The women of my generation seemed to have been on the cusp of when it was still acceptable not to go to college and instead look for a decent job. Having just been an average student, I did not see academia in my future. My dad was a cop and my mom worked in the local nursing home and I learned from them the importance of having a good and steady job and if it provided health insurance, that was a bonus. I moved to “the city” the week after I graduated from high school. “Don’t sign a lease until you have a job,” my parents warned. Well, how was I to get a job if I didn’t live in the city that was one hundred miles from home? I signed the lease the second day. And fortunately, found a job within the week.
The first few jobs I had weren’t necessarily “good jobs” and I soon found myself waiting tables or working in retail part-time to pay the rent. Sometimes I got behind and Mom and Dad helped when they could, but going home was not an option. Twenty-five years ago, I landed a “good job” and was able to quit all those part-time jobs. The company I work for also offers educational opportunities which I had hoped to take advantage of. But marriage and children were next, so I settled for industry related classes. Those classes and my high school education managed to help me advance to a middle management position that afforded me the opportunity to travel. Last count, I think I have been in forty-some states and seen a lot of places I wouldn’t have seen had it not been for this job. No one says “I want to work for an insurance company when I grow up” but this is where I landed and it’s been good to me.
911, the fall of the economy and the increase in available technology have all contributed to less travel over the years. I lost my status on the airlines and in major hotels. But you know what? I didn’t miss it at all. My boys were growing up and had a lot more activities and I was grateful to be home. And I finally had time to really concentrate on my horses. I was plenty busy.
As with life, things change. Once again, there seems to be more opportunity for work related travel. I have to admit it has been hard to get in the swing of it. And it may just be the season and not the status quo. Last week I was in Denver and this week I’ve been in Chicago. Whenever I get to the BIG city (or cities), I feel a little like Mary Richards. (“Who can turn the world on with her smile.” Some of you get the reference.) I love the food, the fancy cars, and to gaze up at the sky scrapers and feel the hustle and bustle. But unlike our Mary, I have no desire to stay here. I miss the country and the sound of locusts singing in the evening. (You may call them cicadas, but where I grew up, we called them locusts). It doesn’t take me long to miss my horses and my dogs and the sunrise and sunsets.
If I would have taken the college route all those years ago, I am not sure I would be where I am today. I hope I would have been successful down whatever path it would have taken me. I know today that I am very lucky to have a job that can and does show me the world. And that it affords me the simple and quiet lifestyle that I love.