Too Smart …

21 Mar

Growing up, I always imagined myself in a high-power executive position probably either in politics or finance.  I was, while admittedly a distracted and occasionally lack-luster university student, a driven individual with loads of professional ambition.  Even early in my college years I work for the Department of Defense and took initiatives that led to the automation of an entire division within one of the agencies within DoD.  Not to shabby for a 19 or 20-year-old.  Near the end of my college years I became enamored with a political candidate began as an envelope-stuffing volunteer and ended the year as the Chief Procurement Officer working in the national headquarters for a presidential candidate.  While well acquainted with some big names on Capitol Hill and the White House, I began a job as a temp in a mortgage division of a local savings bank.  Within months, I was hired as a permanent, full-time employee and began a career in mortgage banking.  Within 7 years, I had advanced within the field to the point that I had held jobs that put me in the position of rating the quality of portfolios for senior bank officials, working as a high-priced consultant advising bank presidents nationwide, owning my own mortgage consulting position and then ultimately serving as an executive officer for a large bank.  I received my promotion to bank officer by the time I was 30.  Shortly after that I had my third child, and quit.  I was offered some pretty substantial packages to go back to work … salaries and bonuses designed to cover nannies, transportation, meals and clothing.  I never went back.

I mention all of this not to impress or to promote myself, but, I guess, to illustrate or underscore that I am where I am largely by choice.  Where I am today carries a lot fewer accolades and doesn’t play nearly as well at sophisticated social events.  My wardrobe is more welcomed at Target than at Nordstrom’s these days and our family often struggles with financing car repairs and such.  Today, I am essentially a self-employed, stay-at-home, homeschooling, small business owner (VERY small business owner).

People who learn about my background will often question why I am not still pursuing “greatness”.  I occasionally hear from former work friends and they wonder why on earth I live like I do.  I have heard so often how I am too smart, too qualified, too good to be living the life I am living.  Honestly, it always fluffs my ego.  It also always helps me realize that I didn’t stumble and fall to the place I am today, but after considering my options I chose it.

Having grown up during the era of the women’s right movement and ERA, I am so proud of the accomplishments women have made and continue to make in the world.  One of the greatest feats I think we can hold up proudly as a society is our ability to choose as men AND women what our priorities will be without judgement.  I think it is fantastic that we live in a world where women can be today’s captains of industry and men can be seen pushing strollers through the park.  I think, however, we sometimes overlook the power in choosing to accept a more traditional (while I assure completely NOT traditional) role of staying home with children.

I look forward to the days ahead as I enter different seasons of life and my priorities evolve and change.  For today though, I think that I am too smart and too knowledgeable to allow social ambitions or expectations to dictate my choices.  The experience and skills I have gained over the last 11 years of staying home have enriched my life so tremendously and have offered my such a great depth of understanding of who I am – While I could have continued on a successful career track, I doubt I would have the ability to obtain the level of contentment I enjoy right now.  Life isn’t always what I want it to be.  I have dreams of new things in my future.

I hope to always be strong enough … ambitious enough … smart enough … to choose my own path in life.  I hope you are too …



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