the things that i will do

The kicker is that I don’t want it all the way I was told to want it all.

Let’s be clear. I never want to birth a tiny human. Not enough desire to feel that, especially not, I suspect, in trade for my sanity. Also, with my luck, it’d wreak even more havoc on my joints, so no. No pregnant and barefoot. But if I can’t make my own non-profit pregnant girls’ home, where they will have all the choices without judgment, then there is no reason why I shouldn’t aspire to foster one needy young woman at a time. That, to me, is children enough, and I can do it past menopause if I like.

Until the job market and our rampant education inflation problem both calm the heck down, I don’t see myself being able to find work. Going back to school at this point feels like throwing good money after bad, and for what? As much as we pay for four-year degrees in the United States, they ought to be worth more than $10-$15 an hour. Also, the longer you’ve spent trying to get that degree, the more you bring to the table in terms of life experience. Don’t tell me I’m worth as little as some callow youth of twenty-two. That eight years between us (March 9 is coming) represents years I spent doing and learning amazing and diverse skills outside the classroom.

No, if for all that, I’m not going to make a living wage, I’d rather be a housewife and let the abled member of the marriage bring home the bacon. I insist my mother live with us, that’s all. She has spent years looking after me. She doesn’t consume much. She’ll use her pension to buy what she likes. Besides, there might be money if we end up selling the ancestral pile.

I want to make a difference in the world, but my health means I have to choose: either I work for a living or I live. That’s the only idealism I have left, that as a human being I can have a life more meaningful than the wage I can earn.

What a radical notion, that.

So here’s to you, Amy Westervelt, for actually daring to say it. I may be a little envious that you’re saying it from a place of massive privilege, but you’re bothering to say it at all, which is pretty nice. We really can’t have it all. We’re not even remotely there yet. Long past time we admitted it.


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