In some ways it was not an easy decision. I am all for doing all you can with yourself and I think older women have to step up and show they can do it. And it would be an exciting job. But I am also old enough to know that all that glitters is not gold, that there is such as thing as enough money, and that once you walk away from those big jobs no one remembers you anyway after you have gone. This October my 81 year old mother is coming down to stay with my daughter and help with the first great-grandchild. I would miss that.
So I came home and did something I never do, I poured a glass of wine and went to bed and just sat there in the dark thinking.
And it's not that I have nothing else going on. I have wonderful students and a great relationship with them. I have new courses I am developing and when my DD calls on a day off and wants to walk the dogs to the park I can go and we walk around and talk about cloth diapers.
As my mother said to me last night, sagely, you are lucky to have a daughter who is close to you and wants you with her.
The funny thing is that walking away from this is giving me energy to put a lot into the rest of my life and work. I feel like to justify this I have to do an excellent job with what I do.
The thing with decisions is that you take your best shot and never really know until later if it was the best thing. Will I say one day that I am glad I didn't take that job, that there was a reason? You never know, life isn't like that. I just feel in my gut that there is no good reason to spend the next four summers of my life inside an office or stuck to a cell phone.
Yesterday I read an obit in the paper of a very prominent lawyer I knew. Extremely successful. The obit talked about his career and about something that his family knew and I didn't. That he studied and loved literature in university, that he loved France and that in his later years he and his wife went to Paris every April.
We had mutual friends and I remember talking to him at a party. I asked him about the law and he said to me that the thing was he hated the law and didn't like practicing it, regretted that his son was also a lawyer.
It's a balance isn't it? Doing enough with your life but not giving too much of yourself up in the process. And like all balances I am sure that it requires fairly constant readjusting.