion this happened until I stopped buying them altogether.
I told this story jokingly recently among people who both lived and didn’t live in Puerto Rico, and said, “It’s funny isn’t it? Everyone thought that island life was pretty, salty, sunny, and perfectly overpriced, but when you slice into it, it could be rotten on the inside. It’s like life in PR! A rotten onion isn’t the worst, but it can sure be gross
The perfect anecdote for life in PR.
Here’s the thing. Life in PR was far from rotten. You know what is rotten, no matter where you live? Society telling you where you should be at a certain age, and me looking at my life, comparing myself to my friends and other people my age, and wondering, what the hell is going on? Why can’t I just enjoy the damn ride? It was (and still is) so hard to enjoy the present, to enjoy island life, when I stayed up all night having panic attacks about being good enough. Whatever “good enough” is.
Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous thing. Someone will always be better than you. It’s hard not to compare your life to others; you try to gauge where you are in life by looking at your friends, your peers, other people your age, your family and what they’ve accomplished. So-and-so has 3 kids already, that one has the perfect house and everything that goes in it. Oh, and her? She’s got the perfect husband, and that one has the most amazing job and is killing it at life! That friend? He just finished grad school and is traveling the world.
Ultimately the hardest thing about moving to Puerto Rico was giving up my career in publishing, for the slow paced life of not a whole lot. Trust me, at the time I COULD NOT WAIT to quit the deadline oriented world, and slip over to the other side of the fence where the grass was sure to be greener, and the onions, oniony-er. The grass was pretty damn green, but at the same time super hard not to beat yourself up about being unemployed. However, I was (and still am) employed. I was able to find an opportunity I could do remotely from PR, that legit saved my sanity. Was it something I went to college for, and wrote middle school essays about what I would be when I grew up? Um. nope. But, it gave me purpose, and a reason to wake up every day, other than going to the beach alone again. (Tough life, I know, but being bored and lonely still sucks, even in paradise.)
Now that I’m back in Florida, I’ve come to terms that giving up my career in 2014, was basically career suicide. There’s no “hopping back in” at this point. I need to start from the bottom again. I’m almost 30, and that just seems, nope. I can’t, I’m too proud. I’m not an intern. But am I? Maybe now, now is the time to find a new career path. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for a military spouse, it’s not that cut and dry. Although we should be here for a few more years, that time frame is never guaranteed. When looking for a new job, a new career, a new, purpose if you will, you have to take that into consideration. Ideally, you’d find a job you love that you can easily take with you next time you PCS outta dodge. Realistically? That’s not going to happen. So, as I peruse the job search sites, field calls from recruiters, and consider going back to school, I have to take all of these things into consideration. Is there room for growth? Is there room for enough growth to be fulfilling in the next few years? Is this a big company that I can transfer easily? Do they offer virtual positions? If I went back to school, could I finish before we PCS again? I wont bore you with what it’s like to job hunt, because everyone has been there at some point, and it’s exhausting, but I feel like not enough people think about what it’s like for the spouse of that ever-so-praised active duty military personnel. No. I do not think I deserve a metal like the men and women of the military, or even a damn cookie for that matter, but maybe just a little bit of credit for why I am where I am in life. Honestly, I’m the only one that can give myself that “credit” that I’m looking for, because this so-called “struggle” is really made up in my own head. Maybe that’s also an excuse on my end. But it’s a valid one in my opinion, and this is my blog and I’ll say what I want!
So, for now, I’m peeling back the layers of that onion one at a time, until I peel off the one layer that’s a perfect fit. Taking the good with the bad and making the good even better. And in the meantime, booking some travel while I have the flexibly with my schedule. (See? Making the good even better!) Looking at where I am in life through some grateful colored glasses, that might also be the perfect pink color of Whispering Angel Rosé, and realizing that I can’t compare myself to anyone, but be proud of the people around me for what they’ve accomplished, and realize they may just be looking back at me thinking the same thing — pass the rosé.
XX – B