If past worrying was unnecessary then future worrying is too

ComPsych is this place that puts out research about how employees feel, and it turns out that feelings are generational. At least at work. Which is what ComPsych specializes in.

The biggest problem Gen Y has is depression. The biggest problem Gen X has is relationships. The biggest problem Baby Boomers have is death.

This is surprising to me because I have read for so long that the biggest workplace problem Gen X has is that Baby Boomers aren’t dying. But I guess this is just showing how old I am. I have been blogging so long that I was blogging when the biggest problem Gen Y had was helicopter parenting.

I am happy to hear that Gen X has relationship problems because I don’t want to feel alone. But also I see that Gen X relationship problems translate to older women telling younger women that they marry early and refuse to be the breadwinner. But Gen X is not the divorce generation.

I am underperforming even in the generation known for being slackers. Fuck.

I have been coaching people in person. As soon as I announced that I moved to Swarthmore, which is outside Philadelphia, people started asking to meet me in person. What about business plan bootcamp? What about a writing workshop? I’ve been trying stuff. I’ve met really cool people, and I’ve done it all at my dining room table.

My younger son said, “Are you going to keep taking over the dining room with people from the blog?”

My older son said, “Are you going to keep coaching couples on how to keep their marriage together when everyone can see your husband is not moving to Swarthmore?”

I said, “Yeah. I’ll coach them on how to have a long-distance relationship.” And we laughed. Because my cousin just called and I told her to relocate for her boyfriend’s job if she wants to marry him. “Long-distance relationships don’t last!” I told her. “It reflects lack of commitment from one or both parties.”

The thing is, I have an amazing track record on helping couples keep their marriage together. How can I have that and be so bad at it myself?

The people who live below us fight all the time. The guy is on drugs and the woman kicks him out when he’s high. Or whatever the word is for the drugs he’s on. And when he’s not on drugs she is yelling at him for being a bad husband.

I can tell that she needs to stop yelling at him and tell him he’s either on the street or in rehab. And he’d go to rehab because he loves her. I can tell. And she loves him because people don’t yell at people for being a bad spouse unless they want the spouse to change.

The farmer and I stopped yelling after two years. That’s about how long it took. And now we are like a ComPsych report, doing great at our jobs and struggling to maintain our relationship.

Sometimes I think I’m doing a terrible job at something, and then I realize I’m just like everyone else.

In my 20s I thought I was a total fuck up, and then I realized that everyone in their 20s is struggling to figure out where they fit, and the people who struggle the most figure out the most. And I was fine.

In my 30s I gave up my career to stay home with kids and was ashamed for being a stay-at-home mom. And I had to keep earning the money for the family and I was ashamed at how little I was earning. Now I see this is very common landing ground for high-earning women turned into moms. I wish I could have known I was doing just fine and cashing out our retirement fund to give me time to figure out how to work from home was a really good idea.

In my 40s I thought I was so stupid for having a failed marriage. And I told myself I have to focus on keeping my next marriage together. No more failed marriages. Only incompetent people have failed marriages. I told myself that.

And I believe it. I think it’s terrible for the kids.

Melissa tells me there was nothing else I could do. “Your kid was born to play cello. You have to get him to where he needs to be.”

The farmer would tell me I don’t have to do any of that. He tells me that culturally this is Jewish. I tell him that culturally it is farmer to tell kids the land is more important than relationships. We are probably both wrong. I just can’t see. It’s so hard to see ourselves.

The only way I know that I’m not losing my mind is that the people I coach are all so smart and so interesting and they can’t ever see their lives as clearly as I see them. And they think I’m a genius about their lives. But I know the truth is that they can’t see themselves just like I can’t see myself. I was doing fine in my 40s, as blind as everyone else, and picking up pieces when they fall.

Except now I’m 50. And I’m going to be one of those people with two failed marriages. I think. It’s not yet. All my stuff is still at the farm.

I keep looking at the pictures for my blog I didn’t use while I was at the farm. And I thought I would save them and use them for all the days I’m writing about missing the farm. But instead I find myself using them to take inventory of things I want to take off the farm.

Carla told me she knows I’m going back to the farm because I left all my plates there. But the last time the farmer came to visit, I made him bring a few.

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  1. Aurora
    Aurora says:

    When you guys did that demo reel it was obvious the farmer mainly wanted you for your body and your homemaking and If you’re ok with that, put your kids in boarding school and go back to the farm.

  2. Marti
    Marti says:

    I never understood what she saw in the Farmer in the first place. Maybe stability and some kind of security of place? Looking for someone to replace Melissa as Personal Caretaker? Because he could never have been her equal in much else. And what the heck was he thinking? All he had to do was spend a couple of hours reading her blog to see what he would be getting into.

    She is a coastal person – West Coast, East Coast, urban-minded. What was she thinking, moving to the rural midwestern heartland where the internet is slow and the mindset is slower?

    I don’t think all the compromising and adjusting yada yada yada should all have to be done by one half of the partnership. But this was never a match made in heaven. It was a wishful mistake on both parts from the get go.

    I sometimes believe we will all be as all right as we want to be. She will be as all right as she wants to be.

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