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It was 2009. Barack Obama had been inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States. Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” played endlessly on the radio. Taylor Swift was manterrupted at the VMAs. And I got my first legit psychic reading by the illustrious Jessica Lanyadoo.
At 29 years old, I was both recently single and unemployed. Feeling lost, I went to Jessica wanting to better understand myself. Before Jessica, I had had a few experiences with psychics, mainly shady off-the-street palm readers who offered to shoo away the evil spirits from my aura, if I purchased a candle with one easy payment of $99.99. So, when I showed up for my appointment with Jessica, I was skeptical.
What I experienced on that August day with Jessica was unexpected. Her reading was deep and cutting to who I was, and yet her style and sense of humor made what she told me a lot easier to swallow.
“Giiiiirll, you lie to yourself. You are really good at lying to yourself,” she told me. I had no idea what she meant, which illustrated her point exactly. “You are the queen of repression.” She went on. “You are intense.”
No one had ever used these words to describe me before. I tended to be shy and quiet. Now that I’m an Energy Reader myself, I know what she meant. She summed it up, “You are full of anxiety. And you don’t even seem to know it.” She was right. After 11 years and 7 months, I’m still uncovering how I lie to myself and how my anxiety tells me as much.
After the reading, I appreciated the information, but I didn’t really get it. I went on living my life as any other 29-year-old in the tech industry. I found a job in the next “it” industry (social gaming). I worked 12 hour days. And, I crushed on my boss who was kind of an ass.
All par for the course for any ambitious young professional, climbing the ladder. Those were fast times about instant gratification. You gotta be in it to win it. Work assigned today was due yesterday. Long hours show you care. If you don’t get promoted in 6 months, look for another job. Make sure to drink enough alcohol with coworkers to satisfy the “Mandatory Fun” requirement (A real meeting I had). If you’re not having fun, pretend that you are (i.e. lie to yourself) so your coworkers don’t throw you under the bus.
Work hard, play hard. If I had to choose a cliché to encapsulate the time between 2000 to 2019, this douchey motto would be it.
Then, 2020 happened and everything changed. The fast-times train halted with the global pandemic. For the first few months of lockdown, everyone else looked around in a haze of confusion: “When are we going back to normal?” We all craved our busy, over-scheduled, instant gratification lifestyles. We wanted to return to what we knew.
Instead, there was no toilet paper to be found, Amazon Prime took five days instead of two (argh!), and grabbing a drink to cope was off the table. Add in the social and political unrest, the extreme weather due to global warming, the spike in hate crimes, and we’ve found ourselves standing on a cracking foundation in 2021.
The destabilization of… everything has us asking, “What matters now?” I’ve heard from many awesome, driven women in midlife that their goals have changed. Pre-pandemic, they were willing to be adventurous, to jump into the fire of work, sex, life, and rock n’ roll. Now they’re starting to wonder, “I think I want stability, is that okay?”
Stability is sooo not sexy. My 29-year-old self scoffed at stability. Stability was for women who weren’t strong enough to survive without it. After the year we’ve had, my, how wrong I was.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Target this year, strolling through the aisles, monitoring the fragile supply of Oreos and Method cleaners. With not much else open, Target was one of the only places I could go besides supermarkets. Wandering the aisles de-stressed me, even if I didn’t buy much. It was during one of these small ritual visits that a revelatory, identity-shifting thought popped into my head: “I wouldn’t mind being a housewife.”
My next thought came quick, “What?! Don’t think that!” A nightmare scenario began to play out in my head: The Patriarchy Squad heard my family-first thought through a make-shift mind-reader transistor radio. They race to me in an unmarked van. The Squad jumps from the van, knocks over my Target bag full of tampons, rips up my Planned Parenthood membership card, snatches my birth control, and demands that Mondays are unequivocally meatloaf night in Bonnie’s kitchen, so hop to it!
How did I go from ambitious professional who’s not sure about marriage and kids for the last 40 years to…wanting to be a housewife? This last year has me wanting to nest and feel safe. But this? There’s a possibility I may be going crazy, but could there be something to this thought? And is Jessica right? Was I lying to myself this whole time?
For the last 12 months, I’ve been holed up in a 400-square-foot studio apartment where, despite a pandemic, there’s been almost nonstop construction surrounding me. Somehow, the port-o-potty always ends up right outside my window. I listen as the road outside is torn up once again, and I wonder, “What if it’s going to be like this forever?” The drilling has me thinking long-term. I usually avoid questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” But, right now, long-term doesn’t feel so bad, considering I can’t even see next month.
I want stability. There, I’ve said it. The adventurous, do-fast, win-fast lifestyle has worn on me. I’ve been forced to slow down in 2020, and it’s made me question my beliefs about stability. Stability is not for the weak. No, it’s for those of us who need a freaking break. For us who need to face our fears of boredom and insignificance, so we can finally get the support we need. One day, we will start our adventures again, and we’ll be grounded and restored when we do.
Do you need stability too? What does it look like? Stability could mean working at a job you don’t love for a paycheck. Although it’s not your dream job, it means you can finance a passion project or plan for your future. For others, stability could mean the complete opposite. You may want to work less in order to have more time for self-care or with friends and family.
Whatever this thing is that you’re cultivating, perhaps it was something you needed for a while. The things we need most can be easily ignored in our go-fast culture. For me and my housewife fantasies, the “housewife” signifies nurturing and nurturer. To care for another, and to be cared for. The giving and receiving feels stabilizing and grounding. Will I be a housewife forever? I doubt it. But choosing the stability that my heart yearns for will surely make me a better woman in the world.
Rev. Bonnie Ho is a spiritual counselor, energy reader, and author of the Living in the Third Eye column for Jumble & Flow. After spending most of her adult life trying to prove her own worth through an analytical career, Bonnie found a spiritual path that led her back to herself and her own heart. Now, Bonnie aims to help others heal their wounds, find their joy, and embrace their intuition and true desires, in a grounded, balanced way.
Bonnie is available for spiritual guidance and energy readings. Visit bonniehoinsights.com to learn more.
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Adventures in Perimenopause, essays by women in perimenopause and menopause
In My Prime: interviews with women thriving in midlife
Life Stuff: Healthy living, home, careers
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