30-year-old woman writes emo blog post after midnight

5.26.2017

I grew up fantasizing, not about the career I would have, but the career I would give up. For years, I imagined my moment of glory—not the moment I was accepted to the perfect prestigious graduate program or landed the job of my dreams, but the moment I turned it down. The details of the achievement were always vague but the details of the sacrifice were excruciatingly precise. I always gave up everything. Heroically. That was my fantasy.

For years I’ve looked at my post-college life as a big disappointment. I became a mother—something I’ve always deeply, sincerely wanted to do—but I didn’t give anything up for it. I didn’t have some great achievement hanging in the balance, there to point to when my intelligence or talent was called into question, or when I doubted it myself. I wondered why I didn’t live up to my potential in that phase between graduating and having these babies. And then one day it hit me—as it turns out, vanity isn’t all that motivating.

Everyone likes to talk about “fulfillment”—Does a career make you feel fulfilled? Then have a career. Oh, motherhood alone is all you need to feel fulfilled? By all means, focus on that.—And I hear this talk and quietly wonder if they’re all full of it. Does anyone really feel fulfilled, as in complete? Whole? Maybe in moments, yes, but in life at large? Do you really live out your days like that? Thinking, “Nothing is lacking here.”

Maybe some do. Maybe I’m broken. Or maybe we should all just stop talking about sacrifice like it’s a badge of honor and fulfillment like it’s a Facebook status. Sacrifice is just a byproduct and fulfillment is a wave and I wish to God I’d known that 15 years ago. Now, I just fantasize about floating back and forth in peace.

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