Random thoughts & musings of a Michigan newlywed... Look out, I'm changing the world!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don't Worry, Be Happy

What is happiness worth? Is happiness worth sacrificing “prestige”? Neither really has any tangible value, so which should a person assign importance to?

This is the question I have been faced with several times in my life, most recently concerning my husband’s career. As we always have, we chose personal happiness. This will probably come at the great skepticism and worry of our respective families and friends, the wonder of why we’re “wasting” our lives.

My husband worked for a somewhat large manufacturing corporation. He was a welder, and he made decent money doing it. But he was not happy. He was unhappier still when the company announced its new “2 days off per year” program—this was for sick, vacation, all of it, with or without doctor’s notes. Impressive, is it not? He was unhappier still when the people around him started to be written up for going to the bathroom. Rumors of layoffs started to fly. Then it was required that they be at their line fifteen minutes early, unpaid. He fought all of this at first, then began to laugh about it.

Then they wanted to move him to second shift.

This was a concept he would not accept. To move to second shift would be to forfeit all his time coaching. It would mean a total end to the entrepreneurial work he is doing. It would mean a marriage that was, essentially, two ships passing in the night: me working 7:45am—5pm, he working 3:30pm—11:30pm. This would be second shift, seven days a week. This he would not accept. This, after much discussion between us, he turned down, leaving him jobless for the second time in our short marriage.

And I am glad. I am so glad. I am proud to be married to a man who will not accept something that is less than what he’s worth, something that is less than the sum of his dreams. We are too young for that.

More than likely, the solution to this problem will be found in part-time work. My husband is going to go back to being a bartender. And I couldn’t be happier.

It’s not prestigious, and it’s certainly not going to make a lot of family members happy. It’s really not going to satisfy those confused well-wishers we meet occasionally who can’t understand why we aren’t in school, why we didn’t finish those degrees. But it satisfies us; it takes us closer to the life we’re working for. That’s not something that we can expect anyone to understand. And that’s okay.

I am putting my time in now, working, so that my husband can do the work he needs to do in order to allow me to come home and stay home when we have children. And that’s okay with me. I am glad to do this work now, to be able to get that awesome gift of time home later. I want to be able to give to my children what my mom was able to give me: undivided time, attention and love. Even now, I know that she is always there for me, no questions asked. I want to give my children that same security. That’s what we’re working for… that’s what, strangely, bartending will help to accomplish. A means to an end. It’s really just another detour in this journey we’re taking together, this journey that has been full of surprises, good and bad, but still more fulfilling than anything I’ve ever attempted.

And yet… How do you explain that to others? What do you say when others look and see only a life that has drifted far off course from where it should have been? Is that my own, self-imposed judgment born of the awkwardness I feel when I have no impressive answer for the “What are you doing now?” query?

I don’t have answers to any of these questions, only the faith that what we’re doing is right, regardless of the view of others. This is just another leg in the journey that we are taking together. It is an unexpected detour, yes, but one that will ultimately take us to the destination we can’t yet see. We don’t know where we’re going yet, but we know that God has a plan for us that is greater than our own.


Blogger Piper said...

What an evil position for your H's company to leave him in. My man just went back to work after his company was sold out from under him... he had about 10 minutes notice. Good luck to you both!

1:08 AM  
Blogger Geosomin said...

My husband and I went through a similar decision lately and I must say I am so glad for you that you can take the supportive attitude you have. Self respect and a happy relationship is more important than money earned, and although family and friends may think they are taking your best interests in mind by questioning your choices, you have made it sound like it was an intelligent and well thought out decision made by both of you.
Make plans to live your life and be happy. Happiness is what life is all about and the things that are important are what you choose them to be.
Our decision was a similar one and we do not regret it. We got by and were happy, which was the most important thing, and in the end something better came up in the end for my husband. Family and friends were confused, but seeing us happy was most important to them, despite their mumblings.

I just stumbled upon your blog and thought I'd offer my 2 cents and encouragement, for whatever it's worth!

Happy thoughts...

5:11 PM  

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