Next year everything changes.
I haven’t really written about my plans for next year, partly because I find it hard to carve out time to sit down and write a post (as opposed to tweeting which can be done on-the-go from my phone) and partly because I’ve been struggling with some pretty serious ambivalence about what 2012 will mean for me and my family.
In summary: a new house in a new suburb, a new job, new childcare arrangements, new study commitments… all of which leaves me feeling a like there’ll be very little left in my life from the last 14 wonderful months.
In the middle of this year I applied for a job – a very competitive and sought after training position at a hospital on the other side of town. I applied partly because I felt like I should – not a good reason, I’ll grant you (and it would take too many paragraphs to explain why I feel that way, if I even could) – but also because I do truly want to take this step in my career. This is where the ambivalence kicks in – I want the job, but I don’t want what it will mean for my life for the next five years (which is the length of the training program – at a minimum).
To be honest, I didn’t think I’d get the job. During my interview the director of training was pretty blunt about the difficulties of the role when I had a child at home (this was the first question they asked me – yes, I know they technically aren’t allowed to discriminate) and about the relative mediocrity of my previous academic record (average to above average grades, although in a very competitive field). I left the interview sure I would not gain the position.
When they called me the following day to offer me the job I was forced to abruptly face the realities of the situation: turn down the job knowing I would almost certainly never be offered the role again, or accept the job and say goodbye to so many of the things I love about my life.
I hesitated for a fraction of a second and then accepted the job.
On an intellectual level it’s a no-brainer. It’s a position on the training program that I’ve always wanted to be on; in 5 years time (if I make it!) I will leave the program with a fantastic career, one that has the potential to be both lucrative and family-friendly. This is the job that will enable me to send Will to private school, to take annual overseas trips, to provide him with opportunities he might otherwise miss out on. Out of the diverse career field I am in this is the job that I think I am best suited to and will most enjoy.
This job will mean a 40 to 50 hour working week. It will mean major study commitments with some pretty serious exams – the first set in September next year. It means moving in order to be closer to my base hospital. It means overtime, nightshift, and weeks rostered to out-of-town locations.
How the hell do I do that and still manage to maintain any semblance of the close relationship I currently share with Will? Where will I find the energy to continue nurturing my marriage? When will I have time for any self-care activities like yoga? How do we care for Will when both of us have jobs that involve working odd or extended hours?
How the hell are we ever going to have another kid?
That’s the big one for me. The reality that this fertility-impaired girl might have to wait until she’s 36 to try for more kids. I can’t ignore what 5 more years is going to do to my fertility. It’s that uncertainty coupled with the knowledge that I will only be able to spend a fraction of the time I currently do with my son that makes me feel almost sick every time I think about it. I haven’t even returned my contract because that would just make it seem too real, too final.
Holy crap, what have I gotten myself in for?