Thursday, July 21, 2011

Identity Crisis

Sometimes, I think I have a very clear understanding about who it is I am and how I want the rest of my life to look.  I've always admired women who are career-driven and conventionally successful.  I'm a high- achiever and I'm just about to finish business school.  When somebody asks me what I want in life, it usually involves a story about a high-rise condo in the city (OK, maybe a townhouse so I can have a backyard for the 2.5 kids), expensive suits, pearls and high heels.  I'd love a nice new shiny car and gorgeous designer furniture that I picked out on a lazy Sunday afternoon with my super handsome husband.  This is the life I've dreamed about since I was a little girl.  Forget the wedding, I wanted the career. 

Now why is it, that two weeks away from finally finishing my MBA and being that much closer to the life I've always imagined, am I having second thoughts?  Instead of fantasizing about watching college football in a hoodie in the rain and finally getting that killer capital markets job, I'm daydreaming about owning my own flower shop in Austin. 

If it weren't for the student loans, part of me thinks I could give it all up to own my own business in a place much sleepier than Chicago, like Columbus or Portland or San Diego.  I'd ride my powder pink bike to work with my satchel in the basket on the front.  I'd wear floral dresses and linen pants and drink coffee with the locals.  And on the weekends I'd take daytrips in my Volvo to play with all my newly acquired used cameras and re-finish found mid century modern furniture in my spare time. 

Why do so many of us have such disparate versions of ourselves sometimes? Like had I woke up on the other side of the bed one morning, it would have all been so drastically different.  I even had a adjunct finance professor who used to be a investment banker in New York and gave it all up to ski in Colorado and then own her own doggy daycare.  Perhaps it's just the left-side vs. right-side of the brain stuff.  Or the social confines which we found ourselves influenced and encapuslated by for almost thirty years.  Maybe it's because the "shoulds" outweigh the "coulds" or that the older we get the better we get at figuring out who we are, what we're good at and what makes sense.

My brothers and I have talked a lot about me moving to Detroit so that we can all work together.  We've talked about that since before my youngest brother was born and I have no doubt that one day it will happen.  But I keep hanging on to this idea of being the big city girl and living the kind of life I've worked so hard to get to the last two or so years.  But moving back to Michigan does mean that I could refinish furniture in my spare time, be a better blogger and devote more time to my photography.  I could garden with my mother and make things with my hands instead of spending more than half my waking hours in an air conditioned hise-rise in uncomfortable shoes. 

But perhaps I'm being a little dramatic.  I feel like my current situation is cutting off all my circulation and all the blood going to my head so I'm losing it a little bit.  Since when do I even know how to garden? Or arrange flowers? Or go shopping at estate sales?

Maybe it's that I've had to be on auto-pilot for so long and all this business school stuff has clogged the creative juice process.  I don't know.  But what I do know is that there must be some way to find more of a balance.  And starting in two weeks, it is my mission to do just that.  Part of me thinks that I wasn't meant to find my new job before graduation; that I need the down time to regroup and enjoy the last of the SoCal summer.  So that's what I'm going to do.  Plug away for these last two weeks and after that, just try (oh, and it will be difficult) to go with the flow.