They say, “Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.”
Singapore sounded like a grand adventure–until I realized that I’ll be there on a dependent visa. Cue panic attack! I wasn’t planning to work full-time while living there. At most, I hoped to work part-time or teach a few lessons a week. Well, now I know I’ll be forced into living out my fantasy–being a stay at home wife. However, the timing could not be worse!
First, there’s the wedding. Our cute, naïvely modest budget flew out the window, then crashed and burned weeks ago. The wedding isn’t expensive by today’s standards, but it’s costing us significantly more than we hoped it would. M isn’t concerned–he loves the idea of throwing a big party for us and 150 of our closest friends. I, on the other hand… I’m freaking out a little. I’ve been the one handling the logistics of the wedding, and watching the price creep up even as I’m pinching pennies as aggressively as I can. And I’m basically unemployed, possibly for the next 6 months. I’m all about spending money on once-in-a-lifetime experiences–money comes and goes, but memories last a lifetime–but… just not this much. This new, realistic, distinctively un-cute budget is big. It’s more than I spent on my car. It’s more than I’ve spent on anything!
Then, there’s the identity thing. When we meet new people, one of the first questions people ask is “What do you do?” We define ourselves by our work. I’ve always had an answer to that question… until now. Not only am I changing jobs, I may be changing fields. I don’t know what my next job will be, so I won’t know how to define myself. Do I define myself by the past I’ve left behind, or by the future that I hope to create? Which one is less of a lie?
Finally, there’s that fear of failure. Dreams seem so warm and inviting from far away, but the closer you get, the more daunting and hazardous they seem. If I’m not working–If I can’t work–a whole world of possibilities opens up. I could spend all of my time on music, or writing, or anything I want! There’s nothing to stop me except, well… me. What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t stay disciplined? What if I am disciplined and try my hardest, and it just falls flat? I’ll have no excuses, because I’ve been given an opportunity that people would kill for. I’m not ready for that!
Okay, these are all disgusting “first world problems.” I get it. And bit by bit, I’ve been trying to work my way through my anxiety and really make the most of this incredible opportunity that’s been offered to me.
First, I’m trying to find a place of “Wedding Zen.” As outrageous as it seems (is?) to spend a lot of money on a wedding, most of our expenses are from things we chose to include to make the day more comfortable and enjoyable for our guests. We want it to be a day of happy memories. Stressing about money won’t help that. After all, we’re not going into debt. M and I are generally frugal people, and we’ll make up the difference!
I’m also trying to reframe my career gap as a positive thing. Instead of rushing from one career to the next, I’ll have a chance to do a lot of research, take some online classes, and think carefully about what I want my future to look like. Coursera, here I come!
And lastly, about that gnawing fear and self-doubt… sometimes you just have to go for it! The well-lived life is a marathon, not a sprint. Even if I don’t accomplish everything I hope during my time as a stay at home wife, it will give me a good foundation to build on when I’m back to business as usual.