Suburban Snapshots

My All

Monday, September 27, 2010

Are you trying to have it all? And what is "it all?" Every month there's the obligatory news segment about taking it easy on ourselves, not over-extending, accepting that we have a hell of a lot to be proud of (it's usually sandwiched between the rotating "cancer breakthrough!" and "coffee is good for you/bad for you" spots).

I see these clips, with soundbites from attractive psychologists and a supposed representative mom, and I think to myself, Shit, am I supposed to be striving for more right now? Because I'll need some meth in that coffee. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I'm happy with where my career is, and the fact that she still asks for me first in the morning tells me that Anna still thinks I'm a-OK. That's gotta count for something.

I'm just not really a striver. I'm a procrastinator, a dilly-dallier, an I'll-get-to-that-laterer, a task-task-Facebook-task-task-Facebooker. Everything that needs to get done does — on time — and I do my best to get it done well. (I learned the hard way, repeatedly, even, that doing things half-assed will come back to bite you in the remaining half.) I don't think I have the most perfectly awesome life ever, but I'm pretty easily contented and consider that a good quality.

I remember having a conversation with Steve about a co-worker friend of mine. Our mutual boss had said about the friend, "He's just the kind of guy who wants to show up, do his work, and go home." He said it in a disparaging context, as though doing the job my friend was (just barely) paid for wasn't enough, as though we all ought to be rung-climbing type-a's, constantly clamoring for more and better and "all."

Right now my all is this: one happy daughter, room enough to live, a job I'm blessed to have, a second career I always dreamed of, a great group of people who continue to read what I tap out before bed twice a week, a hard-working husband and a heated driver's seat. What I don't have is disposable income, well-behaved pets, clean floors or a single business suit.

The world needs those achievers, all the go-getters who've annoyed me so deeply at past workplaces. Some of them are my very best friends. But I'm not convinced that all of us are really "trying to have it all," or at least not the all the media's selling.

Tell me, what's your all look like these days?

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