9. Vipassana. Work vs. Family

by HelluvaGirl

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience of a novice in Vipassana, presented as a series of insights, not an attempt to render advice or explain the technique in full extent, and should not be taken as guidance or a comprehensive course report. 


For the past couple of years, I’ve been having an inner struggle coming to terms with what I do for a living. I use a very small part of my potential. For a long while I’ve been touching the ceiling of what is expected from/available for me. Whenever someone asks me what I do in life, I pause and think about the essence of the question, guessing if I should just tell the name of the company (sounds good), or explain what I’m good at.

After several days of silent contemplations I come to the point where all the bullshit dissipates and I realise I’m doing what I can before I can do what I want. And thinking towards that direction, I feel that work isn’t my primary concern at all. 

I want a family. I want someone I can rely on. Someone I don’t have to nurture but who can take care of me for a change. I suddenly feel tired of being a man and a woman full-time.

And then I smile, remembering that it is something I chose to leave behind. It is something I used to have but at that time wasn’t capable of enjoying, because I always felt that deep-seated shame to be staying at home, raising a child. A trophy wife, sort of.

I knew some women envied this, but many looked down on me.  When I think about it now, I see how I could’ve rocked, with all the opportunities I had been given. It’s not what others think; one can ignore the public opinion if they chose to. The problem was that I considered myself useless. Like a pot flower. I was so confused about the way I was supposed to take my situation that not only did I not make money, but also sucked at being a housewife. I resented the idea I was (supposed to be) her because the very notion of it has such a social stigma – at least where I live. It doesn’t matter: you may be raising three children and making your home a place where everyone wants to be, but you are still someone who just “sits at home”.

Some situations you have to exit to fully see them and also your role, and what you may have done differently. There is no shame in being a loving wife, in raising children and in the fulfilment one can experience taking care of their family. I know this after years of juggling several roles. You may think I am stuck on stereotypical labels – well the point is, I think it is exactly the labels we should drop and listen to our inner voice more. My inner voice says I am actually quite old-fashioned in perceiving male and female roles, and I regret a little bit that our society has travelled to a place where everyone has to be everything and anything.

I always had a tendency to claim I wanted certain things and act exactly the opposite. Isn’t it what I do now? The people I’m with… The short-term goals I set for myself… Those things don’t lead me where I want to be. But is it right to perform surgery on your reality for the sake of an abstract picture you want to see as your future?