Sunday, 13 January 2008

The perfect life

I started this from somewhere over the Alantic – writing in MS Word since, of course, I couldn’t get online up there. I was on my way westward, heading to a somewhat familiar city in my native country of grand old America for work. I’m here for a week before I blissfully head back eastward to the city and country I love. I get to fly business class when I take these trips, so I had the typical 3-course dinner and then afternoon tea shortly before landing. This is the first of what I’m told will be many trips across the pond for work, but I long ago stopped flying economy class on long-haul flights if I could help it, so I’m an old hat at the ins and outs of jolly old business class. All of this luxury should feed my ego – it should make me happy that somehow I’ve achieved success in life, that I’ve "arrived." And it does feed my ego to some extent ;) I love sitting up there. But it also makes me sad.

I’ve just been asked/told to take on a new (extensive) project at work...because they think I’m good at what I do. Flattering I know, but all of this has me somewhat saddened and worried, as I often get, that I’m becoming exactly what I said I’d never become. My routine on flights is such that I watch a film whilst doing the cocktail/dinner thing and then I take a nap/rest (I try not to actually fall asleep on the westward flights for purposes of jetlag) until I get bored, then it’s back to the films or – as I was doing when I started this entry – other things. And through all that, you’d think I’d be in heaven, wouldn’t you?

It’s certainly not a bad life, I am not crazy or egotistical enough to sit here and think I live a life of torture. I’m quite lucky, I know. But, I’ve never been one to be satisfied with mediocrity and the film I watched this time has me thinking. I rested for a good two hours afterward, all comfy with my neck pillow and lavender infused/fleece lined sleep mask, lost in my thoughts. The film was The Nanny Diaries. It’s not a new film – and to be honest, though I’d heard of it in passing, I never really gave it a second thought. I’m not a huge film buff in general and it kind of sounded like a fluffy kid-movie.

But it was a great film...I’m not sure I took away the same happy little message the writers and actors intended, but I did take away my own thoughts. To sum it up quickly, the film shows Annie – a recent uni/college grad – who grew up in a lower-middle class home and lands in Manhattan, totally unsure of who she is and what she wants out of life. Through a weird and quick set of circumstances, she ends up as a nanny for a stereotypically Upper East Side family. The wife doesn’t work, but she also doesn’t really want to be a mother. The husband works 25 hours a day, making a ton, and their only child – a young son – is waitlisted at a prestigious school and is seemingly unnoticed by his parents.

Predictably, the nanny forms a bond with the child and we see how faulty the parents really are. The mother, along with the other women – all of similar lifestyles – runs around in designer skirt suits and pearls, her hair perfectly styled. They all attend old-fashioned parties and society events. They live old-fashioned lives, with a bit of crazed 21st century thrown in.

And I got all that, but I focused on a side issue. I want the successful husband, I want the refined life where I wear skirts and pearls and it isn’t an anomaly that I don’t work, it’s the norm. But. I absolutely don’t want to be a self-absorbed Upper East Side Manhattan wife/mother who does nothing. I don’t want some nanny raising my children. I don’t want my husband to be so bored with me that he ignores me. I want the fairytale.

I want to be the one running around to playgroups, taking my children to museums and watching them grow. I want to have the home perfectly and completely relaxing for my husband when he comes home each night...I want what I do everyday to have a larger meaning. So, watching that movie has me hurting a bit.

They’re just characters, of course, but the mom in that movie is a selfish idiot. She has no idea what she has...I wonder more and more each day if it’ll ever happen, but I hope someday that I have the opportunity to raise my children, to make my husband’s home life a haven of heaven similar to what I sat in on the plane.

I know I’ve said it before...but it feels incredibly peculiar to be skilled at something I’m so bored and unfulfilled with. To want something so much that is so despised by modern society.

I don’t care about my MBA, I don’t care about my CV or corporate accomplishments. I care that I’ve crafted the perfect cheesecake recipe, that my future children and husband know that they are my world.

I’m my own worst enemy I know, too picky for my own good. Because though I want all of that, I want it with a man I am enthralled with. I won’t settle for less. But I still hope prince charming is out there somewhere. I feel a bit defeated I guess – why is it so easy to accomplish what I don’t really want and so hard to accomplish what I really do want?

1 comment:

Egghead said...

We always want what we do not have and we rarely appreciate what we have until we lose it. I know somebody with a health problem that makes eating very difficult. Speaking with her and seeing her agony makes me think of the bliss of something as basic as consuming food.

Having said that, I think you might view your current employment as a very good chance to meet men who are equally or preferably more accomplished than you. You do not sound like a girl who would be satisfied with a man with less aptitudes than yourself. So, boring as it may seem, your work provides well for you and is a means to an end, namely the life you are wishing for yourself. You are not wasting your time.