I have just entered my early twenties, but fears of my unknown future along with the self-inflicted pressure of societal expectations constantly push me to have a well-drawn out plan for the rest of my life.
Like most, I have big dreams. I wish more than anything to one day become a well-known beauty editor of a well-established magazine for girls and women. I like to think of myself as a gifted seer of inner and outer beauty, a slave to all things makeup, and a decent writer – so all of these traits obviously scream the dream of becoming a famous writer-director for the Beauty Department of a magazine. I believe with hard work, this dream is possible.
I also dream to fall in love, get happily married, and have two or three kids. I believe with patient, kind, and honest love, this dream too is possible.
But hold on a second, how can I live out both of these magical ideas together? Working in editorial demands a lot of time, energy and creativity – three things that are crucial for raising children. I would be working the 9 – 5 shift in the office every day, not to mention attend the ever-so-often off-shift events that are crucial for writing my next story. Let’s add another hour to compute for my hour commute from the city to the suburbs (because heaven knows that only the big magazine corporations run in the city, but who’s to say that one could afford the high expenses of the city on a writer’s salary?).
By the end of the work day, would I be too strained to play with the kids, or to prepare a perfect and fully home-cooked dinner? Who’s going to pick up the tots from pre-school, and who’s going to take them to their sports practices or ballet classes that start before I come home? Here’s an even better question: Who’s going to be the stranger I trust to watch the kids while I’m away at work?
Yes I have dreams, but I’m also practical. This whole dream thing obviously isn’t going to work out – unless I settle to be a shitty mom or a shitty worker, or both.
So what’s my plan?
I’m going to work my way up that ladder to reach that Beauty Editor position. Intern. Assistant. Junior Editor. Senior Editor. Beauty Editor (or whatever the order really is). I am going to do all this by the time I’m 30, or somewhere around there. Basically at an age where my ovaries will still healthily let me have a baby.
My primary priority before reaching the apex of my position would be my job, and my partner perhaps if I have one. I would have nothing holding me back from giving it all my efforts.
Then, once I reach my peak, I’ll thank God and everyone else who put me in that dream position, relinquish all that I’ve been working towards all my life, engage myself into a much less fabulous career, and devote the rest of my life to having children.
This is what I want, and yes I want it all. Call me selfish for pursuing a career that gives me pure joy and no regrets, and call me a quitter of dreams for pushing aside my personal desires for wanting to dedicate the rest of my life to having children.
But know that it’s okay to be selfish, to want to fulfill your biggest aspirations in a career and to want to have the best job in the world and nothing else. Also know that it’s okay to neglect all of your dreams of the perfect job to make room for children. You do you, and don’t listen to anyone else. After all, it’ll be you who looks back and says, “I lived the happiest and most fulfilled life I could live.”