I kind of fell apart after Thursday. I got a new world for The Sims 3 and began playing yet another new family. They started out as a young couple sharing an apartment in the city (Bridgeport), and eventually saved enough money to move into a rather unique house in the suburbs (Dragon Valley – the new world I just acquired). Their son (born in-game) just grew up into a child and had his first day of school.
The wife/mother is having a midlife crisis because her career/passion (trying to become a hit movie composer/mastering violin) takes up so much time she’s missed many of the milestones in her son’s development. The husband/father is quite happy with his life despite giving up his dream of becoming a “fashion phenomenon” (i.e. reaching the top of the fashion/stylist career). He’s been a stay-at-home dad for most of his son’s life.
I think the above scenario reflects what I fear happening to me in real life, especially if I pursue a career in music therapy. I question whether I can develop the piano and especially guitar skills I’ll need to successfully audition for an internship, never mind sustain my career. If I do manage that, I’m afraid I’ll be too busy working and practicing to really be present for my (someday) children. Being a good parent is important to me, but I don’t really have a model for how to make that work with a full-time job.
Alternatively I guess I’m also afraid that I’ll never find a career I find satisfying and can be successful in. Of the two adult sims, the stay-at-home dad actually seems to have the better life … but there’s a reason I haven’t had the working wife/mother quit her job (even though they have enough money that she could). She’s well on her way to her goal, and I want her to achieve it. I need to see her have a successful music-centered career; to do no less than climb to the very top of that career ladder.
I’m also hoping she might find a way to balance work and family life. Is that even possible?
I’ve also been having a bit of an existential crisis regarding marriage. All of a sudden I feel like I’m running headlong into something I don’t really understand. Fox keeps saying we’re already living like we’re married, but signing the license turns our personal agreement into a legal contract. Do I really want to be legally bound to help make living together work? Am I ready for any financial repercussions that might result? Am I ready for my identity to change, not only in the name I go by but in my status under the law? What will my new email address be?
And, as if all this weren’t enough, I’m stressed out by wedding planning. We’ve decided to go with the venue we visited on Monday; we’re just waiting to hear back from our contact person so we can book our date. I tried to schedule an appointment to meet with him in person, but he said that wasn’t “immediately” necessary and that he could answer my questions about pricing over the phone. Not really a fan but I need the information before I can feel comfortable signing a contract. Another contract! So I’ve given him my number and now I get to spend a day with my fingers crossed that he won’t call when I’m in the bathroom or something.
Finally, my mother is driving me crazy. (What else is new?) We need to spend at least $50 per person to book the room we want, so we were looking over the menu to select “premium” items we might want to add. The prices for these items aren’t listed on the menu, so we need to ask our contact person over the phone (since they refuse to give numbers via email). Mom took over the conversation; she selected which non-premium items we’re going to have, insisting on a selection neither of us like (but are willing to have because it’s popular among our families) and all but vetoing at least one selection we’ve been seriously considering. All this, months before we actually need to determine our menu! – before we’ve even reserved our date!
Then she asks me if this is what I really want. NO!!! I want to decide that I like a potential venue, then find out her opinion of it. (she likes it. good.) I want to talk to the contact person at a time that is convenient for me, when I feel prepared to go over the information, ask intelligent questions, and make note of the answers. I want to have final say over important things like what goes on the menu. I want to feel like my voice is being heard during conversations about MY wedding! When someone asks what I want, I want to be able to answer them, not feel so overwhelmed all I can say is, “I don’t know.” Because I do know, but I lose my sense of myself as a person with opinions that matter during these conversations and it hurts like hell.
And now I’m questioning everything, including whether I really want to spend the rest of my life with Fox … even though the thought of asking him to leave is unbearable. I made this decision two years ago and yeah, people change, but we made a commitment that we will work together as we change and grow to keep our relationship healthy. We can go for premarital counseling and couples therapy, we can get advice from other married couples, we can make mistakes and learn from them, we can even get into arguments. And sure, yeah, we – or at least I – can question this decision every day … and renew our commitment to each other every day. What matters is that it’s done in love.
And as much as I’d love to end on that hopeful note, I need to share something that’s been scaring the carp out of me. Today, with much encouragement and prodding, was the first time I’ve been able to talk about all this. I’ve wanted to update this blog many times, but found myself unable to get the words to come, unable to even try and let them come. It’s anxiety. I don’t know what I think will happen if I let it out but I’m afraid to do so. I feel my muscles tensing, my throat tightening, my voice shriveling away. I open my mouth but there’s nothing. It’s too painful, I need to get away …
In other words, some internal process is keeping me from speaking up for myself, and I don’t like it. I want it to stop!