Monday, March 09, 2015

The importance of true peers

I read an article from the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Facebook page this week. It was about the importance of finding peers for your gifted child and adolescent, and how it can be hard for them to find true peers in the traditional school system. There is nothing super-unusual about this article. Miraca Gross has written about it in The Me Behind the Mask and about how important it is for our gifted kids to find "kindred spirits".

This week, I read those articles and I cry. I cry not for my two exceptionally gifted kids, but I cry for me. Because it's not just our kids searching for their tribe; those couple of people who "get you". Kindred spirits. It is gifted adults too.

I spent the weekend with work colleagues on a "reward trip". We are the top performing novice travel consultants who made our targets. They took us away for a weekend of socialising and fun on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Now, usually I can get along with most people and manage to have a pretty good time at these things. I don't mind a drink or two and I can chat to anyone. But I found myself this weekend feeling out of touch. Old. Fat. And with NOTHING in common with these (mostly) twentysomethings. Their topics of conversation mostly involved how smashed they were going to get that night. What tattoo they were going to get the next day. I listened to their music and my head hurt.

Partly it was an age thing. One of them mentioned that she didn't want to get married because once you get married and have kids your life is over. And although I can kind of relate, my first thought was "well, I've f*cked up the last 20 years of my life, then!"

But it was also a kindred spirit thing. Most of these people had no tertiary qualifications. Those that did were in marketing and design. There were decidedly anti-intellectual.

And so, for the first time in about 30 years, I found myself ostracised socially. I was with the group, but not included. People sat with their backs to me. I wasn't included in conversations. And the longer the weekend went on, the more out of place and the less inclined to make an effort socially I felt.

That's me at the back, behind the guy in the red hat. Pretending to have a good time.

And it came to me with a blinding flash of clarity. These people are not my peers. They are most definitely NOT my kindred spirits. I didn't fit in and I most certainly didn't belong. What the hell was I doing there???

I certainly missed my family. My husband annoys me at times, but damn, he's got my back and he GETS ME. I missed my kids. I would have had a MUCH better time if I was spending time with those gorgeous young people.

It is with a huge sense of dread I go back to work tomorrow. It is with a sense of desperation that I am spending most of my public holiday today searching for and applying for jobs that will fulfill me and more importantly, let me work with intelligent people who are into the same things as me (science and education) and who have the same values as me. People who are happy with the "me behind the mask".

Stay tuned for further developments.
Have you got kindred spirits?

Ever felt ostracized?

Still searching for people who you can be your authentic self with?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I will get to the bad bits of school, I promise. But first, it's all about me...and a bit of navel gazing.

You know those people who reckon that even if they won the lottery, they would still go to work? Nup. Not me! I might potter about doing some writing (blogging, novel writing) and maybe some volunteering, but paid employment? Especially full-time paid employment? I'd chuck that baby out with the bath water if I didn't financially have to do it. But financially, I'll be eating two-minute noodles in retirement if I don't work, so it was time to get back into the paid workforce full-time. Plus, I reckon I have some mad skillz, so I should be doing something "worthwhile" with my employment life.

Depending on how well you know me, you may or may not know I have an interesting resume. I've done all sorts of things, not counting my motherly/home duties. I'm talking paid employment. Through the years, I've been a:

  • production line worker in a chocolate factory

  • receptionist at a marina

  • river management officer

  • manager of natural resources management and education programs

  • environmental policy writer

  • wholesale travel agent

  • resort manager

  • electronics and music retailer

  • high school science, maths and dance teacher

  • national parks educational ranger

  • library assistant

  • retail travel agent
And so, with the children happily ensconced in school, I find myself asking one of life's big questions (again) - what do I want to do when I grow up?

You see, at the moment (and I'm not I'm not alone in feeling these feels), I feel as if my life is one big groundhog day of get up, ironing uniforms (mine, his and theirs), organise lunches, nag, yell, go to work, work 10-12 stressful hours a day with about 10 minutes for lunch and not much financial reward, come home (usually via the grocery store and if I'm being honest, Beer Wine and Spirits store), cook dinner, nag about homework, watch whatever Hubby has on the TV, try to go to sleep, lie awake for several hours due to ridiculous female hormones, wake up do it all again. On the weekends, I have laundry, more grocery shopping, and vacuuming to look forward to. If I'm really lucky, I get to clean the bathrooms too! Is this what I wanted when I grew up? No. It is not.

I don't know what it is I want to do with the 15-20 years left of my working life. I do know, John, that I'm not happy. I do know these things:

  • In the words of Sweet Charity, "there's gotta be something better than this"

  • I want enough money to be comfortable (not rich), to pay for a decent overseas holiday at least once a year (I've got the travel bug)

  • I want to do something that means something, not just something that makes money

  • I don't want to keep give, give, giving of myself and get not much in return

  • I want some time in my life to look after myself better (exercise, healthy food and just some "me" time to do things I enjoy)

  • I don't mind being a bit stressed/busy every now and then, but it's not how I want to spend all day every day

  • I'm good at lots of things, I'm interested in lots of things,

I need to find what makes ME happy and preferably get properly remunerated, so I can afford to retire. 

Would YOU work if you didn't have to financially?

What would be your dream job?

Do you find it hard to balance everything in your life too (or is that just me?)

Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting"...