Sunday, December 30, 2012

“Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?”

Yesterday a midst a Sex and the City marathon one of the episodes referenced "The S word"; or the shoulds in our life.  I should be married with kids, I should own a home and be settled down, I should grow up, I should make the "right" decisions.  Heck I should probably even stop wearing concert T-shirts and flip flops.  These shoulds come from the media, from peer pressure, from family, from the world around us and often times from deep inside ourselves.
"I wondered if should was another disease plaquing women.  Did we want babies and perfect honeymoons, or did we think we should have babies and perfect honeymoons? How do we seperate what we could do with what we should do? And here is an alarming thought.  It's not just peer pressure, it seems to be coming from within.  Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?
~ Ah, the wise words of Carrie Bradshaw.  (Season 6, Episode 15, "Catch 38")
Interesting that I watched that show in the afternoon, thought about some of my own shoulds and then had to confront one of them when I headed to work at my retail gig.  After hearing that this older gentleman that I was helping was from NYC I told him that I was from NY and asked him where in NYC.  When he said the Village I got really excited and told him I went to NYU for grad school.  He then proceeded to say something along the lines of how did you end up working here with a Master's degree from NYU.  I told him that I was on pause from my career and taking some time to explore different options and I was fine.  He walked away and I was pissed.  How dare he make me justify the use (or lack thereof) of my degree?  How dare he make me question my place, when I question it enough without anyone having to do it for me?  How dare he make me for even one second feel less then?  But, when I told him that I was fine for the first time in a while I did not have to convince myself that this was true.  I know I wrote about being “good enough for now” and sometimes it is hard for me to accept that but when I said last night that I was fine I actually felt like I was speaking the truth.  It took me saying those words out loud to a stranger for me to believe them.

So I am not sure what he thought I “should” be doing with my degree but I know I have gotten my money’s worth.  We have choices, I have choices.  I choose right now to work a part-time retail job, I could have chosen a different path to be on right now but this is what I have chosen.  It is what I SHOULD be doing right now because it is what I have chosen to do.  So I say to that man who looked at me with both disapproval and disappointment, "Thanks for your concern, but I really am fine!" 

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