Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Predictable. Boring?

When did I become so predictable? So suburban mom cliche?

I have a facebook friend who posts these fascinating, somewhat bizarre articles and links on facebook. I always read his posts because they are quirky, off the beaten path, and always interesting. 

His posts make me ashamed of my one-dimensional Facebook presence. I post about my kids. Cute things they said, photos of them doing adorable things, frustrations about how exhausting they are sometimes, and so on. I am clearly not ashamed of my kids or of my posting about them. It's my lack of imagination when it comes to interacting on social media that gets to me. I am so predictable. So boring.  

Why does this bother me? I don't really care if other people think I'm boring. I am at a stage in my life where I am comfortable with who I am. I think. Wait. Am I?

I used to be interesting. Once, just because I felt like it, I stayed up all night long working on a pen and ink drawing made up of thousands of tiny swirls formed into the shape of a girl walking in a field of poppies. There was a small footbridge that crossed a nearby stream, and the water had "sail on silver girl" and other Simon and Garfunkle song lyrics floating in it that you could only see if you looked at it for a long time.

When I went to college, I decided I wanted to be a physics major. I loved physics but was terrible at it. My high school physics teacher was the nicest man ever and I swear he gave me a decent grade in Physics II just so my feelings wouldn't be hurt. When I got to college and had to take advanced math and actual physics classes, I enjoyed them. (I still like to search for science lectures on iTunes U and YouTube from time to time. Balancing simple algebra equations relaxes me when I'm stressed.) But I didn't understand advanced concepts. I would look around at everyone in the lab or lecture hall and see their faces make that "AHA!" expression while the light bulb above my head remained dim. I needed help from tutors who must have thought I had the IQ of a celery stalk. Physics and the math that went with it sucked out my brain power like a Dyson and left me feeling completely drained. So I switched my major to communications. And that worked out pretty well for me, actually. I never really felt like I was reaching for a concept that was just beyond my reach.

Seriously, though. A physics major? Now that's interesting! It's bad ass. Even if I failed miserably at that goal, I went for it and tried it.

And now? I work at a bank. Seriously! That's, like, the cliche job that authors use in a novel when they want to depict a boring character. How many kids do you know who want to be a banker when they grow up? 

I am good at what I do professionally which is essentially to make sure that my department's websites, email campaigns, and other "digital channels" follow internal and regulatory guidelines. A large part of that means that I explain web accessibility concepts to people. Making sure a  banking website can be navigated by customers with disabilities isn't really the sexiest job. Actually, being in a compliance role among creative marketing types is a bit like being the nerdy kid in school who tells someone they can't chew gum in class and then rats them out to the teacher. But what I do has a purpose. It's important work and there's a technical component to it that feeds my geeky brain. I really enjoy what I do at work every day.

And yet... I don't really think much about it once my work day ends and my mom day begins.  I quickly fall into my routine of making dinner, taxi driving kids everywhere, baking cupcakes, cleaning up messes, and reading twelve Pete the Cat stories before bedtime. I stay up later than I should getting lost in my own book before falling asleep, exhausted. I should do more writing (writing is interesting!) but I can't find the inspiration or motivation most nights after working a full day and doing mom stuff in the evenings.

I don't for a second begrudge my motherhood even though I feel that it has played the largest part in this dimension-flattening of who I am. I love being a mom, it is the largest part of my life right now. And yet, I have a thirst for knowledge or artistic discovery that might make me feel interesting to myself again.

Is there a point to this post? I'm not sure. I know that I will have more time to seek out the things that interest me in some future day, when my calendar isn't full of activities. Knowing that I will be able to discover new interests then will have to do for now. Being good at mothering and finding interest and joy in the daily routine and mundanity of it all is a strength of mine, so perhaps that's my dimension right there.