When To Quit by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan
What to write about each week can sometimes be difficult when life feels like _____________ (fill in the superlative of your choice). I have no inspiring words, no personal epiphany. I am dog paddling, trying to keep my head above water. Mostly I feel embarrassed by my situation. It’s hard to be in one’s 50’s and feel like _____________ (again fill in the blank). There is so much static floating about in the world—in my world—that it’s hard to think.
Read the “paper” or any media and one can feel paralyzed by the onslaught of everything: food issues, child rearing, women’s issues, race issues, natural disasters and the nuances in all of it. Don’t read anything and face one’s own personal disasters: ________________ (again fill in the blank).
I find myself angry that I want things that are difficult to attain. I wonder why I can’t just settle for basic or simple. I have always been this way. It isn’t from media, or girlfriends or even light romantic comedies, it just is. As my mom explained once “I want what I want when I want it.” I see this quality in my daughter. The negotiating or asking for the exact thing she wants, which is not what was offered in the choices given; her desire for “more” in almost every situation that is presented; the reaching for perfection in all tasks that she endeavors to complete.
My response to her is an attempt to quell her desire. I am talking to myself when I say, “Be happy with what you have.” Which is me really saying learn to love what you have or you will find yourself frustrated like me. Have I just set my bar too high and am I too impatient?
When does one say, “Okay let’s just go for the basics: a job that pays the bills?” Is there a reasonable time frame of how long to keep knocking. Is there a moment when persistence is really just futile and crazy making? I don’t have an answer. And I am not sure how to respond to this quality in my daughter. Yes, I know the campaign “I’m not bossy, I am the boss.” But all the inspirational quotes don’t pay the bills.
As Virginia Woolf said “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” After nearly three years, I am feeling the truth of this statement. Oh how I miss my little office. And many days I wish I had a trust fund.