I guess I was about 13 or so when the movie “The Year of Living Dangerously” came out. I watched it and at that point, I pretty much knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a foreign correspondent, a journalist in another country. Well, since I foolishly believed people who said that journalism is too competitive, or whether my angsty teenage self-doubt overwhelmed me (NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN, KIDS), I didn’t become a foreign correspondent. I did become an English as a Foreign Language teacher overseas, and was only about 40K in student debt away from making it permanent. Dream a little dream for me, Sallie Mae.
(the good news is that all the debt is paid off, and so… and so?)
Instead of living dangerously, I joined Peace Corps (so much safer! tongue in cheek here). They sent me to Russia with my Spanish language degree. Toward the end of the trip, I spent a week with the son of a colleague, an electronica artist who I hung out with during white nights of St. Petersburg in 1997 or 8. After some crazy adventures (it is possible they weren’t crazy, but when the sun doesn’t go down in St. Petes, it does feel somewhat surreal to walk around in noontime sun at 3AM), he said that I would “Go home and be domestic and forget all about the romping and gallivanting,”
I was keenly irritated by his presumption. But that seemed to be a theme of our time together, language misunderstanding resulting in mutual confusion. It was fun while it lasted.
The low-level chaos of working and taking care of children finally gelled. Life changing events passed and a decision came down, I don’t want chaos, I want to be with the kids while they are still young to value small things like having a book read to them. Going out for ice cream, going to the park, the bookstore or the pool. Gymnastics classes, making dinner, making their room nice and making sure they have shoes and toothbrushes and homework done… I wanted time for all that.
However, (looking around to make sure no one is looking as I publish this for the world to see) I really, really like the fact that I have a school year where the most important things I do are related to my home and my family. To my great surprise, it is making me very, very happy. It is ALL GOOD.
My freezer contains blueberries, raspberries of 2 colors, chesterberries, marionberries, peaches, zucchini, freezer jam, soup, homemade broth, 1/4 of a cow, spaghetti sauce and homemade pesto, isn’t that enough? My shelf has some salsa I am hoping will survive my attempt at preserving, to say nothing of the applesauce that is waiting for something less than 88 degree heat.
I am considering homeschooling my 3rd grader and getting somewhat giddy about it. It doesn’t really get any more domestic than that, does it? And I am just getting started… I am going to get my pickle on with those overgrown cukes from the garden…
So, a year of living dangerously? Maybe later. For now, I am gonna get pickling, tie shoelaces, investigate HVAC options for our aging home and balance the budget. Shazam, take that Suzie homemaker.
Bye bye year of living dangerously, hello year of living domestically.