Every two years I switch jobs. Not consciously; just happens. It’s been two years since my last job change…
I live in a suburb of LA. Most nights, in bed and squinting in the dark, I read the local news on KTLA because I have the app on my phone. It’s horribly depressing. I don’t know why I do it. Maybe because I’ve always been interested in crime ever since I was younger, or maybe it’s my past job as a deputy public defender. KTLA is second only to PE.com in sensationalistic stories on crime.
Tonight I read a story about a couple that starved their baby to death. It was hard to read because I could picture it so well – the baby strapped in her car seat, set in front of a television on the third floor of the couple’s house and forgotten for 16 hours. It’s both unthinkable yet a believable scenario. I think about how upset my son gets when no one responds to his crying immediately and 16 hours just breaks my heart.
After having a child, I can no longer easily read these types of stories – crimes against children, sick kids, kids facing starvation around the world. Every time I read one of these stories, I wonder if there is something I can do to make things better.
When I was between the ages of 16-27, I wanted to “save the world.” I first became vegetarian, much to my mother’s dismay, and didn’t eat meat throughout most of high school and all of college. I campaigned for abortion rights (“reproductive rights”), ran for and was elected to student government at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was arrested at an anti-sweatshop sit-in. I went to law school to get into politics, although that part wasn’t that well thought out. During law school I decided I wanted to be a public defender. I did become a public defender, and did a pretty damn good job at it, till I burned out.
After that, I lost my passion for social justice/do-gooder work and actually sort of lost my way. For the past four years, I’ve been struggling to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve wanted to (in no particular order) be in advertising, be an entrepreneur, get my MBA, go into HR, apply to art school, become a famous writer. But none of that has materialized. Instead, I became a mother – which is the most important job of all.
Interestingly enough tonight, before reading this sad story about the dead infant, I had been thinking about what to “do” next, and coming up with a new plan but it was hard so I never sat down to actually do it. But I suppose now’s the time.