That’s what my friend B said to me on a Friday morning as she offered to accompany me so that I don’t feel alone while I… well, waste my time.
I had the babysitter booked, my gym clothes on and enough mental strength to detach from the good company of friends to go and do my two hours of workout. But New York Sports Club had other plans. Without prior notice, they decided to shut down for the day.
I looked at the door sign which said: we’re closed, but all I could see were my precious $$$$ bills flying away and into the babysitter’s wallet. I can’t go home! I thought, not yet willing to accept defeat.
So I headed back to my friends, but they were wrapping up their coffee morning. I looked at my watch and I still had a full hour to… well, waste. I had nowhere to go… the time was too long to just sit still, and way too short to try and squeeze in any meaningful errand. Besides, I couldn’t think of anything meaningful to do!
So B and I decided to go shoe shopping. It’s always good therapy. And around Xmas time in New York, it’s also cheap therapy.
As I came home, upset, frustrated and thinking what a waste, it suddenly hit me! I actually spent a morning most working moms (including myself in previous lives) can’t even dream of.
I had coffee with good friends. I went shopping. I bought a new pair of Ballerinas for peanuts and I was not alone or lonely for a single moment.
So why am I always so stressed about a small change of plan? Why am I always looking for what I don’t have? Namely, a good job. Why am I looking at all this as “wasting my time”?
First of all, I think of it this way, because we do call it this way!
Second, many of us are frustrated in New York. This is a land that has so much to offer… if only you had the money to spend without any remorse.
Third and what I call a revelation, I, unlike many of my European and Australian friends, am not going back home for any future, near or far. My friend Mel knows she’s leaving by the end of the year and automatically fall back into her old routine as an MD. K is already volunteering as a teacher to beef up her CV before she goes back home. Opportunities await those who go back. That applies to me if I chose to go home too.
But it’s not a choice now, is it?
And that’s where all my angst stems from. Knowing that I really have no choice…not knowing whether I should just give up and enjoy my freedom or wait and hope for another career boost. But that latter isn’t really a choice either, because freedom in NY comes with a price tag. The private school fees, the babysitter, the expensive children’s activities all conspire to make freedom, an undesirable bargain at the end of the day!
Enough whining, I’ll go peek at my new Ballerinas in their fancy box and dream on….