In my conservative circle, it's pretty nontraditional. Infact, it feels a little scandalous. But approximately eleven months before our wedding, Gabe and I have become one financial unit. Saucy. But for us, it makes sense. While we're trying to plan a wedding and prepare for our future, separated by miles and time zones, it's so much easier for us to keep our finances together as one. And, although I'd planned to find a part-time gig to juggle during the school year, we've decided that I'll remain jobless. Instead I'll hit the books hard, dedicating my extra time to more credits and obtaining my degree a little faster.
Late one evening on my candlelit porch, Gabe and I had a lengthy heart-to-heart about this. Working hard in the workplace, being needed and appreciated are all good for my soul. I've spent the last six months just pursuing my degree, and there are days I miss the workplace. There's something fulfilling about working hard for the money and being able to plunk down your cash for day to day expenses. When it's only his income, guilt seeps in. Guilty feelings that I'm not contributing to our future. Guilt, because he works fourteen hour days in Iraq...while I pursue my education, my creativity, my dreams.
Me. Me. Me.
Gabe takes it all in stride, calling his income is "ours", just like he's taken to calling his big house in Sacramento our house. His car is now our car. And my dreams are now our dreams....my time spent pursuing our dreams is just as worthy as his time spent pursuing an income, he says.
But even when the guilt over this life-shift subsides, it's easy for me to feel worthless in society. When asked, "What do you do?" my answer used to feel rather exciting. "Sounds worthwhile," people would say in response. But now, I shrink back. I hold my breath, hoping no one asks what I do. And when asked, I simply say, "Oh, I'm just a student."
But I'm not just a student, Gabe says. I'm a writer. A photographer, he says. A wife-in-training. A novice globetrotter. An artist. An interior decorator. A crafter. A maid. A wedding planner. A blossoming art historian. A gift wrapper. Oh, and a straight A student on the side.
"Do you get paid for any of these things? No. But you do them. And that's all that matters."
And he's so right. I am many things. But not a single one of them should be feeling like a "just a...".