First, you’re born. You spend a year as a blob, not knowing how to communicate or even move properly. Then you have about three years of fun before you have to start school. Where you’re then stuck for the next thirteen years. After that, you might decide to go to university to try and get a good job at the end of it. So that’s three years of stressful fun (or fun stress, however you decide to word it) there. And then when you’ve finally finished that, you realise that don’t want to work in that field anymore. In fact, you don’t want to work in any field. You just want to have fun and travel. Or maybe settle down in a foreign country and work in a bookstore. But to do that you’ll need money, and to get money you’ll need a job. So you look for jobs. Only they all require either qualifications or experience. So how the fuck are you supposed to get a job when you need experience to get a job that gives you experience?! And if you do somehow manage to get a job, you have to keep working and working for the rest of your life so that you’ll have enough money to live it. Only you won’t actually be able to live it, because you’ll be too busy working. Life is bullshit.
I have a 2500 word essay due on Friday. It’s about categorical vs. dimensional approaches to diagnoses in the DSM-5, with regards to eating disorders. Yuck, I know. Especially when eating disorders are: A – boring, and B – not something we have examined in class. Unsurprisingly, I have written two sentences. I really need to work on this whole motivation thing. Especially since I chose to write that essay instead of working on Monday and Wednesday, and since I didn’t actually do any of it, I basically just paid $300 to procrastinate at home instead of at an office. Brilliant. But anyway, my time spent procrastinating wasn’t completely wasted.
In case you don’t know, I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology. Practicality says that I should want to be a psychologist after that. But there are a few small problems with that. Firstly, I don’t know what kind I want to be. Originally I wanted to be a forensic psychologist (for people who don’t know what that is, think Sweets from Bones), but those aren’t exactly in high demand. Secondly, I hate research. Research is the worst thing ever. Which not only rules out any type of research psychologist, but also makes further study – which is necessary in order to become a psychologist – extremely undesirable. And thirdly, I doubt I would even be accepted into said further study anyway. Psychology Honours is competitive, and my results are pretty damn mediocre (think around 60-70 average). So in reality, becoming a psychologist is not only looking unlikely, but also something that doesn’t really interest me, aside from being about an interesting topic.
A few years ago – maybe even not that long ago, to be honest – studying was something I felt I had to do, when really I just wanted to have a family. But lately I’ve come to realise that life really shouldn’t be about studying and then having kids, and then getting old and dying. My life should revolve around myself, not around family. So far with my life, I’ve just been playing into my family’s expectations, what with studying in order to get a job. If I did end up getting married and having kids, then that would switch into them being the priority. I would go straight from being a puppet to my parents to being a puppet to my children, without any me time in between. And you know what? I want some goddamn me time. I don’t know why I used to be so concerned with being a young mum. As long as I’m around for them, then that’s enough. In fact, I might not even have them at all. But now that I’ve gotten my priorities in order, if I do end up having them, it will be a long while away yet.
The other day I was in the city, and the Australian Defence Force was collecting donations for Legacy. I only had $4, but I went up to a man from the Army and donated anyway. I had just submitted an essay, so I was in that awesome just-having-submitted-an-essay mood. There were little rewards based on how much you donated, and I asked about this little red $2 pin, and he said I could have the $5 instead, because it was nicer. It was nicer, by the way. I think he was just happy someone finally went up to him. But anyway, I put the pin on my badge bag, and then on the tram a girl asked about what my panda badge meant! And she knew what I was talking about! Yay for recognition! But, anyway, I’m insanely off-topic right now. Back to the freakin’ Defence Force! Okay, so when I got home, I saw one of those ads about joining the Defence Force. And you know what? Being in that awesome mood, I was pretty much open to anything. So I looked up the Australian Defence Force. And I kept looking them up. I’ve been looking at the Navy’s website pretty much every day since. It must seem really bizarre for anyone who knows me (hell, it even seems really bizarre to me!), but it really feels like this is the place for me. One of their priority jobs is as a musician – and yes, they are after vocalists. Although I do believe I would have to obtain an AMusA (or equivalent) or relevant degree beforehand. And obviously I’ll need to work on my fitness. I plan to join a gym later on in the year, so I can work on my strength and stamina in order to be able to do the required push-ups, sit-ups, giant run, and (ugh) beep test. I’m all set for the swimming component though.
So yes, instead of working on an essay, I’ve been considering joining the Royal Australian Navy. And yes, it probably seems insane for someone like me to want to do something like that, but crazy isn’t always bad. Maybe it’s time to question things instead of falling into expectations people have set of me. Maybe it’s time to step up and take charge of my own life. Maybe it’s time for me to do something I can be proud of.
A long time ago, it was expected of women that when they grew up, they would get married and have children, and that their job would be to stay at home and look after them. Women didn’t have careers – the men were the breadwinners. And for a women to not have children was unthinkable.
Nowadays, we have it ‘good’. Anyone can get a job. When a couple has children, sometimes the mum stays at home, sometimes the dad stays at home. Sometimes both the parents are women, or both the parents are men, so whoever stays home wouldn’t make a difference to that aspect. And sometimes no-one stays home, and it’s a nanny or babysitter that looks after the children.
A friend of mine posted something on her tumblr a while ago. When she was in high school, her class had to write down what they wanted to be in the future. My friend wrote down ‘housewife’, and was promptly criticised for it, even being called lazy.
Firstly, wanting to be a housewife is not lazy. Housewives have to cook and clean. They have to look after their children – watch them, play with them, comfort them, wash them, dress them, read to them, patch them up when they get hurt… And if they’re babies or toddlers, then just add change their nappies and feed them to the list. They have to do the household’s shopping, and with the children at that, making it all the more difficult. That is hard work. Housewives are not lazing around at home watching telly all day. They are being chefs, and maids, and baby-sitters, and teachers, and doctors, and chauffeurs.
And secondly, I thought the days were over when people had things expected of them, and couldn’t make their own decisions about the future? Women may not be expected to be housewives anymore, but that doesn’t mean our lives are playing into people’s expectations any less. Instead of being wives and mothers, we are expected to get jobs, and have careers. Nowadays, being a wife and mother is viewed as secondary, and nothing to aspire to.
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at university, with a major in psychology. Not because I have any huge desire to be a psychologist, but because it is expected of me. Certainly, I find the subject interesting, but I would rather keep my house and look after my children than actually apply that knowledge to a career.
So tell me, how is it progress, when all we’ve done is swap one expectation for another?